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HolidayBuyer's Guide
Home Entertainment

Gefen Component Video Extender: HD video network

Gefen's Component Video Extender sends hi-def video signals over network cable, meaning you can have your AV separates in one room and a kick-ass £10,000 projector in another

Most people's home cinema consists of a DVD player and, if you're lucky, a shiny new flat-screen TV. For others, home cinema is a hobby that knows no limits, and once you start getting into projectors and AV amps you'll soon find yourself with a beard, talking to your slightly overweight friends about the need for dielectric insulated video cables. From here, it's only one short step to converting your garage into a full-on home cinema complete with 30m screen, leather couches and those little plastic cup holders.

American company Gefen Fed-Ex'd us a gadget that high-end home cinema fans will clamour over. The Component Video Extender is fully high-definition compatible (and that includes 1080p), and is meant to connect AV separates from one room to a projector in another. After all, if you've set up the sort of home cinema that puts your local Odeon to shame, you can't very well have a stack of DVD players, Sky boxes and games consoles whirring away in the corner.

The kit includes one box for sending component video and another for receiving, connected by standard CAT5 network cable. CAT5 is rather out of favour in a world obsessed with wireless networking, but it's still preferred by home cinema installers for its speed and reliability. Plus, its 100m transmission limit is more than most wireless routers can handle.

We set the Component Video Sender up in our labs and it worked a treat, with no noticeable degradation in quality from the network transmission. We plugged it into a Liteon DVD recorder and a Humax LCD TV, but the ideal setup would be to have all your separates going into one AV amplifier, and then have the component sender plugged into that. If you want to go truly high-end, you can use install an AMX or Crestron touchscreen control system to operate all your devices from your cinema room while they are stacked up in the spare bedroom.

The Component Video Sender isn't cheap at $299 (around £170), but it does exactly what it says, is solidly built and will be an essential gadget for home cinema owners. Let's hope for an HDMI-enabled model in the near-future. -GC