Whether it’s an A/V receiver, a video projector, a TV, or any other piece of equipment in your home theater, it seems no hardware ever has enough inputs and outputs. Take the 37-inch ViewSonic N3760w LCD monitor we use in the Lab: It’s outfitted with just one HDMI input, which means we have to unplug our media center PC when we want to use the monitor with another piece of HD video gear.
There’s no shortage of HDMI switchers on the market, but Accell’s UltraAV HDMI Switch caught our eye because of its price tag: It sells for about $100. The concept is pretty simple: The device has two HDMI inputs at one end and a single HDMI output at the other. Press a toggle button on it or the included remote control and the switch changes from one source to the other. Although the switch doesn’t require an external power supply, a red LED glows to indicate which source is active.
Screw-holes enable you to mount the switch on a wall or inside your entertainment center, and Accell provides an IR extender with a tiny sensor, so you can keep the switch out of sight. A patch of adhesive on the extender allows you to fasten the device to a convenient surface. We found the cable connections to be just a little sloppy, even with the HDMI cables Accell provided us, so we’d definitely recommend anchoring the UltraAV down permanently. If the switch is jostled and the cables come loose, the A/V signal will become corrupted or cut out entirely. We’d also recommend copying the remote’s commands to your own programmable remote because Accell’s wafer-size clicker is destined to become lost in your couch cushions.
The UltraAV HDMI Switch can handle video resolutions ranging from 480i to 1080p and computer resolutions up to 1920x1200. One feature you won’t find in this inexpensive device is a signal repeater, but we think it’s a good deal if you don’t need extended HDMI cable runs.
Cheap! Adhesive! Handles resolutions up to and including 1080p!
Slightly irksome connection requires you to really mount the switch to something in order to preserve your viewing. Tiny remote control, too.