Holiday Buyer's Guide 2007, Part 2

DigiView HM-501 HDMI Switch

By Don Woligroski

The HDMI connection holds the promise of a future where we no longer muck about with a seemingly infinite number of separate audio and video cables to interconnect playback components to receivers, receivers to TV sets (and other output devices), or skip the receiver and go straight from the playback devices to the TV. Finally, high definition video and audio travel across one convenient cable, and we can all breathe easy knowing that a rat's nest of cables is a thing of the past... right?

From the front (above) the HM-501 offers indicator lights to show which input port is active; on the rear, 5 numbered HDMI input ports share access to a single HDMI output port.

Not quite. Reality is rarely so uncomplicated, and even through the HDMI interface makes things simpler, what about folks who already own multiple HDMI devices? How can they attach a PVR, a game console, one or two HD-DVD players, and whatever else they've got lying around to their A/V receivers and/or HDTVs?

In the days of separate video and audio cables we used a switchbox to take care of this kind of dilemma, and when it comes to HDMI the answer is no different. PTC's DigiView Premium 5-port HDMI switch lets people plug up to 5 HDMI devices into a single receiver or display. In addition, the unit comes with an internal equalizer as well as an IR remote control, so you can choose what you want to watch. The switch supports TV resolutions up to 1080p, and is, of course, HDCP compliant.

Thanks to the HM-501, all of those nifty HD devices people get for the holidays can make their hookups without having to mess with cables all the time. This means that high definition video enthusiasts needn't be left in the cold this Christmas

Ed Tittel

Ed Tittel is a long-time IT writer, researcher and consultant, and occasional contributor to Tom’s Hardware. A Windows Insider MVP since 2018, he likes to cover OS-related driver, troubleshooting, and security topics.