A/V Switchers: An Easier Way to Enjoy Your Entertainment
These days, in many living rooms you'll find entertainment sources like Blu-ray players and set-top boxes and a gaming console (or three). The good news is that most modern TVs come with multiple HDMI ports for connecting these sources. The bad news is, in many cases, there simply aren't enough ports to connect everything at once. So, when you want to watch a Blu-ray movie, you might have to squeeze yourself around the edge of the TV, fumble with the plugs, and yank out the cord for the set-top box so you can plug in the Blu-ray player. Fun!
Or you could explore a much easier solution: an A/V switcher. This convenient device allows you to plug in multiple audio or video (the "A/V" part of the name) into one HDMI port. By hitting a button on the A/V switcher – or, for some models, on the included remote control – you'll be able to easily switch between the sources plugged into the switcher. This makes an A/V switcher the ideal solution when you your entertainment sources outnumber the HDMI ports on your TV.
Types of Ports
Since HDMI is the most common type of connection between a TV and an entertainment source, it makes sense that most A/V switchers are equipped with HDMI ports. However, if you've got devices that use other types of connectors, like DVI, S-video, Mini DisplayPort, RCA, or VGA, you can find A/V switchers that include those ports as well. In these cases the A/V switcher doesn't just provide extra ports, it also acts like a converter between different connection types.
Audio and Video
A/V switchers can be used to connect and convert audio-only sources, so with the right A/V switcher you can connect an older turntable record player or analog stereo system to a state-of-the-art digital receiver. This will allow you to breathe new life into your older devices, not to mention give you an excuse to keep your precious collection of classic rock vinyl records.