There are Blu-ray disc and DVD players, set-top boxes, PVRs, pay TV, gaming consoles and network devices all jockeying for a position in the limited HDMI ports on your TV or AV receiver.
Or what about if you’ve got a sweet set-up with a flat screen TV by day and a large drop-down screen for a projector by night and want to choose either of these sources to view on either of these displays?
Not all AV receivers can handle that kind of demand and the ones that do are usually priced at the higher end of the market.
One device that can tick all the boxes for these scenarios is the Octava 4 x 2 HD Matrix 7.1 (HDMXA71).
This HDMI switcher is a 1RU rack mount system about the same width as a regular component (38.3cm) and just 10.5cm long so it’s easy to slip it inside your rack or entertainment unit to integrate it into your system.
There are four HDMI inputs, two HDMI outputs, 7.1 (8 Ch) analogue audio outputs and optical Toslink digital audio output. Just what you need if you want to enable your system with HDMI switching and 7.1 multi channel audio.
The HDMXA71 has full matrix ability which means users can route any source to any of the outputs. It can also route a single source to both outputs which opens up the number of scenarios which are possible with the device.
It has its own power supply as well, so you know there is no risk it won’t be always on when you need it.
For our use we connected the Octava’s HDMI outputs to a projector and a LED flat screen television and the HDMI inputs to a Blu-ray disc player, Sony PlayStation 3, a Foxtel IQ2 and a high definition set-top box.
Immediately the benefits of the device were obvious because we could switch the sources to play through the LED during the day through its own built-in speakers.
But once nightfall came we were pleased to have the option to switch the same sources we enjoyed on the LED television to the projector.
But what’s one thing a projector doesn’t have? Speakers.
So the Octava not only allowed us to direct the video signal to the projector, but we could also to send the audio to an AV receiver.
One thing that will appeal about the product to other users will be the fact it can also piggyback an existing AV receiver which may not have enough HDMI inputs or perhaps none at all if it is an older model.
Switching out the AV receiver and replacing it with a more modern, and more expensive, model is one option. The other is opting for the Octava 4 x 2 HD Matrix 7.1.
The device is fully HDMI 1.3 compliant so it supports things like deep colour, Dolby True HD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The Octava is also fully 1080p compatible.
What helps maintain signal is the built-in Clear EYE feature which optimises transmission through HDMI. It has been engineered to use the latest generation chipsets and ultra wideband designs to improve signal quality and provide an enhanced audio and video experience.
The Octava 4 x 2 HD Matrix 7.1 is also backwards compatible with DVI-D devices which is great news for anyone with a mixed system which require different cables.
So now rather than opting for a DVI-D switch you can opt for the Octava and just use the correct HDMI to DVI-D cable.
And the good thing about having the PS3 connected through the Octava was the compatibility with the built-in linear pulse code modulation (LPCM).
The PS3 lacks 8 channel analogue outputs but with the Octava, the decoded PS3 7.1 LPCM output converts to 7.1 multi-channel output for integration with an audio system with 7.1 (8 ch) analogue inputs.
Our games sounded excellent – especially when we were playing Call of Duty: Black Ops online and, thanks to the multi-channel output, were able to easily pick off our opponents trying to sneak up behind us in the game.
You’d like your less tech savvy clients to enjoy a product like the Octava, and the experience it can provide, which is why Smart SCAN is so handy.
With Smart SCAN the Octava uses an algorithm to automatically switch to the HDMI source which is powered on. If more than one source is switched on the Octava will automatically switch to the other when one is turned off.
Another thing users want is easy control and this is what we found with the small slim infra-red remote which is included with the device. This allows easy switching between sources and outputs.
But the Octava also has an RS232 port on the rear panel which means it can also be integrated into a third party control system and became even more a part of your set-up.
With energy and stand-by power something we’re even more aware of nowadays, users will be pleased to know there is an Energy Smart feature onboard.
When the display the Octava is connected to is switched off the device puts itself into stand-by mode.
We’re living in a HD world and the sort of quality now available in our homes can provide and audio visual experience better than ever before.
With more and more components now connectable to full high definition displays the Octava 4 x 2 HD Matrix 7.1 can ensure none of your sources are left out.
And if you’ve got a desire to move up to HDMI components but your AV receiver’s lacking the right amount of HDMI connectivity, or perhaps none at all, the Octava ensures no-one will be left behind.