It is not easy to keep up with the fast changing world of HDMI connections and image formats. Ultra HD and Full HD, SDR and HDR, HDMI 1.4 and 2.0, HDCP 1.4 and 2.2, who want to connect new devices to devices that are sometimes only a few years old, are running into problems. The HDFury Vertex is a possible solution, but only for absolute fanatics or people who are professionally involved with video.
HDFury Vertex – Specifications
- HDMI revision: HDMI 2.0b (Level A) 600MHz – 18Gbps
- Max Resolution: 4K60 4: 4: 4 8b, 4K60 4: 2: 2 12b, 4K120 4: 2: 0 8b or 8K30 4: 2: 0 8b
- I / O: 2 HDMI In, 2 HDMI Out, IR, RS232, USB, Analogue Jack, Optical Out
- Upscale port: FHD 1080p to UHD 2160p & 4K / DCI
- Downscale port: UHD 2160p & 4K / DCI up to FHD 1080p
- Signal Conversion: Resolution, Chroma Subsampling, Color Space, Color Depth, HDCP
- HDCP Conversion: Any HDCP to any HDCP with CST1 support
- Operating Modes: 18Gbps Scaler, Splitter & Matrix with CEC, ARC and EDID management
- Special Modes: CEC Command, HTPC, Disable HDR, HDMI Doctor and booster
- EDID Modes: 10 EDID Flags, 100 EDID Banks (10 custom)
- Infoframe Modes: Capture, edit, block or replace HDR metadata, AVI & VSIF. Read SPD, Audio, HDMI Vendor, HDMI Forum
- On Screen Display: Customizable with custom text and / or mask (covered TV channel logo)
- Oled Display: 3.12 “Diagonal, 256 × 64, 32 green tones
- Dimensions: 10 x 6 x 3 cm
- Weight: 130g
- Price: 349 euros
HDFury Vertex – In short
HDFury has been active for 10 years now. The company makes all sorts of video-related dongles, but is mainly known because of its HDCP rippers. These are devices that strip the HDCP protection of an HDMI connection, allowing copying of the HD power. HDFury sometimes came under fire, last in 2016 for the Integral, a device capable of downgrading HDCP 2.2 to 1.4. Ultimately, LegendSky (the Chinese manufacturer of HDFury) won the lawsuit because downgrading of the HDCP protection is an allowed action.
With the Vertex, HDFury now puts a device on the market with enormous flexibility. The Vertex has two HDMI inputs and two HDMI outputs. You can configure this as a splitter (an input to both outputs) or matrix (an input to an output).
All HDMI ports are v2.0b and equipped for the full 18Gbps bandwidth (600 MHz) of HDMI. This means that the Vertex can transport all possible HDMI 2.0b signals up to maximum resolutions of 4K (or even 8K in certain configurations), frame fractions up to 120 fps, all possible chroma subsampling schemes, and color depths of 8 to 16 bits per pixel, and with support from HDR10, HLG and Dolby Vision and all modern audio formats. In addition, the Vertex can also handle a lot of conversions: scaling (up- and downscaling of resolution), chroma subsampling, color space , color depth and HDCP, and you can even intervene in the HDR format. Finally, it is a very comprehensive diagnostic tool for what happens on your HDMI connection.
HDFury Vertex – In the packaging
The Vertex is a compact unit of 10x6x3 cm, with at the top an OLED screen that provides a lot of information about the connected sources and displays.
In addition to the two HDMI inputs and two outputs, it has an audio output that can serve as an analogue stereo output or optical digital output and an RS-232 connection. It comes with a mini-USB cable and power supply (which delivers 2A along the USB port). HDFury recommends connecting the Vertex to the power supply, as it requires a lot of power when you use all the features. In practice, we connect the Vertex to our laptop and until now it has never caused any problems.
On the sides there are several keys, with which you can determine the HDCP level of the output, adjust the scaling or scroll through the information on the OLED screen. Many of those tests put you in the right position once, after which you control all further actions in the corresponding software.
HDFury Vertex – User interface
You control the enormous amount of functions of the Vertex via the Windows software (which you have to download on the hdfury.com website). Download the manual (a must read!) And the drivers for the device immediately, and check which drivers you have to install. Once that is done, you only have to connect the Vertex via the mini-USB port and you can start using the software.
