With HDMI output devices outpacing the number of HDMI ports on most televisions, HDMI switches are a vital part of many high definition systems. However, most HDMI switches can be very expensive. Is the value-priced MonoPrice switch an affordable option?
MonoPrice HDMI cables and switches are highly regarded in the audio/video community. Since you cannot buy them in retail stores, many users have never heard of this company. They should.
PS3, XBOX360, high resolution DVD, cable box, AppleTV — the number of HDMI output boxes have exploded. However, most HDTVs only have one or two HDMI inputs. To add additional HDMI inputs, an HDMI switch is an excellent option.
Most of the MonoPrices boxes are similar. The 5X1 box supports the PS3 and is the box that I am reviewing here.
The box switches from input to input from a manual switch on the box or through a remote. 720p, 1080i, 1080p all were flawlessly supported. Switching time (and the monitor’s renegotiation) took 2-5 seconds.
The box automatically detects any active source and highlights the appropriate led on the front of the box in red. The source that is directed to the output is highlighted in green. A green power led on the far right side is also present.
The back has the 5 source inputs and 1 output. The power jack input for the small wall wart is here as expected.
The remote control is very basic but of good quality. The ability to cycle through sources or jump directly to a particular source is nice. Even more importantly, the remote is easily learned by most smart remotes. Many remotes like the Logitech Harmony Series already have the codes within its software package.
The switch handled all my devices without difficulty. This includes a Samsung HDTV, a Scientific Atlanta HD DVR/Cable Box, an Apple TV, and a Toshiba A30 HD-DVD player. The PS3 support is well documented as well.
I did not have any problems, but all HDMI switches may have a few devices that are not supported. These are mainly due to the fact that the HDMI protocol is not completely supported among all HDMI input and output devices. Each MonoPrice version that has been released has been updated to eliminate as many issues as possible. Throughout the AV community and the forums, MonoPrice typically performs better than most other switches with this issue.
Video and audio quality were excellent through all tested devices. Quality through the box was indistinguishable from a direct connection without the box. No video sparkles or audio clipping were noted. All devices were able to negotiate without problems.
For about $50 this box is an amazingly inexpensive way to add more HDMI ports to your audio/video system.
Other than being a happy customer, I have no connection to MonoPrice.