What do you get the man who has everything? If by 'everything' you mean a truckload of games consoles, hi-def disc players, PVRs, DVD players and stereos, then you might well plump for this Joytech Xbox 360 540C Control Centre.
Basically, it's a simplifier for four-console households – you plug everything (360, Wii, PS3, DVD, PS2) in the back, then it spits it back out in a couple of cables your TV can digest.
Better still, it has an LCD display which lets you name channels so you can flip by name from Wii to 360 to DVD. Neat. It also has a built-in five port Ethernet hub to connect all your consoles, PCs and hi-def players to the net.
For serious gadget fiends, this translates to a hell of a lot less fiddling around the back of the TV in order to plug things in and out – and no sign of one of those expanding balls of wire that gradually grows behind the television. And all for £70.
A Wii Problem
So, it's a nice idea. But HDMI isn't invited to Joytech's AV party – which, given that Microsoft have just invited it to their Xbox one, isn't great. There are also a few TV/console combos where the picture doesn't look that brilliant, particularly with Wii.
That said, via component HD it pairs with 360 perfectly, and most signals look fine – it's just that hi-fi fiends should take note that this box won't give the signal a spit and polish as it passes through. But then most hi-fi fiends should be sensible enough to realise nothing that costs £70 ever would.
The only other downside is the 360-esque look – if you don't dig the look of Microsoft's big humming games machine, you certainly won't dig having its doppelganger sat right on top of it. All of that said, this is a superb price, it's no nonsense to set up, and it does the job pretty well with a minimum of fuss. It's just that, if you can afford all of those electronics, surely you can afford a decent AV receiver to plug it all into?
Joytech Xbox 360 AV Centre reviewOccasionally glitchy with some sources, this works well enough with most. The lack of HDMI's a pain, but as a bargain solution to a problem that afflicts most gadget fiends, it isn't bad...
5 of the best smart heating systems