Product Review (October 2007) - Octava
4-Port HDMI Switch with Toslink

By Kevin Nakano


HDMI switchers have become a much needed accessory with the number of HDMI sources currently available. Set-top boxes, HD-DVD, Blu-ray and even some of the newer DVD players all include HDMI interfaces. If you happen to have a limited number of HDMI inputs on your display, you will soon find the need for an external HDMI switcher. Unfortunately, few of these switchers offer the ability to control the digital audio separately using toslink or coaxial interfaces. If your display takes advantage of the digital audio sent through the HDMI interface then there is no need for a separate cable. However, projector owners like us need to switch digital sources separately in our system. Lucky for us, a company called Octava offers a new 4 x 1 HDMI Switch with Optical Toslink Routing designed to solve the issue of video (HDMI) switching along with the corresponding digital audio. In addition to video switchers, Octava also carries a full line of distribution amplifiers, extenders and cables to support the needs of today's A/V systems.

The Octava HDMI switch is designed to support HDMI version 1.3 along with a full 6.75 Gbps of data bandwidth. In addition, full 1080p with Deep Color is supported along with 480i/p, 720i/p and 1080i/p. The Smart SCAN™ algorithm is designed to intelligently select the correct input based on the active input signal. The unit is small measuring only 11.5" (W) x 3.5" (D) x 1.5" (H).

Front Panel
The front panel has four blue LEDs that indicator the active input channel. The Smart SCAN™ feature will automatically search for the active input. If the user presses the forward button and holds it for 5-seconds, the unit will switch into manual mode. Once this mode is enabled, pressing the forward button will then switch to the next input channel.

Rear Panel
The rear of the HDMI switcher is loaded with connectors for the four HDMI inputs and the single HDMI output. Four optical and four coaxial digital inputs are available with both optical and coaxial digital outputs. Many different A/V products have either one of both types of digital audio outputs, sometimes making it difficult to adapt to users' systems. The Octava HDMI switcher allows for either type (optical or coaxial) of digital input or output giving the system maximum flexibility. Input power comes from the external AC wall adapter which
provides an output of 9V/500mA.

Our system needed to route the audio and video sources from a Samsung SIR-T165 set-top box, Dish Network ViP622 HD receiver, Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player, and an OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD player. All four components also had their corresponding digital interfaces going through the switcher. The video output from the switcher went through a long 20-meter Vizionware Hi-Wirez HDMI cable, eventually making it to our Mitsubishi HC5000 projector. Digital audio was sent to our Parasound AVC-2500u processor for multi-channel decoding.

IR Remote
Our review unit came with an IR remote that supports many of Octava's products. The power button toggles the power on the switcher. Buttons 1 through 4 are used to select the corresponding input channel. The Channel + and Channel - buttons are used to increment or decrement the input channel. The LED button toggles the front panel indicator lights as to not distract the viewers in dark settings.

While this remote is completely functional for the user, I prefer an all-in-one controller for our A/V system. We soon programmed all of the IR commands into our RTI T4 controller. Since there is no option for RS232 control on this unit, we installed an IR repeater mounted directly on the chassis. With this configuration we could control our entire system with a single button push. The Octava HDMI switcher performed flawlessly with our components.

Conclusion
You don't have to spend a lot of money ($274) to get the convenience of switching between your HDMI video sources. This is especially true with the Octava 4 x 1 HDMI Switch with Optical Toslink Routing. In fact, the added benefit of switching digital audio along with the video input makes this unit a real bargain. As mentioned earlier, our digital sources came four digital sources, three of which provided high definition content. The unit performed very well in our home theater setup and we found it easy to integrate with our existing RTI remote controller. For those without a universal remote, Octava provides a no frills IR remote for manual operation or you can let the SmartScan do it for you. Best of all, Octava offers a Total Satisfaction Guarantee allowing customers to return the item within 30 days of receipt for a refund (cost of item minus shipping and handling). How could you go wrong with a guarantee like that.

- Kevin Nakano




OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Mitsubishi HC5000 Full 1080p High-Definition LCD Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T4 Controller
HDMI Cable: VizionWare Hi-Wirez 20-meter Active 1080p Cable
HDMI Cable: Accell UltraRun 45-meter 1080p Cable
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review - At a Glance

Octava - 4-Port HDMI Switcher with Toslink

Features:

  • Version 1.3
  • Deep Color Support
  • Full 6.75 Gbps bandwidth
  • Works with HDMI or DVI-D, HDCP-enabled HDTV
  • Supports high resolution video 480i/p, 720i/p, 1080i/p
  • 4 x1 Toslink optical audio routing
  • 4x1 Digital Coax audio routing
  • Clear EYE™ design optimizes HDMI signal transmission
  • Easy to switch 4 HDMI or DVI-D sources to one diplay
  • Seamless integration with your existing Audio Receiver
  • Smart SCAN™ algorithm intelligently selects the correct input. Approved by Wives and Kids!
  • Backward compatible with DVI-D
  • Remote Control (IR) included. Discrete Code allows direct channel control.
  • Energy Smart. Auto standby mode when HDTV turns OFF.
  • LED dimming control for ultimate viewing
Installation Guide


Company Information
Octava Inc.
7076 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. Suite 100
Norcross, Ga. 30071
Phone:770-825-0388

Source: Manufacture Supplied
Model Number: 4x1 HDMI switch with 4x1 Optical Audio (without cables)
MSRP: $274

URL: www.octavainc.com
Email: info@Octavainc.com

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