PS2 REVIEW: ZEKTOR HDS4.1 COMPONENT VIDEO SWITCH

The Zektor HDS4.1 is the equivalent of Extra-Strength Tylenol, except that it instantly removes multiple HD hook up headaches. by Vaughn Smith

June 28, 2006 - It used to be that a way to a man's heart was through his stomach. Nowadays with the influx of healthy living, it appears that if you want to get a man to fall for you, supply him with something that will make all of his wonderful television entertainment toys work perfectly and you'll keep him forever. The Zektor HDS4.1 Component Switch is such a beast, so ladies pay attention.

Men like their toys and since the monstrous HDTV is only one part of the entertainment equation, living rooms, dens and other areas men hunker down in can be an Amazon jungle of cables, electronics, speakers and remotes. As the quest for the perfect TV experience continues, so does the hunt for equipment that enhances it. The onslaught of progressive scan DVD players, DVD recorders, Xbox 360's, PS2's, Xbox's and the upcoming Blu-Ray and HD-DVD technology littering these spaces, some magical box is required to keep it all connected to one HDTV without any signal loss, crosstalk or other electronic idiosynchracies.

Zektor's magical device, recently upgraded to the HDS4.1 is a component video switch. It allows you to plug in up to 4 component devices such as Xbox 360, DVD PS2 etc. so that you aren't having to get behind the TV everytime you want to change entertainment devices. It also acts as Dolby 5.1 multichannel audio switch. I'm a fan of minimalist technology and design and the HDS4.1 is the definition of that. The sleek looking box is about the same width of the average DVD player so you won't have any trouble finding a place for it amidst your growing collection of audio/video devices. The unit is shallow, meaning that if you place it on top of a DVD player, the cables will gently hang down onto the DVD player and then cascade off of the end, therefore relieving any minute bit of undue stress on the cables themselves. There are four buttons on the front which can be pushed manually to switch between devices, but since the HDS4.1 can interface with almost any remote (my unit didn't come with a remote) you would be well advised to sit back and let the remote do all of the work. The unit comes built in with Zektor's IIR (Intelligent Infra Red) system, which allows it to "learn" almost any universal remote.

The biggest concern I had when introducing the HDS4.1 into the mix was whether or not there would be any discernible signal loss, degradation of the picture, intereference or crosstalk from other devices running simulateously. There was absolutely none - and I switched back and forth between the switch and plugging into the HDTV directly just to be sure. The gold clad, silver-palladium relays which operate the analog signals might have added some expense to the unit, but they're worth their weight in gold. Almost literally when you consider the $259 US price tag. But do you want a switch that works flawlessly or not?

Changing between resolutions is a breeze and depending on the age of your equipment you probably won't even notice any lag switching between a device that runs at 480p or 1080i. The changes are smooth, without any interruption and incredibly fast.

My only complaint, make that slight complaint, was that for the price the HDS4.1 doesn't come with a component cable. You will need to purchase one separately so that you can hook up the HDS4.1 to the TV and then plug in your remaining component cables from various electronic sources into the switch unit.

Tech-heads who are into the high def revolution know that audio/visual crystal clear clarity doesn't come cheap. The HDS4.1 is pricey, but it does what it exactly what is says and backs it up with proof. You won't find any degradation of signal whatsoever with this unit. As more and more component-driven units are released upon society, the only conceivable drawback to this unit at the moment is that in a year's time you'll need to purchase another because 4 ins may not cut it. Maybe Zektor is working on the HDS8.0. Stay tuned. The days of getting up off the vibrating massage chair to change the component inputs is over. Now just remember guys, if your special lady drops this bad boy in your lap as a present, she's a keeper. Who cares if she can cook? That's why Pizza Hut was invented.

Note: If you own the HDS4.0 here is what's new for the HDS4.1 and its features:

  • 5.1 multichannel audio switch.
  • For Noise free operation and to prevent ground loops, analog grounds are fully isolated from the digital grounds.
  • HDS4.1 switch features an additional analog channel. Use it to switch composite video along with your component video and analog audio paths.
  • HDS4.1 as a 4 input 1 output, 5.1 analog audio switch
  • Extended frequency response,
  • Improved digital audio switching,
  • Added direct select front panel switches
  • Lower price

Click Here to visit Zektor.com for purchase / order / info on this unit and other products.

By Vaughn Smith
CCC Site Director

Rating out of 5
Zektor HDS4.1 Component Video Switch
4.5
Overall Rating - Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.
 
Visit Zektor.com!
System: Any component compliant device
Dev: Zektor
Price: $259
Switch units: 4
Review by Vaughn

Review Rating Legend
1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor
2.5 - 2.9 = Average
3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
3.5 - 3.9 = Good
4.0 - 4.4 = Great
4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
5.0 = The Best