I've got two s-video signals ....
February 21, 2005 1:23 PM   Subscribe

I've got two s-video signals and one s-video jack on my TV. What's the cheapest way to mitigate this, assuming I don't have easy access to the back of my TV for constant switching?

I would love to spend $10 or less, and would prefer not to get something the size & shape of a standard stereo component (these typically boast six inputs anyway). The one thing I've found is the AR-200 Acoustic Research AR-200 2-Way Audio/Video S-Video Switch, available from Amazon, but I honestly can't tell if it does what I want it to do. Signal fidelity is important, but my TV isn't exactly top of the line.
posted by blueshammer to Shopping (12 answers total)
You need an S Video Switch of course. (Links are to FutureShop, a Canadian retailer. You'll find similar doodads at any home electronics store for less than $30)

I just bought one myself. They either work with a push button, automatically sensing which input have signals, or with a remote, in increasing order of cost. I don't notice the quality difference, but I'm not picky.
posted by Popular Ethics at 1:33 PM on February 21, 2005

For somewhere in the neighborhood of twenty bucks, you could get the kind of switch-box that's popular among people who own multiple video-game consoles. Typically, these are a little smaller than a typical hardback novel, with four inputs and corresponding buttons on the front, though more expensive ones use remote controls (I mention this because you could probably get one to work with a universal learning remote). Amazon has this one, and similar gadgets are widely available. That said, I wouldn't be surprised if there was a better solution.
posted by box at 1:38 PM on February 21, 2005

Radio Shack should have what you need without shipping charges. I don't know if you can mix $10 and high signal quality though.
posted by smackfu at 1:46 PM on February 21, 2005

When I first ran into this problem, I weighed the options and instead of getting a $30 switch box I settled on a very low-end home theater surround sound system. I read a bunch of reviews and found a RCA 5.1 system for about $225 (list on it was $300) that many folks said sounded much better that what you'd expect for the price.

I've had it for three years now and it still works and sounds great. It's by no means high-end, but watching movies with even the small speakers and cheap subwoofer is worlds better than the default TV speakers. It was worth every cent and I can't see watching movies without some sort of surround sound system again.
posted by mathowie at 2:42 PM on February 21, 2005

Does that home-theater sound system incorporate an S-video switch?
posted by scarabic at 5:33 PM on February 21, 2005

Not at $10 solution, but most mid-range recievers these days come with component video switching as well as audio. That is, you can not only hook up your CD player, radio, tape deck, etc., but also your DVD player, VHS, gaming system, and have the video going out to a TV. If you wanted an excuse to upgrade your home audio, just about any Major Brand has several options out that have this capability.

The nice thing about this method is that most recievers come with S-VHS and RCA inputs; many also come with toslink (optical) or COAX digital connections.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 5:17 AM on February 22, 2005

Response by poster: OK ... how well do these receivers tend to "translate" video signals? For instance, if I had component video in but s-video out, would it be s-video quality, or would the downsampling of the component signal render it neither fish nor fowl?
posted by blueshammer at 6:35 AM on February 22, 2005

Well, a video signal is still analog, so there's no need for any conversion/sampling issues (no A/D process necessary). For the audio, most recievers will preserve the digital signal if there's a digital out (many decks have this), but you're going to have a D/A conversion at some point, after all, in order to hear it!

if I had component video in but s-video out, would it be s-video quality

The system can only give you the best you give it. In the situation you cite, you'll get a s-video signal but only component video quality. You can't transmit data that's not there.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 7:11 AM on February 22, 2005

The Sony receivers I've used have separate circuits for each signal type, and no conversion. So if you switch to an input that has a component connection but no s-video, you'll get nothing from the s-video output. I have seen a couple that do conversion as well.
posted by cillit bang at 7:48 AM on February 22, 2005

Response by poster: The system can only give you the best you give it. In the situation you cite, you'll get a s-video signal but only component video quality. You can't transmit data that's not there.

I meant composite, not component. Or I meant component but you thought I meant composite. Regardless, I meant going from a higher-quality video signal down to s-video, but according to cillit, only some do that.
posted by blueshammer at 8:13 AM on February 22, 2005

I recently faced this problem and wanted to solve it on the cheap, but I also wanted remote control. Cheap switchboxes with remote control capability turn out to be very rare.

I finally found the Samsung/Axcession V2303. I ordered it and have it, but have not tried it yet because I also ordered S-video cabling for all the consoles that necessitated the V2303, and they have yet to arrive.

The V2303 does support converting signals between s-video and composite video. It does not come with it's own remote, but lets itsself be controlled by four buttons of your choosing (one for each input) on whatever remote you use. It also has selection buttons on its front.
posted by NortonDC at 8:29 AM on February 22, 2005

I hooked it all up. The Samsung/Axcession V2303 is working like a champ. No visible sign of interference or signal loss, even with all four video sources going simultaneously. I'm satisfied even though I could not get it to mix s-video and composite in any useful manner (everything's on the superior s-video cables now anyway). That was $30 well spent in my view.
posted by NortonDC at 9:41 PM on February 27, 2005

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