never seem to be enough inputs to handle all the new digital video sources manufacturers
throw at us. Emerging technologies such as HD-DVD and Blu-Ray exacerbate the problem
especially if you happen to adopt both formats. For those already having to deal
with existing digital video sources such as set-top boxes and DVD players with
scalers, the need for an HDMI or DVI switcher becomes a necessity. A relatively
new company called Radiient Technologies, Inc. has introduced an exciting new
HDMI switcher called the Select-4, designed to handle up to four sources
and provide video to a single display or projector. The Select-4 is a compact
design measuring only 8.5" x 5.5" x 1.7" and includes an international
AC power adapter.
Dual Remotes Included
review unit came with a Standard IR remote as well as a Pro IR remote
with the latter featuring additional buttons for controlling the switcher. These
remotes resemble the ones that accompany camcorders and portable DVD players.
Each measures approximately 1.5" x 4" and is designed to fit in the
slot located on the top of the switcher. The Standard remote only has two
buttons, one for power (toggles on/off) and the other for selecting the (next)
input. The Pro remote includes the basic buttons found on the Standard
remote plus separate buttons for selecting any one of the four specific inputs.
There are also buttons for selecting the next or previous input channel, enabling
or disabling the display LEDs, enabling or disabling the Auto mode as well
as discrete power On and Off buttons. The Auto mode automatically
detects an active digital input and switches to it. The downside to these inexpensive
remotes is there is no backlighting and the small size may be difficult for some
users with large hands.
The front panel has dual color LED indicators for each input channel
along with a power LED. The user can select a specific channel or have the Select-4
scan the inputs for an active source. The selected input LED turns amber while
the other LEDs display blue. If users find the indicators annoying (especially
in dark theater rooms), they can be turned off. Only two buttons are available
on the front panel and have the same functions that are available on the standard
An RS232 interface on the back of the unit allows serial commands
to change the operation of the unit as well as get status. The data rate is defined
at 9600 baud using 8-bit data with one stop bit. A total of 14 commands are supported
and documented in the Serial and IR Commands manual. Basically all the
functions available on the Pro IR remote are commandable via the RS232 interface.
Radiient includes support files for popular remotes such as the Philips Pronto,
Universal Remote's MX-700 and Crestron controllers in the Installer's
Corner located on their website. The international AC adapter included with
the Select-4 provides 6VDC to the rear of the unit. The chassis has small
vents on both sides of the unit, yet it never even got warm.
a hardware designer, I couldn't resist opening up the Select-4 to see how
the product is built. These engineers have done an excellent job with the board
design and component layout. Designing a switcher to handle HDMI or DVI video
signals not only requires quality components, but special board layout skills
to ensure signal integrity and ultimately a reliable set of signals to the display
or projector. High speed TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) developed
by Silicon Image (SI) and used on HDMI, have data rates as high as 165MHz. Each
HDMI port requires 4 signal pairs, 3 of which are used for data and the remaining
one for the clock signal. This true HDMI repeater design uses a dedicated SI Sil161
(TMDS receiver chip) for each of the HDMI input channels and a single SI Sil160
(TMDS transmitting chip) for sending the selected data out to the display or projector.
Unlike passive switchers used for analog video signals, the Select-4 HDMI
switcher requires each input to be processed with its own interface chip. This
is why HDMI switchers cost more than traditional video switchers. The Select-4
uses a Motorola/Freescale MC9S08 SLIC microcontroller to handle the user interface
functions as well as the RS232 command processing.
digital sources came from a variety of DVI and HDMI products. Our Samsung SIR-T165
HDTV receiver provided the over-the-air high definition content via DVI while
our Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player provided HDMI data. We also used a DVI-based Oppo
OPDV971H DVD player for scaling standard definition DVD content and finally our
new Dish Network ViP-622 DVR with HDMI. The Select-4 sent digital video
over 20 meters of high quality AudioQuest DV-1 cable to our 720p DLP projector.
During our review period the Select-4 performed flawlessly in our setup
with excellent video performance and no dropouts.
I am not a big fan of small IR remotes, the ones included with the Select-4
responded very well to commands. We soon programmed all of the IR commands into
our RTI T3 controller. Unfortunately, we did not have an opportunity to try the
RS232 interface, so we cannot comment on this feature.
not uncommon to have to deal with switchers in more complex setups, whether its
for digital or analog video signals. We have analog video switchers as well as
digital audio switchers to accommodate all of the components embedded in our system.
Video switching products tend to be more expensive due to the cost associated
with high signal bandwidth requirements. While the Radiient Select-4 is
not cheap (priced at $399), it does an excellent job with multiple digital video
sources and will soon earn its reputation in your A/V system. The user interface
and its ability to communicate with more sophisticated components makes it attractive
for both simple and highly integrated setups. We would highly recommend it for
those who need a digital video switcher in their system. We have been using it
for more than a month and it has never let us down. Radiient is so confident that
you will like their HDMI switcher, they are willing to offer customers a 30-Day