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Transformative Engineering HDS-12 & HDS-14 HDMI Conditioner/Splitter Preview

Transformative Engineering HDS-12 HDMI Conditioner/Splitter

Transformative Engineering HDS-12 HDMI Conditioner/Splitter


  • Product Name: HDS-12 & HDS-14
  • Manufacturer: Transformative Engineering
  • Review Date: December 21, 2011 08:00
  • MSRP: $TBA
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!
  • Buy Now
  • HDS-12 - Two way splitter
  • HDS-14 - For was splitter
  • Exclusive "HDCP Stabilization" circuitry
  • Powered by 5-volt supply
  • Supports:
    • ARC (Audio Return Channel)
    • CEC
    • HEC (Home Ethernet Connection)
    • 3D
    • High Speed
    • 2Kx4K
    • XV Color
  • Larger HDS-14 incorporates:
    • EDID selection circuitry to allow for resolution assignment and sharing
    • IR routing
    • Firmware update via USB port
  • Pricing TBA

Executive Overview

If you ever end up at a dinner party you can't stand, or better yet, have guests that just won't take a hint and get the heck out of your house so you can start cleaning up, take some advice. Start talking about baluns, extenders, and splitters. While the occasional custom installer might find you the most interesting person since their high school chemistry teacher, every one else is going to find a quick reason to leave. In the world of home theater equipment, baluns, splitters, and extenders are the vanilla ice cream cone that was dropped in the dirt that only the weird kid will pick up and eat.

They are boring, is what I'm saying.

Oddly, when I came across the new Transformative Engineering HDMI conditioners/splitters, I said, out loud, "Cool."

Cool? A splitter? My wife started checking the bedroom for empty alien pods.

But they are. The problem with long HDMI runs, aside from the cost of the cables and signal loss, is HDCP. Over a long run, the HDCP identifier markers can become unstable causing the HDCP handshake to fail. A consumer that has just paid an installer tens of thousands of dollars doesn't want to hear how it is all HDMI's fault. They want a solution.

For a long time, the solution was to switch to a different balun and hope or, perhaps, add some sort of signal booster to the transmission line and, again, hope. Even when all these avenues have been explored, HDCP handshake issues can crop up.

According to Transformative Engineering president Jay Trieber, “Over the last two months we have field-tested these devices and in virtually every case by inserting these splitters into the signal path we have resolved what had been considered 'insurmountable' problems in various HDMI installations." That's a pretty bold claim and one we're sure raised quite a few custom installer eyebrows.

But what impressed us was not just the conditioning or the splitting (the HDS-12 is a two way splitter, the HDS-14 is a four way), but compatibility. With so many of these products, we see them certified on last years (or older) HDMI specs. Not the Transformative Engineering solution. With their new HDS splitters they are certified with all current HDMI features including ARC (Audio Return Channel), CEC, HEC (Home Ethernet Connection), 3D, High Speed, 2Kx4K, and XV Color. The larger HDS-14 also as EDID selection circuitry to allow for resolution assignment and sharing, IR routing, and a firmware update via USB port.

The devices, of course, require power (5 volt power supplies are included). We love how the HDS-14 is firmware upgradeable. That's an unusual feature for such a new device and could be a way of future-proofing your purchase. Of course, that is really more in the hands of the HDMI group and what changes they'll make with their next HDMI spec.


Sexy or no, the Transformative Engineering HDS-12 and HDS-14 HDMI splitters and signal conditioners look to become a staple in the tool box of the custom installer. Promising to clean up HDCP handshake issues over long HDMI runs while, at the same time, providing splitting duties, the only thing we're really waiting on is a price. If they are comparable to traditional splitters (or even in the ballpark), no sane custom installer would leave the house without one.

For more information, please visit www.transformativeengineering.com.

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

jinjuku posts on December 26, 2011 15:10
What is funny is that Congress, while not engineers, could solve all this with a few simple repeals.
cwall99 posts on December 22, 2011 10:51
I suppose if I were a member of that special niche market, I too, might find myself thinking, “Coooool.”

As it stands, and as geeky as I am, I find myself awed by your mega-geekiness, Tom.

As someone who isn't an installer, I find myself thinking, “OK, Tom says it's cool, and I respect his opinion, but, for the life of me, I can't figure out how I might used something like this.”

I suppose if I could afford to install a projector in my system for some serious movie watching (along with a sonically transparent screen that drops from the ceiling in front of my rack, front speakers, and plasma display), I could get it. That'd let you use your flat panel display for your daily watching, and a projector for, as I said, movie night.

Sigghhhhh…. Wish I could exercise my inner geek more frequently. But I have challenges enough getting my new Logitech remote to work seamlessly with my system. I suppose that's what I get for buying the cheapest one they make.
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As Associate Editor at Audioholics, Tom promises to the best of his ability to give each review the same amount of attention, consideration, and thoughtfulness as possible and keep his writings free from undue bias and preconceptions. Any indication, either internally or from another, that bias has entered into his review will be immediately investigated. Substantiation of mistakes or bias will be immediately corrected regardless of personal stake, feelings, or ego.

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