This week we reviewed the HDFury Vertex 4K, the Swiss Army knife of HDMI connections. An extremely useful tool for those wanting to associate a Blu-ray UHD 4K player with a 4K TV, a projector or an A/V receiver that doesn’t support the new DRM HDCP 2.2 digital copy protection standard.
HDFury Vertex 4K: the brand
HDFury is an American company specialized in HDMI technology. The brand doesn’t manufacture cables, or image and sound enhancing devices, but instead focuses on designing devices capable of ensuring optimal communication between media players, Blu-ray players, A/V receivers, TVs and projectors for example.
HDFury Vertex 4K: case study
Imagine you have an old A/V receiver that you want to use with a brand new Blu-ray UHD 4K player. There’s a problem. It’s impossible to transmit UHD 4K HDR video signals through the receiver as its controller is only meant to handle 1080p signals, and lacks HDCP 2.2 protection to boot. Exchanging your receiver for a new model is out of the question, as it took a very long time to find. Plus its power supply is excellent, perfectly adapted to your speakers. Plugging your new Blu-ray Ultra HD player directly into your 4K TV would mean you’d be missing out on DTS HD, Master Audio, Dolby True HD and FLAC sound. The ARC (Audio Return Channel) from the TV to the receiver can only support DTS or Dolby Digital codecs, so that isn’t an option either.
In this situation, the HDFury Vertex is a suitable solution. The device is capable of separating a source’s image and sound in order to send only the sound to the A/V receiver.
HDFury Vertex 4K: features
The HDFury Vertex can:
- Convert HDCP 2.2 signals to 1.4.
- Scale HDR video signals to two different resolutions (1080p <-> 2160p).
- Delete HDR metadata from video streams (HDR10, HDR10+, HLG, Dolby Vision).
- Mix multichannel signals into stereo.
- Upsample and subsample colorimetry.
- Send specific CEC commands.
HDFury Vertex 4K: interface
The HDFury Vertex 4K has an OLED screen with a few lines to show the settings of its two HDMI inputs and outputs. The first switch activates the conversion of the entering video signal to HDCP 2.2 or HDCP 1.4 mode. A second switch allows you to choose between two predefined and largely compatible EDID modes, or a personalized EDID mode. A third switch is for scaling, again with two predefined modes and one that’s completely personalizable. Lastly, an input selector allows you to apply the selected settings to the inputs and outputs of your choice.
HDFury Vertex 4K: software
The HDFury Vertex 4K’s personalizable settings require the device to be connected to a computer running Windows and for the free software provided by HDFury, “4K Vertex GUI”, as well as a specific pilot, to be installed. Many EDID profiles may be downloaded from from HDFury’s official website, which can then be added to the HDFury Vertex. This software ensures very accurate control of the HDMI box.
HDFury Vertex 4K: accessories and test conditions
The HDFury Vertex 4K comes with a USB power supply unit, with a detachable USB-A to mini USB cable. When powered by its USB power supply, the HDFury Vertex 4K is illuminated by a powerful green halo that passes through the logos on each side. When the device is connected to the USB port of a device distributing 500 mV (A/V receiver, Blu-ray player, TV…), it works perfectly, but the green LED lights are deactivated.
HDFury Vertex 4K: application
Let us say straight away that the HDFury Vertex isn’t the most practical device to use. It’s absolutely essential to read the online user manual, which incidentally is very exhaustive. With the device’s presets, it’s impossible to associate an nVidia Shield digital media player or a Google Chromecast to a 21:9 LG monitor. Unfortunately, the displayed resolution stays at a 16:9 ratio. Consequently, it’s necessary to use the HDFury software to upload the 21:9 resolution profile onto the device. However, with the HDFury Vertex 4K, it’s possible to trick the Shield into thinking that the LG monitor supports HDCP 2.2 and acquire, for example, the multichannel audio output from the Netflix app. Without the HDFury Vertex 4K box, only stereo tracks are available.
HDFury Vertex: conclusion
The HDFury Vertex 4K is a powerful HDMI compatibility tool, meant only for advanced users, or even home automation professionals. Consequently, it can be invaluable for solving communication problems between HDMI devices and when associating new and (very) old generations of electronics.