Product Review (November 2006) - Radiient
Select-4 HDMI 4-Channel Switcher

By Kevin Nakano


There 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
Our 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.

Front Panel
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 IR remote.

Rear Panel
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.

Design
Being 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.

Performance
Our 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.

While 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.

Conclusion
It's 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 Satisfaction Guarantee.

- Kevin Nakano





OPPO BDP-103 Blu-ray Player




Review System

Projector: Optoma H77 High-Definition HD2+ DLP™ Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP622 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
Set-top Box: Samsung SIR-T165 Terrestrial HDTV Receiver with DVI
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T3 Controller
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review - At a Glance

Radiient - Select-4
4-Channel HDMI Video Switcher

Features:

  • Four input, one output HDMI source switch and repeater
  • Full 1080p and UXGA signal compatibility – 1080p Ready
  • Comprehensive HDCP support for best-in-class compatibility
  • Maximum compatibility with all types of HDMI and DVI devices
  • Switches and repeats HDMI, HDMI/HDCP, DVI, and DVI/HDCP between any device or type – DVD, PC, STB, HDTV, AV receiver
  • Input and output cable length capability to 50 feet each
  • Doubles as a cable extender for long cable lengths - up to 100 feet total
  • Sleek, compact, one-half-width single rack mountable enclosure
  • Comprehensive automation system control via IR remote and RS-232 serial port interface
  • Integrated IR remote control storage
  • Power supply features EcoSmart® Technology by Power Integrations – meets California Energy commission, EnergyStar, and EU standards
  • HDMI ATC and SimplayHD™ Labs compliance-tested and certified
  • Full product safety and FCC compliance tested and certified
  • Designed and brought to you by the co-inventors of HDMI chip technology and the DVDO iScan™
  • Dimensions: 8.44"W x 5.50"D x 1.68"H
  • Power requirements: 100-240VAC, 50/60Hz
  • 5W max. operating, 1W max. standby


Company Information
Radiient Technologies, Inc.
2084-A Walsh Ave.
Santa Clara, CA, 95050
www.radiient.com
Phone: 800-856-0181
Fax: 408-969-9969

Source: Manufacture Supplied
Model Number: Select-4
MSRP: $399

Warranty: Limited 3-year with a 30-Day Satisfaction Guarantee

URL: www.radiient.com
Email: sales@radiient.com

Any comments or questions regarding the LAAF Web Site should be forwarded to webmaster@laaudiofile.com

Copyright © 1985-2006 L.A. Audio File.