With many of us gamers now owning more than one console, there comes a time when some of you will be hacking through the lead jungle around the back of your TV set to reconnect another console you wish to play. There are only a few suppliers who provide an easy solution for this and Mad Catz has one with their *inhale* Universal HD Component Audio & Visual Cable.
The 1.8meter cable itself is simple – On one end you have the choice of using either the three component RGB connectors or the component Video, Left and Right audio connectors. On the other end you have all three connectors for your Wii, PlayStation 3, PS2 or Xbox 360 console. Now, unless all your consoles are close together you will not be able to connect all three as each connectors only has a run of around 20cm length. This rules out any switching between consoles that are located at a distance longer than that, come to think of it, even if the consoles were placed right next to each other, it would prove a challenge to connect to all three consoles.
So, this is a cable purely for someone that wishes to have one HD component/composite cable that works with all consoles. This may suit someone travelling with a few consoles, and is wishing to take the least amount of peripherals with them. Or alternatively you may have only one component or composite socket that is out of reach, such as an AV amp or projector.
Visually there isn’t much noticeable difference here between an official cable and the Mad Catz Universal HD cable. Taking a screen capture from an official cable and the Mad Catz cable had shown there is a little difference between them. At the end of the day all connections are analogue, and to get the best HD performance you should be using a digital HDMI connection, but there will be some gamers out there who are still stuck with connecting their consoles to a less supported display.
Audio for the PS3 and Wii is provided by the available stereo connectors, however the Xbox 360 has its own optical port, as found in its official cable. So for those seeking a digital audio solution for the PS3 you will have to run an additional cable between the PS3 and the amp, or between the Xbox 360 and the amp via the cable’s optical port. Sadly, to keep costs low, an optical lead isn’t provided, so make sure you have one spare if you wish to get the most out of your console.
If you are an AV hothead you will most likely be using a digital HDMI connection with your consoles, however, there are some cases where gamers will want to connect multiple consoles to a single port and the Mad Catz Universal HD Cable may just provide you a solution. Sadly the cable doesn’t provide the length and facility to switch between your active consoles, and it is this that limits the cables full ability. In my case though, where I needed to capture HD quality PS3 footage with my Haupauge HD PVR unit, the Mad Catz Universal cable fits the bill just perfectly.