Aug 16, 2009

What is a HDMI Matrix Switcher?

Recently I have bought a HD projector to add to my living room setup. I am a fan of buying good quality hardware and I purchased the Mitsubishi HC5500 which has been working very well. I like to pay less for cables and switches so I don't buy name brands and have really loved accessories from Monoprice for that reason. I was looking for a solution on how to have the projector and TV connected to all of my HD sources. I first started out with a HDMI 5X1 switch from Monoprice which worked very well for connecting my 4 sources but I still had to get up and switch HDMI cables between the TV and the projector. I then bought a HDMI splitter which went from 1X2. This worked to connect to my switch effectively making it 5X2 which was what I wanted.

Then some logistics of this particular setup came up and was not exactly what I wanted. The projector I have is 1080p and the tv I have is 720p. When the splitter negotiates the HDCP handshake and gets the resolution info back from both of the displays it picks the least common denominator of the resolutions (as far as I can tell) and sends that back as the resolution that the display can support. So I would have to watch things in 720p when both were connected. Of course you can set the source to be whatever resolution you want and one display would work then the other would not.

So then I was browsing Monoprice yet again and realized I could have bought what is called a matrix switcher which is a 4X2 HDMI device. The beauty of this device is that you can choose what source goes to which display or effectively split to both displays. It can even support one source going to a single display while a different source goes to your second display simultaneously. I didn't know such a device existed so I thought I would pass this on as a lesson I learned. I still like the other stuff I bought for use other places but could have forgone the purchases.

This solved my resolution problem because I can choose a single display to send the source to so it does not reduce the resolution based on the other display. This would still be a problem if I used it as a splitter but since the projector and tv are in the same room I don't really have a problem. This has an IR port for control so I just integrated this matrix switcher into my Logitech universal remote activities.