Input: 4 HDMI ports
Output signal: Digital AV – 2 ports of single link HDMI
” ” Digital Audio – Optical and Coaxial ports
Resolution: VGA/SVGA/XGA/UXGA/WUXGA for PCs
” ” 480i/p, 720i/p & 1080i/p for HDTV
Receptacle: +5V input for DC power supply adapter; HDMI
for AV and optical (Toslink) and coaxial for audio (1 each)
Fully compliant HDCP support
Power consumption: DC +5V, 3.4W Max
Dimensions: 430 x 165 x 48 mm
Supplied with remote and user manual
131 Main St., Suite 150
Hackensack, NJ 07601
It’s hard to believe that HDMI technology has been out for such a short time and already there are a host of accessories and different types of cables for it. Of course part of the reason is that the technology is still going thru development, with the latest iteration just specified – v. 1.3. V1.1 and v1.2 are able to support multi-channel audio, but the problem has been no software and no decoder. The first discs to support it are Blue-ray and now HD-DVD. The decoder is built into the player so you have to have a new HD disc player to hear it.
Thus the need for a simple HDMI switcher, which the HS-42A is. It switches only four different HDMI sources’ video (another PureLink model switches six), but also switches at the same time the HD digital audio content to your AV preamp or receiver. (If you are using six-channel analog surround too, you will have to run that directly into your preamp or receiver.) Single longer HDMI cables can cause problems over ten feet or so due to the technology’s sensitivity to length, resulting in blinking images or even blackouts. Naturally, adding both an HDMI cable from a component to the switcher plus another from the switcher to your display is going to lengthen the total run. Therefore, the HS-42A features amplification of all the signals going thru it. In fact, using special fiber optical HDMI cables the video display could be extended up to 330 ft. from the switcher.
Other special features of the HS-42A is the RS-232 Control, which allows connecting to a PC to automatically switch the sources on a timer arrangement. The manual has the comment set so you can set up your PC to interface with the switcher in various ways. A tiny remote control is also provided. It has four simple buttons for each of the four inputs, plus an on/off button. (Don’t lose it down the seat cushions.) It should be easy to find the command to cycle thru the four inputs to add that to a universal remote control so you don’t need to add yet another remote to your stable. No software has to be installed to use the switcher, and it has full HDCP support on every output.
So how does it switch? It works fine. The four LEDs light up so you can clearly see which input is feeding your video display. The only problem is the song and dance the video signal went thru – at least with my Samsung DLP display – before it finally “shook hands” and furnished a steady picture. It didn’t matter what the source was (I only had a couple of DVD players at hand) or whether I used HMDI 1 or HDMI 2 on the back of the Samsung. What I got was a few seconds each of various color fields, a screen of video noise, a black screen, and a warning notice that “signal is weak or intermittent.” Sometimes it took nearly a minute to settle down. And I was using six foot cables. Results may be different with other HDMI displays but I didn’t have them available. Any such hassles are clearly a result of the iffy HDMI technology rather than the design of the HS-42A. I’m sure results would be similar with the other HDMI switchers.
– John Sunier