These days, your TV is more than just your TV. It’s become a vessel through which you can enjoy every morsel that the world of entertainment has to offer. Even the way you consume television itself is vastly different than it used to be. Chances are you’re not sitting in front of the TV, flipping channels, hoping to land on something mildly interesting. You’ve plugged in your Apple TV or Roku and stream your favorite shows instantly. The one thing all of these entertainment options have in common is the HDMI cable, which hooks them into your television. But with all of these entertainment options, you’re liable to run out of HDMI ports. That’s why you need an HDMI switch.
What Are the Benefits of an HDMI Switch?
First of all, in case you don’t know, the HDMI cable is the cable required to plug in any high-definition device into your television – other than the power outlet. It fits snuggly into one of your HD television’s HDMI ports. If you remember the days before HD TVs, the HDMI cable was preceded by those red, white and yellow RCA cables that would always get tangled up. A problem that many entertainment connoisseurs come across is the unfortunate fact that most TVs only have two HDMI ports. If you have a Blu-ray player and a Nintendo Switch, you’re already out of room on the average television. This means you’ll be in a perpetual state of plugging and unplugging, depending on what you want to access. An HDMI switch does away with the nuisance of plugging and unplugging by providing extra HDMI ports. It comes with its own HDMI cable, which needs to be plugged in to one of the existing ports on your television. After that, you’ll probably have more HDMI ports than you even need. Having as many HDMI ports as possible is increasingly becoming a necessity, as the projected numbers for 2021 have the average American with 13 internet-connected devices. Not all of those will be connected to your television, such as your phone, but many of them will be.
Where Can You Buy an HDMI Switch?
Even though you might have never heard of an HDMI switch before, they’re not terribly hard to find. They can be found at your local electronic store, probably in the section that stores the HDMI cables. Best Buy or Fry’s will probably be your best bet, but you might be able to find them at Walmart or Target. Of course, in the digital age, shopping online might be the easiest way to find HDMI switches. Next time you’re buying a new dog toy or a book on Amazon, it’s incredibly easy to toss an HDMI switch in your cart. They have plenty of switches available, as do the sites of Best Buy and Fry’s. Shopping online will also allow you to easily compare and contrast models, without your ear being commandeered by a salesperson. It should be noted that Amazon’s selection of switches is much cheaper than Best Buy’s selection. This isn’t due to Amazon offering the same model for less, but, rather, offering cheaper models altogether. Best Buy’s online selection is for very high-end models that run for hundreds of dollars, as opposed to Amazon’s 10 to 50-dollar models. As with most cheaper electronics, they might work as well as the more expensive models, but their lifespan is likely to be much shorter.
Which HDMI Switch Should I Buy?
Like any modern-day electronics, there’s a wealth of choices when it comes to buying an HDMI switch. There’s expensive models, cheap models, new models and old models. A layman – or even an expert – could easily end up confused and purchase a shoddy product. To make sure that doesn’t happen, here’s some of the best HDMI switches on the market.
1. GANA 3
- Smart & automatic operation - has the key-press-switching function.
- 3-Port HDMI Switch - 3 HDMI ports in and 1 HDMI out for various HDMI devices, such as Xbox one S, Xbox 360, PS3, beamer,...
- Hot 4K (3840x2160p) resolution, 3D display supported.
The GANA 3, in keeping with its name, offers three additional HDMI ports – two, actually, because it needs to be plugged in to one of your existing ports. This switch also has the ability to funnel 4K devices, such as PS4 Pro or a 4K Blu-ray player, as well as 3D. In terms of HD audio, this device works with LPCM, Dolby AC3, DTS 7.1 and Direct Stream Digital. The GANA 3 also happens to be one of the cheapest options for HDMI switches, coming in at a cool $9.99. The cheap price might allude to a less effective product, but it’s good enough to garner the “Amazon’s Choice” label, which indicates a highly-rated, well-priced product.
