Most of the newest HDTV sets come with two or more HDMI inputs, but even this proves insufficient sometimes and if you want to link your gaming console, laptop, Blu-ray Disk player, and HD DVD player to your LCD TV screen all at once, then you are likely to run out of HDMI inputs. One way to solve this problem without purchasing a second TV is to use HDMI switches, also known as HDMI switchers. Their main function is to allow you to plug-in two or more sources into a single display and then switch between these sources with a click of a button. Some HDMI switchers have automatic source detection and select the source, which was turned on the last, but most allow you to make your selection by pushing a single button on you universal remote control.
While the models and the price ranges vary widely, most HDMI switchers are alike and in 99% of the cases, even the most affordable one would do excellent job. However, you should keep in mind that switchers and repeaters are two different devices, and the switchers would not allow you to run super-long HDMI cables between the source and the display, although some top of the range ones might do that just as well.
With that said, what should you look for, when selecting a switcher? For starters, decide on the number of sources that you want to link to your TV and make sure to plan ahead as you might buy new devices in the near feature. In most cases, three or five-port switchers would do for the common home thither setups, but if you want more ports, then you can easily find bigger switches as well. For more complicated setups, you can find switchers with more than one output, allowing you to have the same video and audio from the source to be displayed and played on two TVs, projectors, or monitors simultaneously. Since you could need to connect various different devices, you should keep in mind that the switchers are not guaranteed to work for all setups and you should make sure that you buy them from stores that would let you return or exchange them in case this happens. While two or three TV, HDMI ports might be perfect for most configurations, if you have more sources and you do not want to plug and unplug cables all the time, then buying an affordable HDMI switcher is all you need to do!