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Product Review
 

Gefen HDTV DVI Switcher

March, 2004

John E. Johnson, Jr.

 

Specifications:
 

Video Amplifier Bandwidth: 1.65 GHz

HDCP Compliant

Two DVI inputs, One DVI Output
Single Link Range:1920 x 1200
Vertical Frequency Range: 60 Hz
DVI Input/Output Connector: Type DVI-D
Power Consumption:15 Watts (max.)
Power Supply 5VDC (Included)

IR Remote Control Included

Two 6 Foot DVI Cables Included
Dimensions: 1"H x 4" W x 4" D
Shipping Weight: 2 Pounds

MSRP: $249 USA


Gefen, Inc.

 

www.gefen.com

Introduction

Components with DVI input or output jacks are now hitting the shelves. The problem is that there is usually only one jack on digital projectors, and you might have two components with DVI outputs, such as a DVD player and high definition satellite box.

Over the past few months, we have received many inquiries from readers who have this exact problem.

What to do?

Get a DVI switcher.

Gefen has recently begun selling DVI switchers, and is one of only a few sources for this product at present. They make several types, including 4 inputs - 1 output, 2 inputs - 1 output, and a 4x4 matrix switcher. The version reviewed here has the 2 inputs and 1 output.

The Design

The HDTV Switcher is a 2x1 electronic design that is powered by a 5 volt DC wall wart. It comes with two 6 foot DVI cables (you can opt out of the cables and save $25 if you already have cables), and an IR remote control.

You simply connect your two sources to the DVI-D jacks on the rear panel (photo above, left), and the TV to the DVI-D jack on the front.

The front panel also has the jack for the DC supply, a jack for an IR cable if you want to have the switcher out of the line of sight for the remote, and a push button for selecting Input 1 or Input 2. The remote also lets you select the input.

The switcher is high bandwidth for 1080i signals and is HDCP compliant.

In Use

The Gefen Switcher worked flawlessly, switching between my two DVI sources (DVD player and satellite box). Since not all cables work with every DVI combination (some are single link and others are dual link), I would suggest going ahead and getting the cables option with the switcher, because they worked fine. Otherwise, you might find that you have no video and think it is the switcher, when it is really just a cable mismatch.

I did not see any difference in image quality between going direct and going through the switcher. However, you may experience some glitches in the aspect ratio handling of the display, as I did. This is probably due to the source suddenly losing its lock to the display, or vice versa, in the DVI chain, which is digital, not analog. However, this has nothing to do with the switcher. It is just a problem that has to be solved in future DVI technology.

Conclusions

To our many readers who have written in asking about DVI switchers, your problem is now solved with the Gefen product. If you have more than two DVI sources, then get the 4x1 version. At $249, it is not cheap, but switching a high bandwidth digital signal is not as easy as switching analog audio through RCA jacks. In the future, we are going to see DVI and HDMI switchers built into processors and receivers. But, that does not solve the here and now problem. Gefen has taken care of it with their new product line, which appears to be very high quality.

 

- John E. Johnson, Jr. -

 

Copyright 2004 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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