A high definition TV or any high def monitor can be used for multiple devices when the devices are connected to the monitor via a switch. There are many entertainment devices that can benefit from being connected through audio video converters; gaming consoles, DVD recorders and players, set-top boxes and of course, HDTVs and computer monitors. As long as the source device is HDMI compatible then the converter will allow the user to go from one to the other with minimal effort.
Although there are many different audio video converters perhaps the most popular and certainly the simplest is 2×1, this simply means that there are two inputs and a single output and the user can easily switch from one to the other input. In many homes the HDTV serves multiple purposes, an example might be where the user has a game station and a DVD player, both of these input devices can be hooked into one switch. Although this is the simplest device available, it really is not recommended because it does not allow for any further expansion of the system. A 4×1 is considered optimum for most home users.
When considering the purchase of an audio video converter the user should give serious consideration to expandability, a 5×1 switch is recommended by most enthusiasts. The switch also must have high bandwidth digital content protection which passes data between the source and the monitor.
Although most older devices are not forward compatible with the current standards it is noteworthy that these switches are backwards compatible, this means that they can replace or take the place of a digital visual interface. The only consideration will be the cables, it will necessary to have a HDMI to DVI cable to customize the set-up. The ideal switch is one which can be remotely controlled, thus making it far more convenient to select the input device desired at the time.
Along the same vein as a switch that allows for multiple inputs and one display device are splitters which allow for one input device to be displayed on multiple monitors. These setups are ideal when a user is making a presentation to a large audience and multiple displays are needed for individual visibility.
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