The Vertex also supports control via a smartphone app (for Android and iOS), but for that you have to purchase the optional GoBlue accessory. Given the many options of the device, the Windows software is in many cases a better choice.
HDFury Vertex – Information
The Vertex gives you a huge amount of information about the connected devices and the output signals. This information can also be consulted in many different places. So you can consult the OLED screen on the Vertex itself and all information is also available in the Windows and GUI App.
A very useful feature is the ability to display all that information on the screen of the connected TVs or projectors (with an On Screen Display or OSD). Through the software you can adjust which information is shown and how long. You can also mask part of the screen along that route, useful if, for example, you want to hide a channel logo.
HDFury Vertex – Connecting and scaling
Walking through all the possibilities of the Vertex would lead us far too far. That is why we limit ourselves to the most important functions.
On the first tab of the GUI you can determine how the Vertex reconciles the functions of the two connected displays. He does this by reading the EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) of both screens and intelligently making a combination that works for both screens. You can give priority to maximum compatibility or maximum functionality, and it is possible to require certain flags. So you can check that the Vertex has to report that the connected screens are HDR-compatible, and more. You can also designate one of the two screens as decisive, or set a specific EDID yourself.
The second tab determines all scaling functionality. It is important to know that output 0 can only upscale and can only downscale output 1 (of course they can both pass on the input). You can set which scaling takes place based on the incoming signal. Although the interface only refers to 60 and 30 fps, we have determined that the 1080p60 and 4K60 options also work for input with 50 fps and that the 1080p30 and 4K30 input also work for 24 fps input. From a dropdownlist you then choose the desired output format.
On this tab you adjust not only the resolution, but if desired also the color space, chroma subsampling and bit depth.
The Autoscaling features are useful if you have an Ultra HD television that does not have 600 MHz HDMI ports. The Vertex then adjusts the signal so that the result falls within the more limited 300 MHz range.
HDFury Vertex – HDR functions
One of the main reasons we use the Vertex is to view and control the HDR information. If you connect an HDR source, the Vertex on this tab shows which HDR parameters are included as metadata. For example, you can read the MaxCLL and MaxFALL parameters.
Even more interesting is the option to send custom HDR metadata. Metadata determines how the television displays the HDR images. Where you had to do this on earlier devices such as the Integral by generating an obscure information frame yourself, you can adjust that on the Vertex via the handy interface with a few clicks.
This allows us to estimate how an appliance handles the HDR metadata by changing it in real time. An important parameter, for example, is MaxCLL (maximum luminance value throughout the content). If it is quite high (or zero), most screens will darken the images to show all the white detail. With the Vertex you can overwrite that so that the image is a little clearer, with a compromise of some white detail.
The following shots of Exodus are taken with identical camera settings. The on-screen display clearly shows which values have been adjusted. In the original MaxFALL and MaxCLL is not filled in (a situation that occurs more often). In the second photo we have brought MaxCLL to 540, so that the TV shows a bit more black detail, and the image is brighter.
HDFury Vertex – Support
HDFury regularly releases new firmware, so take a look at the website regularly. New features are added, or corrections are made. The update process is simple and takes only a few minutes. Please read the manual carefully, because as with any firmware upgrade, it is important that you do this in the right way.
HDFury Vertex – Conclusion
Let’s be clear, the Vertex is definitely not suitable for average users. The interface may be very useful, but a thorough knowledge of what exactly you need to adjust, or what the consequences are, remains necessary. If words like EDID, HDR info frame or 10 bit Rec2020 sound like Chinese to you, you will struggle to find the right settings. A good learning curve and gaining a lot of advice on a good forum is recommended.
Do you have the necessary knowledge, as AV fanatic or professional, then the Vertex is a real Swiss army knife for HDMI. This way you can connect devices that were previously incompatible or only partly compatible with each other in the best possible conditions. The Vertex gives you in-depth insight into which signals are being forwarded, and allows you to manipulate them extensively. Ideal for information junkies or for those who want to squeeze the very last bit of performance from their line-up. In that context, the price is also very reasonable.