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PureLink HDS-41R HDMI Switcher Setup and Conclusion

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You really do not need an engineering degree to use an HDMI switcher 舰 In fact, I found that the User Manual is optional as well - it's that easy. Here are the five basic steps to getting it up and running:

  • Turn off your display and source components.

  • Connect your source component's HDMI output port to one of the HDMI switch's four HDMI input ports using standard HDMI cables (not included). Repeat as needed.

  • Connect the HDMI switch's HDMI output port to your display.

  • Plug the 5V power supply into the switch's power input port and plug it into an outlet.

  • Turn on your display and video sources.

  • Use the remote control or the 'Select' button on the front panel of the HDMI switch to change inputs.

That's it, folks. Compared to setting up a DVD player or receiver, this is a walk in the park.

Remote Control

The PureLink HDS-41R comes with a credit card-style remote control. It ships with a plastic protection slip over the battery which guarantees you'll never end up with a dead remote (you pull it out to allow the battery to make contact.) The remote has 4 direct-select buttons for each of the HDMI inputs - making it extremely easy to program IR commands into a universal remote control. While you can certainly add more buttons - you don't need them.

With my MX-950 system and MRF-200 I found that I could easily program the switcher commands into the system and use an IR blaster to change HDMI inputs as part of larger macro sequences. This enables me to perform some video acrobatics that bypass some cable box-induced problems I will talk about below.

Of HDMI, HDCP and Cable Boxes

There is a particular use to which we especially suggest the integration of an HDMI switcher like the PureLink HDS-41R. This situation concerns users who are having trouble connecting their cable box receiver through an HDMI-switching/upconverting receiver. Most cable boxes use HDMI 1.0 and were not originally designed to recognize a "repeater" which is what many receivers are considered in terms of their interaction with HDMI.

Conversations with several cable box hardware manufacturers revealed that they have an upgrade algorithm that is available to local cable companies. The typical cable company, however, takes 60 to 90 days (or much, much more) to issue a firmware update blast to their customers. This is primarily because they go through rigorous compatibility testing with all other software being used in their systems.

Because of this issue with cable boxes, some owners of new HDMI-switching and upconverting receivers cannot take HDMI input from their cable boxes and output the resulting signal to their displays. If you don't want to lose the convenience of HDMI upconversion for your other sources and still want to route both signals to your display, an HDMI switcher is a viable solution. Here is what the system looks like:

Simply route the cable box directly into one input of the HDS-41R and send the receiver's HDMI output into another input (you can use a 2x1 switcher like the HDS-21R if you want to save some money and do not need the additional 2 inputs). Send the HDMI output of the switcher to your display device. Now program your remote control to switch the PureLink HDMI switcher to the one input when watching cable, and the other input for everything else (the output of the AV receiver). I have done this in Reference System 2 and it works flawlessly. In my opinion this is a worthwhile stop-gap considering it could take a long time for the cable companies to get on the ball and push out a firmware solution. For more on this issue, please visit our dedicated forum thread that deals with this topic.

Conclusions and Overall Perceptions

The HDS-41R works as advertised. It switches HDMI inputs without a hitch and maintains HDCP copy-protection so you won't have any problems using it for DVD playback or high definition cable channels. It solved a very vexing problem for me as I wait for my cable company to update its hardware to be compatible with today's advanced AV receivers. But possibly even more importantly, the PureLink HDS-41R pays attention to one area that others fail to recognize: the custom installer. With RS-232C support this is a professional-grade product that integrates with AMX and Crestron (and other RS-232C-based controllers) and allows for solid 2-way communication with those systems. Overall, this is one product I can highly recommend.

PureLink (Dtrovision LLC)
150 Main Street, Suite 150
Hackensack, NJ 07601
Phone: 201-488-3232
www.PureLinkAV.com

About PureLink (Dtrovision LLC)
Dtrovison LLC (formerly known as Dtronics) is headquartered in Hackensack, NJ and is a leading manufacturer of professional and consumer digital A/V and PC connectivity products including DVI / HDMI Switching, Conversion, and Distribution Systems as well as Fiber Optic cable systems for long distance HDTV extensions when the source and display are more than 15 feet apart. The products are sold under the brand name PureLink.

Dtrovision LLC was founded in 2001. Since then, they have expanded their line to meet the needs of the explosive digital connectivity market. With the introduction of DVI Link in 2002, they successfully entered the DVI / HDMI category, bringing new products to market for extending, switching and distributing digital video signals.

The Score Card

The scoring below is based on each piece of equipment doing the duty it is designed for. The numbers are weighed heavily with respect to the individual cost of each unit, thus giving a rating roughly equal to:

Performance × Price Factor/Value = Rating

Audioholics.com note: The ratings indicated below are based on subjective listening and objective testing of the product in question. The rating scale is based on performance/value ratio. If you notice better performing products in future reviews that have lower numbers in certain areas, be aware that the value factor is most likely the culprit. Other Audioholics reviewers may rate products solely based on performance, and each reviewer has his/her own system for ratings.

Audioholics Rating Scale

  • StarStarStarStarStar — Excellent
  • StarStarStarStar — Very Good
  • StarStarStar — Good
  • StarStar — Fair
  • Star — Poor
MetricRating
Video PerformanceStarStarStarStarStar
Build QualityStarStarStarStar
Ergonomics & UsabilityStarStarStarStarStar
Ease of Setup/Programming/IntegrationStarStarStarStarStar
FeaturesStarStarStar
Remote ControlStarStarStar
PerformanceStarStarStarStarhalf-star
ValueStarStarStarhalf-star
About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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