The DGFAN HDMI switch is a bit pricier than the GANA 3, clocking in at $23.79 on Amazon, but not without good reason. Instead of three HDMI ports, this device comes with five. That should be enough for even the starchiest of couch potatoes. It boasts universal compatibility, so no matter what you’re using, it’s going to work. While some switches require you to get up and walk over to its body in order to switch between outputs, this device comes with a remote switcher, so you never need to get up from your comfy chair. As a quality of life measure, it also has small LED lights around the HDMI ports, so whether it’s nighttime or your switch is drenched in shadow behind your television, the ports are always easy to locate. In addition to 4K and 3D compatibility, the device has a special memory feature, which allows it to remember which output it was on last. This way, if you were watching a Blu-ray last night and quit half-way through the movie, the next time you activate the switch, it will still be tuned into the Blu-ray player.
- 【1 in 4 out】 HDMI Splitter with 1 hdmi input port and 4 hdmi output ports, It means that it can distribute one...
- 【WISED USE】 Offer HD video solution for super market, shopping mall, HDTV, STB, DVD, projector factory, data control...
- 【STRONG COMPABILITY&HD】Support HDMI Format: 408i/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080P. Full HD and support 3D,4K .You can...
Nierbo’s HDMI switch is unique, as it comes in several different sizes. There are models that range from two HDMI outputs to four. Interestingly, they also have models with numerous HDMI inputs. This is so you can broadcast the same image on multiple televisions or computers, which is handy for businesses or schools. As with the other devices, these are all compatible with 4K and 3D. Nierbo also offers a lifetime warranty, so while it’s four output model is roughly the same price as DGFAN’s five output model, this might make it the better choice in the long-run. Speaking of DGFAN, Nierbo’s switches also come with a remote.
4. Kinivo 501BN
- Connect 5 HDMI input devices (e.g. gaming console, DVD player, etc..) to a single output display (HDTV) helping reduce...
- Experience your favorite media through advanced crisp crystal-clear 4K 30hz resolution and immersive 3D content...
- Can switch automatically (based on active input) allowing you to enjoy your media instantly without the fuss of setting...
The Kinivo 501BN is much more expensive than the models listed so far, as it’s listed on Amazon at $42.99. Part of this price has to do with the fact that it offers five outputs. Like some of the other models, it also comes with a remote for wireless switches. So far, it doesn’t sound much different than the DGFAN. What makes it more expensive? The Kinivo 501BN claims to have a high-speed operating power, which guarantees little to no lag when juggling your many devices. This is the downside to HDMI switches, as they can sometimes result in a clunky picture if too many devices are plugged in to it. As with the GANA 3, the Kinivo 501BN is an “Amazon’s Choice” product. Most of the reviews on Amazon find the device to work properly, but some have trouble with its incapability with certain HDCP devices. HDCP devices are products with code that prevents any kind of copying of digital audio or video.
5. Rocketfish 4K
Only available at Best Buy, Rocketfish’s 4K HDMI switch is the most expensive and most powerful switch listed here. Due to its built-in AC adapter, it’s highly unlikely you’ll have any issues running several different devices through this switch. For those willing to make the investment, this is probably one of the most reliable switches you can purchase. It comes with four HDMI ports and a remote for wireless switching. As its name suggests, it supports 4K devices, although there is a cheaper model that does not. As of right now, 4K isn’t the norm, so you could probably get away with a regular, 1080p model for at least the next two years. There’s also a one-year warranty, so while that doesn’t stack up to Nierbo’s lifetime warranty, it is something to consider. Most of the reviews on Best Buy’s site praise the Rocketfish 4K for its performance, but also bring up its awkward design and difficulty working with the PS4.
Your Plugging and Unplugging Days Over
In the days of old, you’d have to leave your home for all your entertainment needs.
While that’s still possible, modern technology has made your living room a more than sufficient space for quality entertainment.
Now that you know what an HDMI switch is and which ones are the best, you’ve probably realized how tantamount they are in bolstering your home entertainment set-up.After all, climbing behind your television to unplug your PlayStation every time you want to access your Roku quickly becomes tiresome.
A good HDMI switch can make sure you never have to do this again.