- Written by Sumit Chawla
- Published on 11 May 2012
The Accell UltraCat HD HDMI Cable Extender In Use
I started out by using the DVR as the input source and making the connections in the two rooms as described above. I powered on the display in the living room, and the red LED on the splitter corresponding to the HDMI port that the display was connected to came on. Then the content showed up on the display, as expected.
Next I moved over to the second room and powered on my Denon AVP-A1HDCI SSP followed by my Sony VPL-VW60 projector. I could hear the audio through the speakers, but once the projector came on, the audio and video failed to sync. The splitter had to be power cycled to re-establish a successful handshake. After this, both LEDs on the splitter, one for each output, were lit. Both audio and video signals were solid.
The problem with handshake was not just confined to powering on the equipment in the second room. It would occur sometimes if I switched to another input on the SSP for an extended period of time. The behavior was different when I replaced the DVR with the PS3; this issue would surface less often, but I could still get into this bad state at times. Power cycling the splitter resolved the issue in all cases. I tried two variations when I encountered this bad state: one was to bypass the SSP and connect the UltraCat HD receiverís HDMI output directly to the projector; the other was to bypass the splitter and connect its HDMI input directly to the UltraCat HD transmitterís HDMI input. The issue was immediately resolved by trying either variation without having to power cycle any component. I did not have another splitter or an HDMI based SSP at hand to see if the behavior would change by switching out these components.
What I did have on hand, however, was Gefenís HDMI Detective. I reviewed it sometime back and it had resolved an issue with my HTPC at that time, so I decided to introduce it into the signal chain (http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/switchers/switchers-reviews/gefen-hdmi-detective-plus.html). I placed it between the HDMI splitter and the UltraCat HD transmitter, and went through its setup process. I went through the same sequences that had produced the handshake issue before. During the short period of time that I tried this, I was not able to reproduce the problem.
To test the UltraCat HDís Ethernet pass through functionality, I connected a network switch to it. Once connected, the network switch successfully connected to the router, this indicated by the lighting up of a LED status indicator. I hooked up my laptop to the network switch; it was able to acquire an IP address and I was able to browse the internet. I was also able to browse the Netflix catalog and play movies in my instant queue through my Oppo player which was tethered to the network switch. This worked well for the most part, except there were some occasions where the Oppo would flash a message on the screen saying that an internet connection could not be established. When this happened I would power-cycle some of the components and access to the outside world would re-open. One day, I dug deeper into this and found that when the connection failed, the Oppo player displayed a bogus IP address. This time I rebooted all the components in the signal chain between the network switch and the router. The connection issue did not re-surface after I did this. It is quite possible that playing with the connections put something in an unstable state.
IR control through the UltraCat HD extenders worked without a hitch. The DVR responded to the IR commands from the second room making it a seamless virtual addition to this room. The same positive result was obtained when I pasted the IR emitter on a couple of other components.