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HDTV? Check. Surround sound system? Check. Xbox 360? Check. Nintendo Wii? Check. HD-DVD Player? Check. Sky HD? Check. Media Center PC? Check. Add to that a PS3 on order and you’ve got all the kit you’re ever likely to need for the next few years, right? Wrong.
The problem of course, and AV enthusiasts the world over will be nodding sagely right now, is that no TV you buy will ever have enough connections to cater for all this expensive gear. And who wants to spend their days crawling behind the TV to switch things around? I don’t, for one.
Enough questions though, let’s have some answers. Back in August, Riyad reviewed the AV Tool AV-5831 Component Video AV Switcher, and found it to be a superb solution for your component connection problems.
That, however, had only three inputs and there’s a good chance you’ll need more than that with all the new high definition equipment competing for your component connections. Enter Joytech and the Control Center 540C for Xbox 360, which sports an impressive array of connections and Xbox 360-esque styling.
Available via Joytech’s Online Store and various other online retailers, the 540C sports four rear mounted component, composite, S-Video and optical audio inputs, one front mounted composite and S-Video input, a proprietary Xbox 360 AV input and a 10/100 Ethernet hub with five inputs.
That’s a lot of connectivity right there and, when you consider how much you’re likely to spend on equipment to connect to the 540C, £70-90 is a minor dent to your credit balance.
Of all the features, the Xbox 360 styling had me most concerned. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t hate the Xbox 360 look, but it’s no great beauty either, with its concave curvature making it look rather like the console equivalent of a steroid fuelled body builder.
Thankfully, the 540C isn’t quite a faithful recreation and takes a few liberties to make it seem rather less bulky. Though the 540C has the same depth and height when in its vertical position, it’s not as wide as the Xbox 360 and the curvature is rather less pronounced. This gives the unit a rather less domineering look, and this is certainly favourable over a perfect replica of the Xbox 360 chassis.
On the front of the unit you’ll find an infrared sensor – for the included remote – power and channel switch buttons and an LCD display. In a nice touch the 540C has a motion sensor that detects the position of your unit, rotating the LCD display to suit.
Finally, hidden behind a flap on the front, are the front mounted composite and S-Video inputs. The flap is rather awkward to open at first and feels a little cheap, but you’ll soon find a knack to getting it open.
Happily, this is the only overt piece of cheapness to be found and though the plastics are by no means top of the range they are at least put together in a secure manner.