Review: Aluratek 4-Port HDMI Video Switcher

August 13, 2007

Aluratek 4-Port HDMI Switcher

They say the first step to recovery is to admit you have a problem. Well I have too many HDMI devices in my system but I’m not sure an intervention or 12 step program is going to help here, I just need a few more HDMI inputs, really I can stop anytime I want to… Seriously though the recent re-addition of a home theater PC and a stand-alone streaming media player have left me high and dry on HDMI inputs. I’ve tinkered around with a few DVI switchers in the past but it was time to cut that cord per say and move onto to an all HDMI switcher. I’ve been auditioning quite a few HDMI switchers lately and wanted to share my impressions with you on some of the top performers.

The Aluratek AVW04H new window 4-port HDMI switcher supports HDTV resolutions of 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p; VGA, SVGA, SXGA (1280×1024); and UXGA (1600×1200, 1920×1200). The switcher is HDCP compliant and includes an IR remote with individual input selection. The switch itself is housed in a sturdy metal case and feels quite solid, it was nice to finally see a switcher in this price range ($99.99 although I found it for less on-line) that wasn’t housed in a cheap oversized plastic housing. The AVW04H is about the size of large remote control which leaves plenty of room on the same shelf for another piece of gear.

Another area I was quite pleased with was the fact that changing the inputs on the AVW04H doesn’t seem to stop, lock or fault HDCP protected signals through the switch and it only took a few seconds for the individual signals to provide sync through the switch; back to the display. At one point during my testing I had a Toshiba HD-A2 HD DVD player on one input and a Pioneer Elite BDP-94HD Blu-ray player on another; I could toggle back and forth between the two inputs and never locked or faulted either one of the players.

The supplied remote is certainly a strong point as well. It includes four discrete codes, er buttons triggering those codes, a pair of left/right “channel” buttons to pan though the four inputs and something else that I was initially a bit surprised to see on a four-way switcher, the inclusion of a “jump” button that toggles between the last two active inputs, It was actually quite handy for monitoring recordings and side by side comparisons.

Speaking of the remote and discrete codes, this was one area in particular I was quite concerned with going into the review. Without naming names I’d previously used another companies DVI switcher with discrete input commands on it’s supplied remote, unfortunately those codes were unreliable at best or downright non-functional once learned into my universal remote. I’m happy to report I had no such experience with the Aluratek AVW04H 4-port HDMI video switch; my ‘Home Theater Master’ remote had no trouble at all controlling the AVW04H via those learned commands.

Summary: Let’s face it, if you’re lucky enough to own a new HDMI receiver with a gaggle of inputs and only have a few HDMI devices the Aluratek AVW04H isn’t a necessity. However, if you’re quickly running out of HDMI inputs on your current receiver or you want to pair a switcher to an older non-HDMI equipped receiver (a few quick macros from a universal remote can make the process seamless), then the Aluratek AVW04H 4-Port HDMI video switcher is certainly worth a look. Now if you’ll excuse me, it’s time to get back to the movies.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under HDTV Equipment, Reviews


Comments

  • Corey

    I have a problem with sound transmission with my HD cable box; has anyone else had this problem or know anything about it.

  • Corey

    I have a problem with sound transmission with my HD cable box; has anyone else had this problem or know anything about it.

  • B.Greenway

    I’m assuming the Onkyo doesn’t have enough inputs? Shouldn’t be a problem either way however, although HDMI can and often does throw us curve balls.

  • B.Greenway

    I’m assuming the Onkyo doesn’t have enough inputs? Shouldn’t be a problem either way however, although HDMI can and often does throw us curve balls.

  • netarc

    Hiya … wondering if you’ve also used the Radiient switcher? We’ve had pretty good luck with that on a recent project, and the discretes work quite well; however, I do like the Aluratek’s “jump” button, that could be very handy for A/B comparisons (e.g., video processor vs. no processor)

  • netarc

    Hiya … wondering if you’ve also used the Radiient switcher? We’ve had pretty good luck with that on a recent project, and the discretes work quite well; however, I do like the Aluratek’s “jump” button, that could be very handy for A/B comparisons (e.g., video processor vs. no processor)

  • Scott Baker

    Would there be any issues connecting a 360 or PS3 to this switch box, then into one of the new Onkyo receivers, then into a TV? Would there be any lag when playing video games? What about audio syncing issues?

  • Scott Baker

    Would there be any issues connecting a 360 or PS3 to this switch box, then into one of the new Onkyo receivers, then into a TV? Would there be any lag when playing video games? What about audio syncing issues?