Looking to add more gear to your system, but have run out of inputs on your TV? You have several options available to you -- either you can buy a new TV (expensive, but fun) or you can buy a new receiver with more HDMI inputs (also expensive, and not as fun).
There is a third option, and it's not that expensive -- Lindy's 3 port HDMI switch.
Design and Features
While not as elegant as a brushed aluminium receiver, it certainly gets the job done. The 3 Port Switch consists of a small steel enclosure -- which won't look too obtrusive sitting on top of your DVD player -- and has a tasteful minimum of LED lights.
At the front of the unit are two buttons: one to toggle between the three inputs, and a second "Enhance" button for improving signal quality over 15 metres, and increasing your maximum cable distance to 40 metres. At the rear of the case are the three HDMI inputs and a single output.
The switch also ships with a simple credit card-style remote, which comes with a button for each input -- but as there are only three inputs the numbers 4 to 6 don't work -- and a power button. It's not the most attractive remote we've ever seen, but if you have a universal remote it wouldn't be too hard to program this remote in.
There has been some talk about HDMI switchers and the idea that they can affect the video (and audio) quality of the signal. This has especially been levelled at receivers such as the receiver we use in CNET's testing studio -- . To test whether these switching boxes -- the Lindy and the Pioneer -- actually affected image quality in particular we used a variety of sources including DVD, free-to-air and HD DVD.
After getting some pretty square eyes gazing into the studio plasma we came to the conclusion that these assertions, especially in the case of the Lindy 3 port switch, were untrue. We are happy to report that there was no discernable difference in image quality between connecting the source directly to the TV or via the Lindy switch.
The only caveat to this is that adding any HDMI device to your chain adds yet another HDMI handshake. While Lindy asserts that its device is compliant with version 1.3, there is plenty of equipment out there that isn't. Unfortunately, HDMI up to this point has seemingly relied on an arcane combination of the ascendancy of Orion and earnestly crossed-fingers, so there is no way to ensure this switch will work with your equipment until you hook it up. However, Lindy do offer a 14-day return policy if the gear doesn't work for any reason -- in addition to the usual warranty.
In conclusion, if you're looking to upgrade your TV without much expense then the Lindy makes a hassle-free and economical choice.