SMR logoEntech CVSI-1 Review
Component video has many quality advantages, but because of its pure, unsullied nature, on-screen displays from a DVD player, processor or receiver don't appear and that can lead to added system control complexity. Edward B. Driscoll, Jr. investigates a product from Entech that will solve all those problems, it integrated composite, S-Video and component video signals!

Entech CVSI-1 Component Video System Integrator Review

Entech CVSI-1     The Entech CVSI-1 Component Video System Integrator is a product that's not possible to explain in a single sentence. That is, unless you own a DVD player and a TV capable of component video. Then you'll wonder why nobody thought of this product sooner, and (assuming you can afford the hefty $999 retail price tag), you'll want to run right out and buy one immediately.

     If you're not DVD-savvy, a brief explanation of component video is in order. Component video was a concept that was introduced with DVD players in mid-1997. It requires three cables terminated with separate RCA plugs (which carry color difference signals on two lines and luma content on the third), and then combine them in the TV, rather than trying to send the color information down a single cable. Most DVD players provide the option of sending the picture out via one composite cable with RCA plugs (which produces good picture), or one S-Video cable (which produces an even better one). However, many DVD players also come equipped with component video outputs, labelled YUV, YPbPr or YCbCr to produce what is arguably, the finest quality image that NTSC TVs are capable of. PAL DVD players are usually equipped with RGB outputs, an interface that is not compatible with component-capable hardware.

     A variety of high-end TV sets and projector units now come equipped with component video inputs. In addition, some HDTV tuners are using component video as one option to transmit their information to the TV.

     However, adding a DVD player with component video to a home theater already equipped with composite and S-video cables can be a bit of a hassle. Especially, if your A/V receiver has a GUI (graphical user interface) to show you signal levels and all sorts of other important information on screen. This can be important because in many high-end home theater installations, the receiver and other video components are kept hidden from view in closed cabinets. In those cases, the GUI is very often the only way to tell what's happening with the receiver, since the display on the receiver itself is hidden from view.

     Those are exactly the sorts of instances where the Entech CVSI-1 Component Video System Integrator will excel. The unit is designed to integrate component, composite and S-video signals into one seamless signal, eliminating the need to go (in a hypothetical example) from VIDEO 1 on your TV for composite, VIDEO 2 for S-video and VIDEO 3 for component. Everything goes from the CVSI-1 into whichever input on your TV handles component video.

     In addition, a cable linking the CVSI-1 to the now unused DVD composite video input of your A/V receiver enables any GUI information to be displayed on the TV screen, superimposed over the DVD image. For example, let's say that you pop in a DVD of Die Hard, and an hour into it, the explosions are getting too loud for you (or your neighbors). If you send a command to your receiver to "Lower subwoofer by 5 decibels", and your receiver confirms this via its GUI, that information will be displayed on top of Bruce Willis and crew. Without the CVSI-1, you wouldn't be seeing confirmation of this on the screen, unless your A/V receiver is one of the very few that can handle component video - and most if not all of these units send out composite, S-video and component video through their respective cables, rather than merging them all into the component lines.

     The product itself uses Entech's standard curved metal casing, which at 8" × 6" looks a bit like a car audio amplifier with four rubber feet. My sample was black, although many similar Entech products are also available in natural colored (silver) anodized aluminum.

     The instructions that come with the unit need to be read and followed very carefully when hooking everything up, as several cables need to go from your A/V receiver to the CVSI-1. If you don't follow them very carefully, your GUIs may not be visible when you watch a DVD. Because Entech is a subsidiary of Monster Cable, the instruction manual reads like an advertisement for various Monster Cables. It actually serves as a good reminder: while no one is forcing you to use Monster Cables, cheap inferior cables could ruin the benefits of the CVSI-1.

     Once hooked up, the CVSI-1 worked exactly as advertised. I had very carefully recalibrated my TV using the Video Essentials DVD before connecting the CVSI-1 into my system. Once the CVSI-1 was connected, I could see no degradation of any signals from my LD, VHS or DVD players. Indeed, because the CVSI-1 has a built in comb filter and other video circuitry, it seemed to make VHS tapes look a tad cleaner.

     As I said at the beginning of my review, if you've got a DVD player and TV in your home theater with component video, you're probably wondering why no one thought of this product sooner. And you'll probably want to run out and buy one. This is one terrific component for the right person. If I were a home theater designer, I'd put one of these puppies into every home theater with a DVD player I installed.

     Highlights: Better integrates component video DVD players into a home theater by allowing for GUIs from A/V receiver to appear on screen when watching DVDs. Seems to clean up and slightly enhance picture from composite and S-video sources, such as laser discs and video tapes.

     Lowlights: Relatively complex installation for an otherwise fairly straightforward component, high price.



Amazon Electronics
The Entech CVSI-1 Video System Integrator can be purchased on-line from Amazon Electronics

More information can be found upon the official Monster Cable web site.

Text Edward B. Driscoll, Jr.; HTML SMR Home Theatre and Images Monster & SMR Home Theatre cannot be reproduced without permission. The images on this page are digitally watermarked: Digimarc

This page resides on the SMR Home Theatre server at: and contains JavaScript to prevent it being opened within a frame on another site. Last updated 21 April, 2001

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