Finding the best HDMI Switch

HDMI is the best way to connect your digital devices to your HDTV. Today, almost every device comes with an HDMI connection and you would want each device to your HDTV through HDMI ports. If you have more than an HDMI enabled products in your home than your HDMI connectors on your HDTV, you will need an HDMI switch.

With so many different brands of HDMI switches, finding the best HDMI switch can be a daunting task. Here are some tips to find the right one.

Determine the Number of Ports You Need

You may want to buy an HDMI switch with 10 ports, but if you have only 2-3 HDMI enabled devices in your house the remaining ports will remain unused. Also, HDMI switches with more HDMI inputs are larger in size and expensive.

If you have 2-3 HDMI enabled devices in your home, look for a 3 HDMI input HDMI switch which are less expensive. This way you can ensure maximum utilization of HDMI switch and the small footprint of the HDMI switch also goes well with your home décor.

Supported Audio and Video Resolutions

An HDMI switch should support all HD resolutions like 4K, 720p, 1080i/p, and all standard definition resolutions. It should also support HD resolutions like Dolby Digital/Dolby TrueHD, DTS / DTS-HD, and Linear PCM (LPCM). These are the basics and if the HDMI switch does not support these, it is not worth buying. The HDMI switch should not upscale or downscale resolutions as it will only lead to loss of quality.

Switching Functions

There are two types of switching functions available – Automatic and Manual. You need to first understand the difference between them before determining the right type of switching function for your home setup.

Automatic Switching – if your HDMI switch features automatic switching, it will automatically switch to the right HDMI source. For example, when you switch on the 1st device with HDMI, it will automatically detect the HDMI device which is switched on and activate the 1st HDMI connection. If you switch the 2nd HDMI device, it will automatically switch to the 2nd HDMI device.

Manual Switching- Sometimes Auto Switching may not work well, especially if you have two HDMI devices switched on. For example, if you have 1st and 2nd HDMI devices on but you want to switch to 1st HDMI device, you would need manual switching. Else, you would be required to switch on the 2nd HDMI device. In simple words, the best HDMI switch would feature both automatic and manual switching through remote control.

Is HDMI v1.3b Specification Good Enough?

The latest HDMI standard is 2.0b but it is hard to find HDMI switches compliant with this new standard. A majority of the HDMI switches are HDMI v1.3b compliant and in most cases, they are good enough. The HDMI v1.3b supports 4K video and major 3D video formats including 1080p.

Is it HDCP Compliant?

HDCP is a copy protection technology that prevents copyrighted content to pass freely from DVI/DisplayPort/HDMI connectors unless they are HDCP compliant. If the HDMI switch is not HDCP compliant, you will not be able to see content with HDCP protection.

The best HDMI switch should have all features mentioned above. If you ignore any of these features, you might end with a HDMI switch that limits your entertainment options.

 

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