4k HDMI switch with optical out.
Do you have more devices to connect to your TV than actual HDMI ports? In a world where people often have multiple game consoles, Blu-ray players, and maybe even a computer to connect to a display, this is not uncommon.
Most regular TVs and monitors have multiple HDMI inputs, but sometimes that’s not enough. HDMI auto switchers might just be the ticket, but how do they work?
What is HDMI?
HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface is the standard for modern digital display devices. This is the most common type of connection and you’ll find it everywhere from laptops to game consoles. Three connection sizes are available: standard, mini and micro.
Mini and Micro HDMI connectors are commonly found on small devices such as action cameras, as their enclosures are often too small for the bulky standard HDMI connector.
HDMI cables carry digital information. Among other things, they transmit audio and video. It is also two-way communication. This means that both devices connected with an HDMI cable can communicate with each other. This is an important feature when it comes to HDMI auto switchers.
HDMI Switches in a Nutshell
HDMI Switches solve the problem of not having enough HDMI ports on your TV. On one side of the switch is the only HDMI output that connects to the TV. On the other side of the switch, you will find several inputs to which you can connect devices such as consoles or cable boxes. Controlling the Switch with a remote control or physical controls changes the signal from the device to the display.
HDMI auto-switching switches can detect which device is active and then automatically switch the output to that device. Done correctly, you never have to manually switch between inputs. However, bad circuit breakers can cause more trouble than they are worth. If they consistently make mistakes, it is far less frustrating to simply use the remote or onboard controls to switch from one device to another.
How Does Automatic Switching Work?
Since HDMI is a two-way street, it allows each device to actively indicate when it is sending a signal. The auto switch detects which HDMI cable is currently active and switches to this one.
In principle, this sounds simple, but there should be a bit of logic in the process. After all, you don’t want a switch to change inputs when it shouldn’t. Normally, HDMI auto switching only works if only one device is currently powered on and sending a signal. If you want to switch between multiple devices that are actively broadcasting everything, you will have to do it manually using the remote control or the built-in control.
TVs With Automatic Switching
You may not need an HDMI auto switch at all. Many recent TVs now have built-in HDMI Auto Switching. Moreover, you can often turn it on or off in the settings if you don’t like it. Higher-end TVs also include more than three conventional HDMI ports. Allows you to connect more devices without using a switch.
Also, be aware that some devices offer HDMI pass-through capability. They have an IN and OUT port. For example, Xbox One consoles have this capability, as do some Blu-ray players. This daisy-chaining is another way to save on the number of HDMI ports you need.
The Best Automatic HDMI Switches
After this basic explanation of how HDMI auto switches work, we can take a look at some of the actual switches you can buy. When it comes to switches, everyone has different needs. Therefore, we have selected examples for various use cases and budgets to give you a good idea of the HDMI auto-switching options on offer.
The Zettaguard is a very affordable 4K switcher that has a pretty neutral style and lots of features. One design feature that we immediately found appealing was the placement of all HDMI ports on the back of the device. Simplification of neat and unobtrusive setup.
Zettaguard supports a maximum UHD 60Hz signal that covers just about everything. Except for next-generation PCs and consoles in 120Hz modes. Again, almost no one has a 4K 120Hz TV, so that’s not an issue right now.
Finally, it’s nice to see the picture-in-picture feature. If you don’t want to automatically switch between sources, but want to watch multiple sources at once, this is a great option.
5-port Awakelion 4K automatic switch
Aside from the fact that the brand of this switch is called “Awake Lion” and that it is stylized to look like something from the NES era, it’s a great deal. In our opinion, a 5-port 4K 60Hz switch for under $ 50 is a steal.
The auto switch function of this switch has a memory function whereby it will revert to the last source you used when you restart. It comes with an ugly remote if you want to take matters into your own hands, but for anyone on a budget who needs to connect five devices, this seems like a fine choice.
The home brand Amazon has proven itself to be both a good product line and a truly easy-to-use wallet. This 3-port switch is ideal for older TVs that may only have one or two HDMI ports. The 1080p device may have been moved to the bedroom.
However, this switch supports 4K output and auto-switching. We especially like that it uses USB power rather than an AC adapter. Most TVs, not even the smartest ones, have some kind of USB port. So, you should be able to use this to power this switch. It’s cheap, simple, and great!
Tutu switch 4 ports
Totu only costs a few dollars more than an Amazon-branded switch and offers four ports instead of three. Totu also looks a little more premium and promises especially broad compatibility with a range of HDMI devices. It also includes a complete list of audio standards.
Unlike the Amazon variant, it still relies on an AC adapter for power, but given its proximity in price and significantly more premium builds and feature listings, this advantage is worth ditching.
5-port Sgeyr switch
This five-port switch from the (unspoken) Steyr looks a lot like a USB hub at first glance. This means you probably want to hide it somewhere rather than show it openly as part of the entertainment system. That is if you don’t like this kind of thing.
The main attraction of this switch is its five auto-switching ports for just $ 30. However, the caveat is that this is an older HDMI 1.4 product. As such, 4K content is limited to 30Hz. This makes it unacceptable for 4K gaming, but great for 1080p output at higher refresh rates.
Switching it Up
While HDMI auto-switching isn’t the most revolutionary technology, it’s just another little feature that can make your life easier. All this adds to the comforts of modern life that everyone should enjoy. Now, if only we can find a way to make the remote fly to where you forgot it. Maybe some kind of remote drone hybrid?
4k HDMI switch with optical out
4k HDMI switch with optical out.
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4k hdmi switch with optical out