HDMI isn't just for HDTVs any more. As the high-def movement continues to march forward, HDMI connections are becoming standard equipment on everything from cable and satellite boxes, DVRs, game consoles, AV receivers, and DVD players to network media devices, PC video cards, and even camcorders. That means even a fairly modest home theater setup--say, an HD DVR, PlayStation 3, Apple TV, and a DVD recorder--could have three or more HDMI-equipped AV sources. While many higher-end TVs and AV receivers are beginning to sport three or even four HDMI inputs, the industry standard is still stuck at around two.
Traditionally, HD aficionados suffering from an HDMI deficit would bite the bullet and run their sources via component once they ran out of HDMI inputs. But doing so obviates the whole advantage of HDMI to begin with; in addition to losing any fidelity advantage offered by HDMI, you quadruple or quintuple the cable needs (three separate component cables, plus one or two for audio) per source. But there's an easy and straightforward solution: an HDMI switcher. Switchers have one simple task--toggling between multiple inputs--and they can expand the number of available HDMI inputs to your HDTV or AV receiver by a factor of two, three, or even four. … Read more