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HDMI connectivity is quickly becoming a must-have connection type for all types of gadgets. But while the list of gadgets with an HDMI output is growing, the number of HDMI inputs on HDTVs and receivers is limited--you'll need to spend a lot of money before you see more than three inputs on either. That's where HDMI switchers come into play, allowing you to add more HDMI-enabled gadgets to your home theater setup without paying the big premium on your HDTV or AV receiver. The Oppo HM-31 offers switching for three inputs and is priced about average at $99.
The Oppo HM-31 is the best-looking HDMI switcher we've tested. The top of the switcher is black brushed metal, and the front and sides have a glossy black look. There are three LED lights to indicate which source is selected, plus an additional LED to indicate power. To the right is a Select button, so you can toggle through the inputs if the remote goes missing. It's tough to make something as utilitarian as an HDMI switcher look good, but Oppo pulls it off. The included remote is a weakness, as it has the slim, credit-card-style design, although we appreciate the separate buttons for each input. We definitely prefer full-size remotes, such as the one provided by the Monoprice 5x1 HDMI switcher.