HDMI Switches Overview
HDMI is a large and growing trend in the consumer audio/video market. It is probably the most important home theater connection, transferring uncompressed all-digital a/v interface. HDMI cable provides a link between audio/video devices such as Blu-ray, DVD, LCD, HDTV, receiver, and more).
The problem with this HDMI trend is that your HDTV, LCD, and other devices only allow for a small amount of HDMI inputs. When you add gaming consoles, Apple TV, and HD video cards into the mix, you may find yourself at a loss with your current TV. The solution—without having to manually switch or buy a new HDTV or LCD—is to buy and HDMI switch. HDMI switches are essentially HDMI hubs for you home theater. HDMI switches accept input from multiple devices and allow you to route them to one location such as your PlayStation, Xbox, computer, cable box, etc, all routed to your HDTV.
HDMI Switches enable you to enjoy crystal-clear picture with excellent sound without having to swap out connections. It will help reduce the total cost of your home theater by eliminating the need to upgrade your system.
HDMI Matrix Switches
An HDMI Matrix Switch allows multiple inputs to be routed to multiple outputs. Both inputs and outputs can be controlled. For example, you can have two HDTV’s and one cable box, then route the cable box to one or both of the HDTVs.
The source devices can be controlled either at the source device via the matrix box or remotely via an HDMI Remote Controller IR Extender Transmitter. We carry HDMI switches with 2x4, 4x2, and a 4x4 matrices. The matrix refers to the number of source devices vs the number of display devices.
Differences between a HDMI Switch and Splitter
Many assume that switches and splitters are essentially the same thing. While both may be of used to you in your home theater setup and installation, their purpose is much different. As mentioned above, your Switch allows you to take multiple devices and run them into one device. A splitter does the opposite. An HDMI splitter allows you to take a signal from a single device and route that signal into multiple devices. For example you can run you DVD player into multiple HDTV’s.
How to Use
- Insert the power adapter into the power plug on your HDMI switch, and then insert the power adapter into a power supply or wall outlet.
- If it comes with an IR receiver, plug the IR receiver in.
- Connect your HDMI devices to the switch. Be sure to use ‘Input 1’, ‘Input 2’, etc, and not the ‘Output’ port.
- Connect your output to the HDTV or LCD using an HDMI cable.
- Use your HDMI switch. Select which input (i.e. PlayStation, DVD, Cable Box) to that you would like view.
When shopping for an HDMI switch for your home theater system, be aware that not all are created equal. Besides expandability, here are some things to look for when purchasing an HDMI switch:
- External source of power--Avoid getting an HDMI switch powered by the HDMI source itself. Purchase only a switch that comes with its own power source.
- Intelligent input selection--All HDMI sources deliver a signal that indicates it is available. Some HDMI switches have the ability to recognize it and eliminate the need for manual selection.
- Power-saving feature--Choose an HDMI switch that automatically goes into Standby mode when the source is turned off.
- HDMI 1.3 capable--HDMI 1.3 is the current version of HDMI. Having a switch that is up to date with the technology will help you avoid costly replacements down the line.
- HDCP transparency--The switch must be capable of passing HDCP data from source to display.
We carry many of the more popular types including 3x1, 4x1, and 5x1. A 3x1 will allow you to connect three devices to one (4x1 and 5x1, four and five respectively). Some of our switches are equipped with IR extensions other are not. Either way, you can enjoy your home theater experience from the comfort of your home. Whether you need to switch between two inputs or five, we have what you need. For multiple outputs, check out our matrix switches, enabling you to distribute to 2 HDMI outputs, giving you the utmost flexibility in your home theater setup.
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