As the market continues to produce new devices which use HDMI to transmit audio and video to high definition displays, the demand for HDMI switches increases.
The reason for this is because many HDTVs owned by the majority of consumers still have only 2 to 4 HDMI ports. Only newer TVs offer more ports to accommodate the high definition audio and video devices today. Instead of having to upgrade to a brand new TV, the most economical solution to adding more devices than your television allows is to buy an HDMI switch.
HDMI switches allow the user to connect multiple HDMI devices to a single port on the display. The user can then switch between devices connected to the port by pressing a button or even using a remote (if the switch comes with one).
What To Look For?
They come in different configurations and are labelled in the format of (number of devices) x (number of displays). For example, an HDMI switch which can connect up to 3 devices to 1 display would be labelled 3×1. A device which can connect eight devices to a single display would be labeled 8×1. If you have 5 devices and only 3 HDMI ports on your display, opting for a 3×1 switch will allow you to connect all 5 devices to your television. If you are looking for an HDMI switch, there are many to choose from at: http://www.cabletrain.com/switches/hdmi-switches and I have found them to be very reliable.
The configurations can be slightly more complex by adding more than one display into the mix. An example of this would be the 4×2 HDMI switch which would allow 4 devices to be connected to 2 different displays simultaneously. The selected devices would be split to both displays at the same time. So if you had an Xbox 360 selected out of the 3 other choices connected to the switcher, the Xbox 360 will be active on both displays.
If you are in need of a switch it is usually a good idea to spend a few more bucks to get one with more ports than you currently need. This will ensure that you will be ready for any future devices to be added to your home theater without any hassle. Better safe than sorry!
Are there any possible compatibility issues?
Yes, there are a couple of potential problems with devices like these. Any problems you run into can usually be blamed on the lack of signal strength with the HDMI cables. It is highly recommended to get thicker HDMI cables to ensure maximum signal integrity. For runs up to 35 feet you should be using 24 gauge cable. For runs longer than 40 feet you will want to use even thicker (22 gauge) cables.
Using devices such as a switch adds to the amount of troubleshooting that needs to be done in case there are any problems. The issue you may have can be blamed on the device itself, the switch, or the cables. As with any electronics, compatibility issues may present themselves and some devices might work well while others do not work at all. So if you are having trouble, you will want to do some trouble shooting before concluding the unit is defective.
- Step 1: Swap out the HDMI cables with different cables. Preferably shorter and/or thicker cables which will provide a better signal.
- Step 2: Try connecting different devices. For example, disconnect that DVD player and use a different device to see if the DVD player is the cause.
- Step 3: Try connecting the switch to a different television to help further rule out any compatibility issues.
If you are still experiencing any problems then the issue is probably that the unit is defective. Contact the company from where you purchased the defective unit and set up a replacement.