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IXOS XHE228: Extra HDMI socket, no need for messy surgery

If your TV doesn't quite have enough HDMI sockets, you might be in the market for a device that adds an extra one without you needing to cut holes in your pride and joy

There are some things in life you can't just go out and get more of. It's wildly impractical to obtain a third eye or a second mouth, for example. More than two legs are generally frowned upon. It's fortuitous, then, that televisions don't conform to the same rules as us. Your TV doesn't have enough HDMI sockets? Just bolt a new one on.

Soldering a new HDMI socket on to your TV might not be all that warranty-friendly, however, and we wouldn't want you getting an electric shock, so let us suggest the IXOS XHE228, a two-port automatic HDMI switch, which requires no messy surgery.

Designed to carry all types of HD signal to your TV without any interruption, the XHE228 will cope with video right up to our current maximum of 1080p. But the real genius of this device is that it will automatically switch itself to the correct input. Generally HDMI switches such as this will come with a button on the front, or a remote control for you to select the device you want. Not the IXOS -- it'll automatically select the input that's currently sending in a signal.

There are potential problems with this. What happens if you've got two things on at once, how can it tell? We suspect it might be like Scart switching, where the latest input to turn on gets priority. By and large it works, but sometimes it can get itself in a right pickle.

Still, it's better than having to ferret around behind your TV to swap leads and at £50 it's a damn sight cheaper than buying a whole new TV because your soldering iron slipped.