A Buying Guide for Component Video Switches

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A Buying Guide for Component Video Switches

Lots of people are opting for HD video these days, and many manufacturers are leaning toward devices and other products that support the high-definition video format. HD devices like televisions, tablets, and computers are more popular than ever. This is one of the reasons component video switches came to be. These switches, also called switchers, are a godsend for those who want to connect more than one source of video or audio to an HDTV but do not have enough component input ports.

Component video switches are available at any consumer electronics, or video, shop as well as through the many Internet sites that cater to modern consumer electronics. Retail sites, like eBay, are also good places to consider, as these sites have some of the better selections when it comes to price and variety of products. Component video switches can be expensive, and a buyer must do a little research to be successful. Knowing which features of switches are the most desirable and which types of video switches are available helps a buyer find products that are ideal for his or her needs.

Video Connection Types

There are several ways that a video source can be connected to an HD viewing device. Most TV sets on the market have two or more of these connection ports, and many are also known for having all of them.

Type of Connection

Description

Compatible Video Modes

Component Video

Takes three RCA plugs, commonly coloured green, blue, red

Generally an analogue signal transmitter

NTSC SD 480i

ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i

VGA

Takes DE-15 connector with three rows of 15 pins or five BNC plugs (RGBHV)

Also called the RGB connector, D-sub 15, mini D15, and more

Also commonly seen on computers and laptops

Transmits analogue signals

One of the most common connector types

ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i

Can be connected to PC

DVI

Can be Digital Single or Dual Link

DVI cables transmit pure digital signals

Great pictures at high resolutions

Possible for PC to TV connections

Supports HDCP

ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i

Can be connected to PC

HDMI

Transmits digital signals

Best connection for viewing Blu-ray, and for PC to HDTV connections

ATSC HD 480p/720p/1080i

Can be connected to PC

Though these are straightforward enough, referring to a television manual, or whichever HD device the user has, is always beneficial. There is plenty of data in the device manuals that can be helpful in creating a better experience for HD video viewing.

Types of Video Switches

There are numerous models for component switches, but only several major types. Any of these types can be connected to a television that has HD capability. In fact, many televisions support all of the available types, so what the buyer uses depends on the source of the video he or she uses most often.

Analogue Switches

More often than not, HDTV uses a video source known as component video, a video signal that has been split into more than one component. Analogue switches are named so because they transmit and switch analogue signals.

Many devices that use analogue signals are often older electronic devices, like camcorders and such, that run on NTSC and PAL formatting. With digital audio and video increasing in popularity, analogue video and supporting devices are being used less often.

Digital Switches

These types of switches are increasing in popularity with videophiles and people who use audio-video equipment a lot. Digital video is popular because it is clearer and has better resolution than analogue, most of the time. Examples of the use of digital video are high-definition cable and satellite television. DVD players and gaming consoles are examples of devices that predominantly use digital video, especially the higher-end gaming consoles.

Matrix Switches

Like analogue and digital, these switches serve as hubs for multiple input devices. However, they can also support more than one output device. People who want to display the same video or picture on multiple screens, for example, can use matrix switches to do so.

Matrix switches, today, can also handle remote video transmission, and there are units with Wi-Fi capabilities. Most of these support both analogue and digital, so if an individual is planning to source video from old camcorders and satellite HD television at the same time, these are the switches to choose.

Multi-Format Switches

The multi-format switches can convert analogue video formats, like composite video or S-video, to digital formats, like HDMI and component video. This takes care of the need to purchase both analogue and digital switches.

Features and Options for Video Switches

People with extensive entertainment systems can see a lot of benefit with component switches, as do many who use HD video devices often. Video switches make life easier because they help the user switch between different sources of video instantly and without getting up to disconnect one source and reconnect another. Listed here are features and options that a buyer of a video switch should consider.

RS-232

This interface helps control a switch box better, and most users of switches look for units that contain it. It enables the unit to respond to more complex commands, as it has better programming than units that do not have it. It is a must-have if a buyer wants a box that has good automation.

Remote Control

Remote control capability is minor for those more interested in technicals, as the front panel push buttons in many unit models work well enough. But for the complete enjoyment of those who spend hours watching favourite videos, it is needed.

Auto Switching Features

Many switches allow more than one device to be activated at the same time. A user can programme the switch to immediately play another video source. They can also set parameters where certain conditions trigger the unit to switch between various HD video sources.

Cables

There are RCA cables available specifically for component video. Switch boxes generally come with their own, but if there is a need to purchase separately, look for cables that have an impedance as close to 75 ohms as possible, as they are the best for HDTV connections.

Audio Switch

When watching a film or a television programme, the audio is a big part of comprehension and enjoyment. Instantaneous audio switching and conversion is a big help, especially if a user switches between input devices often. Some people do not need it because they route the audio using other channels. Still, the ability to choose between analogue and digital audio options at will is helpful.

Amplification

There are switches that enable a user to amplify audio and video signals when routing them to the display. This is especially useful if the displays are a good distance apart from the video source. The ability to amplify signals is also of great use to people who often display media on multiple screens at once.

Conclusion

With the popularity of HD video and HD supporting devices, there is a time when an individual's accumulated gadgets cannot all be connected to an HDTV at the same time. Most televisions have only one or two connection ports. This is where component video switches come into play. Switches are more or less a hub to connect multiple HD devices to a single HDTV. It decreases the hassle of having to disconnect a video input source, and then reconnect another.

The video switch is essential for film fanatics who play films all the time and have multiple video sources like DVDs, hard drives, video cameras, and more. Anyone can purchase component switches at various online and offline shops. Many retail sites, such as eBay, also afford the opportunity to purchase second use items at bargain prices, though it is a better idea to purchase electronics as new to ensure that they last a long time.

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