Accell's UltraAV HDMI 2-1 Switch
The good thing about HDMI is that it reduces the wire tangle in an A/V system by carrying digital high-def video and multichannel audio signals on a single cable. The bad thing is that many HDTVs sold over the past few years have only one HDMI input. With HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players now joining cable and satellite receivers in the ranks of HDMI-equipped sources, you might very well need a switcher to connect more than one high-def component to your HDTV.
Accell's UltraAV HDMI 2-1 Switch ($99) takes two HDMI inputs and passes signals to a TV through a single HDMI output. The switcher itself is only slightly larger than a box of matches and requires no external power. You change inputs by pushing a toggle button on the switcher or by using the credit card-size remote control. And a 5-foot infrared extender cable lets you stash the switcher out of the remote's line of sight and still control it.
There's not much to be said about a switcher's performance - either it works or it doesn't. In my case, the HDMI 2-1 worked without a glitch, seamlessly switching between the 1080i output of my Toshiba HD DVD player and my high-def cable box when I pressed its remote control. I didn't have any 1080p sources to test it with, but Accell claims that the HDMI 2-1 also passes signals in that format. If you're looking for a way to connect two high-def components to your TV's lone HDMI input, Accell's UltraAV HDMI 2-1 Switch will do the job. It's cheap, reliable, and, best of all, doesn't require a bulky power adapter.
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