Knowing that many gamers, or home entertainment aficionados, will often have more devices than ports for their displays, Startech put together a handy little device that switches between four HDMI sources with a single HDMI output. The Startech 4-to-1 HDMI Switch (model number VS410HDMIE) is a powered switch that is absolutely perfect for those of you like me that have about a thousand (exaggeration) devices but only a handful of HDMI ports on your televisions or displays. This affordable switch hits all the right buttons with few downsides.
I have a wonderful 55" Sony LED smart TV that I specifically bought because of the 4 HDMI ports; when I bought it 18 months ago I thought "really, would I ever need so many ports?" Turns out, yeah, I do as I now have an Xbox One, Xbox 360, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 3, Apple TV, ChromeCast, PlayStation TV, and will periodically connect my gaming laptop to the television. Prior to receiving the Startech HDMI switch (see it at: https://www.startech.com/AV/Switchers/4-to-1-HDMI-Switcher~VS410HDMIE ) I would need to climb over the entertainment center and unplug / plug in various devices depending on what I wanted to use. Now? Not an issue.
Setting up the small unit is a breeze; just run an HDMI from the Output port to your Television and plug the device into the nearest wall outlet and you are ready to go. In my case I took the ChromeCast, Apple TV, PlayStation TV, and Xbox 360 and plugged them into the various inputs and I was ready to roll (leaving the Xbox One, PlayStation 4, and PlayStation 3 plugged into the television's onboard HDMI ports). While it is simple to plug in and get set up, one thing irked me quite a bit; if you set the HDMI port above your input devices and the HDMI cables pull down, the front end of the unit (which is VERY light) raises about 3/4 of an inch up off the table, as the weight of the cables is just too much. Weighing down the front of the unit would be a great way for Startech to eliminate this little issue; as it is I have placed an old 1-in-2-out HDMI splitter on top of the unit to keep it flat. Tacky? Sure is.
Switching ports via the supplied remote is a breeze and I was a bit taken aback at how fast the unit transitions from one port to the next. One oddity that I can only replicate with the PlayStation TV is that regardless of what HDMI port I plug the switch into on the TV, or regardless of which port I plug the PlayStation TV into, if I turn the PS TV on the television will automatically switch to the HDMI port the switch is on, and the switch will change to the PS TV port. The Apple TV, ChromeCast, and Xbox 360 do not replicate this behavior. I am not entirely sure if it is meant to do this, but one thing is for sure; I would love for active port switching to be a real "thing" with this affordable little device.
Plugging in new-generation consoles like the Xbox One and the PlayStation 4 yielded the appropriate resolutions (900p / 1080p respectively) as well as framerates (somewhere beyond 30 FPS and 60 FPS respectively) with no visual slowdowns or artifacting. Audio was the same way; those games that supported 5.1 (or greater) received a true passthrough without any form of compression, static, or loss of depth.
All-in-all the Startech 4-to-1 HDMI Switch (VS410HDMIE) is a phenomenal little device that any gamer with multiple devices and a single television should pick up. At less than $90 USD pre-shipping/tax, this is the HDMI switch to get if you are looking for a simple way to connect a bundle of devices to a television that does not have enough HDMI ports.
Article by Robert