Octava HDMX42 HDMI Switcher - Performance and Operation
5/31/2009 - Art Feierman
Octava HDMX42 Operation
I mentioned up front, that the documentation being provided could be really improved. I can tell you that in my first attempt to hook it up for my typical use, I was stymied. I'll relate that setup now, and what it took to solve my problem.
As mentioned, I need the ability to switch any of four sources to either of two outputs. Equally important, I need the appropriate audio to come out of the optical digital audio output, to be fed to my AV receiver.
I naturally hooked up my sources. I ran the digital audio output on the Octava, to a digital audio input on my receiver.
OK I ended up with one source coming through my projector, with matching audio now coming through my receiver, as intended. Then the fun began. I switched from that first source to the second source.
The second source's image was now correctly appearing through my projector.
But, I was still stuck with the audio from the first source! Now this was obviously unacceptable (who wants to watch Transformers with the audio from, The Tonight Show coming through one's speakers)!
I checked the manual, but, it being a bit thin, an obvious solution wasn't apparent. Time to call Octava tech support.
First, I had a person to help me, on the phone in less than 2 minutes (always a good start). Upon explaining my situation, support had the answer. I needed to tell the HDMX42 switcher, that I wanted the correct audio to follow the source, which required telling the switcher that both outputs should have the same source. Once explained, it was as easy as hitting the sequence A-1-B-1 on the remote. Basically that slaves one output to the other.
Upon doing that, bingo. Now, when I switch sources, the correct audio now outputs through the digital audio output
There is a trade-off though. In this mode, one cannot route another source, to the second output.
That trade-off is only if you need the digital optical output. Even then, you can always switch back with a couple of button presses, to sending two sources to two different outputs. It would have been better if one could do it all, but most likely people will not have a setup needing to do both.
One thing to note, if you are routing one HDMI source through the switcher, such as a signal from your cable box, and you go to power up your blu-ray player, or other HDMI device, the switcher will drop the first source (cable box), and switch to the second one. At the very least, it does interrupt what you are watching. Obviously a non-issue for those who never turn anything off, or who power up all devices at one time.
I used the Octava switcher with three different projectors, and with three different sources. I used 6 foot good quality hdmi cables from sources to the box, and a 25 foot excellent quality Ultralink HDMI cable from the switcher to whichever projector was cued up. No problems were encounted. The switcher seems reasonably fast in locking onto the signals. It's faster than most projectors at any rate. As a result no real loss of speed was noticed in terms of getting an image onto the screen when a source is first fed.
The credit card remote worked fine, and seems to have very good range for a remote of this type (thankfully). Once I had the unit "configured" for my usage, I only really needed the remote to switch between source 1 and 2, and to turn off the LED light. Using the buttons on the remote automatically turns the LEDs back on, so if you change sources, you'll also be turning the light back off again if it's too bright.
Bottom line: Very functional, image seems clean, no transmission problems noted at all. I don't have a room control system to work with the CEC, nor any Deep Color content to test the HDMI 1.3 features.
As of right now, I'm pleased with it's performance, it does exactly what I need (and other things too). I've already emailed Octava to see what kind of deal they can give me on this one. (Hey, afterall, it's opened now!)