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Jeff Bakalar Editor at Large
Jeff is CNET Editor at Large and a host for CNET video. He's regularly featured on CBS and CBSN. He founded the site's longest-running podcast, The 404 Show, which ran for 10 years. He's currently featured on Giant Bomb's Giant Beastcast podcast and has an unhealthy obsession with ice hockey and pinball.
Jeff Bakalar
3 min read

HDMI connectivity has become increasingly popular as more and more devices use the interface. If you own more than two HDMI-capable gadgets, you may find yourself in dire need of additional inputs, as most HDTVs and AV receivers do not satisfy the growing demand for such ports--and those that do are quite expensive.



The Good

The IOGear GHDMIAS4 switches among up to four HDMI devices. It handles many devices, and it includes a remote control with discrete inputs.

The Bad

Some dislike the device's autosensing feature and its credit card-style remote. Cheaper, comparable solutions are available.

The Bottom Line

The IOGear works just as advertised, but there are cheaper alternatives that perform just as well.

If you find yourself in this situation, look no further than an HDMI switcher. This device will add additional HDMI ports to your HDTV, usually ranging from three to five, so you can integrate more HDMI-enabled gadgets into your setup. Here, we'll review the IOGear GHDMIAS4 4-Port HDMI switcher, which is one of the more expensive switchers we've reviewe,d with its $190 list price.

The IOGear's small design is built for discreetness, as you'll probably overlook it in your AV rack. Unlike most of the switchers we've tested, it lacks LEDs on the front that indicate which source is connected. This will appeal to those who prefer a perfectly dark home theater room, but it could make occasional troubleshooting a little more difficult.

The switcher feels sturdy, but with all four ports occupied, you may need to anchor the device down--the pull of four cables can cause it to tilt upward. A single button rests on the front of the switcher used for manually cycling through each input.

For discrete input selection, IOGear includes a remote control--also freeing up the option to program your personal universal remote to operate the device.

The remote itself is a little disappointing. It has a thin credit card-style design, which is a pain to use--we always prefer full-style remotes like the one included with the Monoprice 5x1 HDMI switcher.

Another detail to consider is the autosensing input feature on the IOGear. The IOGear will automatically switch to an input that it senses a new connection with, eliminating the need to use the remote. Some people like this feature for the convenience, but others prefer manual controls, since occasionally, the device might switch to an active input against your wishes. Your personal preference will ultimately decide whether you want autosensing.

The IOGear fared quite well in our testing. Switch times were fast, taking about 3 seconds to change between devices, regardless of whether connected to an AV receiver. It also didn't have a problem when we connected it to a 65-foot HDMI cable, as it still had no issues passing a 1080p video signal with high-resolution audio. It is one of the only HDMI 1.3-certified switches we've tested, so we weren't surprised when it successfully passed Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio signals--though the HDMI version 1.2 switchers we have tested handle this as well.

A caveat to all HDMI switchers--and products with HDMI ports in general--is that we've found frustrating compatibility issues in a variety of scenarios. An HDMI switcher may work perfectly well in one setup and then not work in another setup because of a different combination of home theater components. Because of this, we recommend buying a switcher from a retailer with a solid return policy, as it's impossible to know if it will work flawlessly in your setup ahead of time.

While the IOGear GHDMIAS4 works as advertised, the only detail keeping us from giving it a hands-down recommendation is its price. The $50 Monoprice 5x1 HDMI switcher performs just as well as the IOGear, has an additional port, and costs almost half as much, so only those smitten by the autosensing feature should stick with the IOGear.