If you want to watch the same film, or tv channel on other televisions or screens in your house, your choice has been somewhat limited and not entirely satisfactory. The common solution is to buy an HDMI splitter box, a long HDMI cable and run from the source to the screen – a solution that is rarely easy. When you consider that longer cable runs often need a higher quality cable, it can also get quite expensive.
The HD juice Box attempts to solve that problem by:
The concept is similar to using the common and popular HomePlugs for data connections at home, the only difference is the often larger bandwidth requirements of video and audio, and the fact that signal problems need to be reduced to an absolute minimum for it to be acceptable.
The HDJuiceBox in Action
The HDJuiceBox comes with a receiver, transceiver, a credit card sized remote control and the necessary cables including HDMI cables. Setting the system up is straightforward – simply connect the transceiver box via HDMI to your source (this can be your DVD or Blu-ray player, or your Sky or Freeviewbox) and the receiver box by HDMI to the screen in the other room. Both boxes can then be connected to a mains power socket and powered on.
When we tested the device there was a delay of a few minutes whilst the two devices connected, but when they did, the resulting picture quality was surprisingly good. We tried with both DVD and Blu-ray discs, and the colour reproduction and sharpness on both was virtually indistinguishable from the original.
With both televisions on at the same time, the HDJuiceBox seemed to be just as happy as it was when powering one, and there was no quality degradation. In fact the system is expandable so you can add an extra one or two receiver boxes if you want to view the output on additional screens.
The other nice feature is the inclusion of the remote control and extender cable – this makes the whole system really usable and allows you to control the source device from wherever the receiver box is placed. This involves plugging in an additional cable to the transceiver box which has an ‘IR Blaster’ on the other end to output the original remote controls button push to the Blu-ray player, or whatever you are controlling.
The boxes themselves come in a matt black finish and are simply styled and fairly non-descript. Whilst generic valium images they aren’t particularly attractive, this type of device is more likely to be hidden away than on display so it shouldn’t matter too much. They are solid and well made though, and the construction quality should mean they stand the test of time, and perhaps a few knocks along the way.
What to consider…
We set the system up by plugging each device directly into the mains socket – and although we also got good results when using an extension cable, the less potential connection points along the way, the better. We also tried using the system with the main transceiver plugged into a mains conditioner, but predictably, this did not work at all. The only other thing we noted was the length of the supplied HDMI cables was quite short – although the supplier have re-assured us that longer cables are being provided in future. We found the boxes got quite warm so we would recommend placing them where they will receive adequate ventilation – so not on the carpet.
Why you should buy the HDJuiceBox
The HDJuiceBox is a relatively costly solution to a common problem that could be solved by purchasing an additional player or running additional cables. However, neither of these are a particularly elegant option, nor often practical, so this is a very neat and reliable solution
Update February 2013:
The specification of the HDJuicebox has been updated – the S-Video, RGB and Phone connections have been removed in favour of HDMI only, and the firmware has seen some updates too. The list price has been reduced to £379.
Where to buy:
More information and full technical data sheets available at: Just HDMI.