When compared it’s clear that both provide decent picture quality, with very minor shadowing on text the only identifiable problem. However, the propriety cable outputted a slightly darker and more saturated image compared to the brighter component output.
This, though, can be accounted for by adjusting the brightness and colour levels on your TV or Monitor and otherwise the picture quality is very decent with no discernable signal loss or artefacts.
Unlike the standard Xbox 360 AV cable, there’s no optical out on the interconnect cable itself, however the cable does carry a 5.1 sound signal outputted via the optical out on the Control Center.
What’s useful about having the propriety interconnect cable, as opposed to simply using the standard component cables, is that this leaves you with four open component inputs to use as you please. Therefore, it’s pleasing to know that the quality of the output stands firm and you won’t be resorting to using component cables instead.
Though the Xbox 360 output is fine, everything isn’t quite perfect when using Nintendo’s Wii. As many will no doubt be aware Wii outputs at a maximum of 480p, and most of the time the Control Center handles things perfectly. However, there are some odd occurrences on some screens, such as the remote strap safety screen, where the display goes blank momentarily.
It must be stressed, however, that these problems appear to be fairly limited and I’ve yet to have any problems during actual gameplay. Moreover, reports suggest that this may well be caused by something Nintendo have done with the Wii signal output and therefore not a fault with the Control Center. Either way, it’s not something worth worrying about too much and general gameplay experience is entirely without fault.
So, is the Control Center 540C your final solution? Unfortunately not, though it does get awfully close to such an accolade. For all the connection options it does give you – and there are many – it does lack HDMI and this is surely going to become and issue in the future. A good TV will often come with at least two HDMI inputs, but this isn’t the case with all TVs and there’s bound to be an increase in the number of units utilising HDMI.
You’ll certainly need one for an HD-DVD player, as will the PS3 along with any standalone Blu-ray player. Then you have media hubs such as the Apple TV and other variants all eagerly demanding attention.
Of course, all of this presumes you’ll need or can afford everything and frankly this scenario will only apply to a very small proportion of people. Moreover, even accepting this premise, it is by no means to the condemnation of the 540C because for the price you really couldn’t ask for a great deal more. If you’re looking an HDMI switcher there are many available, and meanwhile the 540C delivers plenty of bang for your buck and all the component connectivity you’re ever likely to need.
As a component input switcher Joytech’s Control Center 540C is an excellent solution. Decent image quality, a very handy Ethernet hub and an excellent price combine to make it an excellent candidate for your cash.
Update 31/01/2007: Joytech has been in contact informing us that they’re working on a discrete adapter to solve the Nintendo Wii output issues, as mentioned in the review. These will be given out free to anyone who needs one, and the changes will be incorporated into future manufacturing runs of the Control Center 540C.