Here’s a nice problem to have: too many high-definition doo-dads and not enough high-definition ports on your television. That’s the situation I was facing on both of my televisions. I have FiOS TV, an Xbox 360 and an HTPC on both sets. I have two HDMI ports on my upstairs TV, and my downstairs television only has a single DVI port.
I picked up an IOGear 3-Port HDMI switch from Amazon last week for about $25. There are cheaper, no-name switches out there from sellers I’ve never heard of, but I was new to HDMI switches. I wanted to be able to return it easily if there was something flaky about the technology.
The premise behind the HDMI switch is simple, especially if you used an audio port multiplier in the past. You plug one cable in to the left side of the switch, with the other end going into your television. All of your other devices plug into the back of the switch.
The IOGear has a button on the front that lets you select one of the devices connected to the switch. However, this is 2010, and who the hell wants to get up off of the couch? The included IR remote satisfies your inner sloth:
Now … this remote. It’s included, which is nice, but …. Why the two different sets of buttons? The 1 – 2 – 3 buttons I can understand, as this allows you to select which source you want to use. But why the up and down arrows? Why would I want to “browse” up and down my device chain? That’s silly, and clutters up an otherwise dead-simple remote. And remember, gentle readers, that dead-simple is always a plus.
One of the things I like the most about the IOGear is that there isn’t a separate IR dongle for the remote. I purchased another brand of switch for the upstairs television, and it has a big ass IR receiver that is going to hang off of the television. Drag.
The IOGear 3-port HDMI switch works well. It takes a little while for the HDMI cables to “handshake,” part of a rarely-used copy protection scheme protocol inherent with all HDMI devices. I think the HDMI-to-DVI cable I have on this television adds to some of the lag, but eventually the signal comes through and everything is fine.
The IOGear switch is a simple device at a low price. The IOGear switch doesn’t’ come with any HDMI cables, but those are easily found for cheap online.
If you need a way to switch between multiple HDMI sources, the IOGear 3-Port HDMI switch is strongly recommended.