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If you have a High Density television, you may want to transfer the images or video from a game console, laptop, media player or camera to your TV set. Or, you may want to take video from a digital video camera and see it on a computer monitor or video projector. HDMI (=High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is an interface standard connector to bring the audio/video signal from one device to another. But what if you have attached several HDMI devices to a HD television or computer monitor? An HDMI switch is a device that allows you to change between the devices, to display the one that your choose at any one time. This way, you won't have to detach the cable from one device in order to plug in another. So you're taking more than one input, and putting it onto a single output. (If you want to do the opposite, where you bring the input of one device, like a cable box, to more than one monitor, you'll need an HDMI splitter, not a switch. But there are devices that work as a splitter and a switch, such as the Goronya 3 Port HDMI Switch/Splitter.). But there are still types of switches, from among which you can choose. Here is a guide to some of the best types of HDMI switches on the market.
4K UHD HDMI Switch: This employs Ultra-High Definition for 4 K resolution. (4K resolution means horizontal resolution of 4000 pixels on a screen, with a horizontal resolution of 2000 pixels.) This is the prevalent standard in consumer television and media. Ultra HD has four times the resolution of typical HD displays. It produces images that are much crisper and more detailed than standard HD. This switch will therefore support the highest resolution of the most advanced game consoles and media players. The CSRET Ultra HD HDMI Switch is such a device.
4K X 2K 4 Port 4X1 HDMI Switch: This switch supports 4K X 2 K resolution without degrading the picture or audio quality. Since it has 4 ports, it can connect 4 devices at once. So you can connect a game console, cable box, and DVD player all at once.
5 X 1 HDMI Switch: This switch allows up to 5 HDMI devices on a single monitor or display. The Sabrent High Definition HDMI switch is such a device, going for around $25
3 X 1 HDMI Switch: This is the simplest switch, for people who don't like a lot of wires cluttering their electronics. With just three ports, it's enough to hook up a cable box, DVD player, and laptop to a HD TV. The Voygon HDMI switcher is one such device, for three inputs into an HDTV or monitor.
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Get extra HDMI cables: You will want to get extra HDMI cables of the proper length, to make sure you can hook up your devices. Also, there are special cables for higher resolution—make sure that the cable meets your requirements.
Problem with copy-protected material: Some switches do not allow material that is copyrighted, such as HDCP (High-bandwidth digital content protection) material. So some people experienced problems with watching their BluRay through some switches.
1080i, 1080p: You'll see resolution of television sets rated as 1080i or 1080p. 1080 means that the image is made up of 1080 lines of vertical resolution (from the top of the screen to the bottom of the screen). “p” means progressive scan, where all 1080 lines on the screen are scanned one after the other. The “i” means interlaced scan, where first the odd-numbered lines are scanned first, followed by the even-numbered lines. Progressive scanning produces a more clear, smooth picture in less time.
Remote control/Manual/Automatic Switching: In order to help you change from one device to another, HDMI switches come with an infra-red remote control. There should also be a manual selection switch as well, to change between devices. The buttons are clearly marked, to know which device you're bringing up. Some switches, like the Portta, have automatic switching: it will hook up to the first device that turns on. If two devices are on, it will hook up to the one that you assigned the lowest number.
Power adapter: Sometimes the HDMI switch can draw its power from the input devices. If not, you will have to hook up a power adapter for it to work.
Good for basic monitoring and playback: There are very expensive HDMI switches, which cost much more than the 3 input Voygon or Portta switches (The Roland V-1 HD costs close to $1000; the Voygon or Portta cost around $6.) But if you don't need the quality or versatility of the Roland, the Voygon may be adequate. Note: There is a drawback that the switch will change between devices when one of them goes on. People using the Nintendo Wii U game console noticed that their HDMI switch kept reverting back to the Wii U, when it would check for updates every 30 minutes.
Portta—was founded in 2008 in Hong Kong, as developers of electronics and technological solutions for video and audio. They make HDMI switches, audio converters, speakers, and other electronic accessories.
Sabrent—are manufacturers of technology and consumer electronics, located in Los Angeles, California. They make hard drive accessories, USB hubs, cables, camera and audio/video equipment, card readers, device chargers, and more.
EnjoyGadgets—is an electronics company centered in Burnaby, British Columbia. They sell electronic car accessories, memory cards, camcorders, HDTVs and HDTV equipment, and more.
Voygon—are makers of electronics. They make switches, power adapters, extenders, HDMI splitters, and more.
Fosmon Technology—are makers of accessories for cameras, smartphones and tablets. They make cables for audio, video, and networking, as well as for computers, tablets and smartphones.