AV Tool AVT-5941 Four Port HDMI Switcher Review - AV Tool AVT-5941 Review

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Testament that this switcher box is pretty much transparent to the signals passing through it is the fact that Panasonic’s Viera Link system works. I hooked Panasonic’s Blu-ray player up to the Viera TH-37PX70 37in plasma TV with the AVT-5941 in between. Making sure that the switcher box was powered on and set to the correct input, I powered on the Blu-ray player – instantly the TV powered on, selected the correct HDMI input and I was ready to watch a movie. Likewise, if I switched off the TV, the Blu-ray player automatically powered down at the same time.


Performance wise, the images produced when source devices are connected to a TV through the AV Tool switcher are identical to when they are connected directly, which is pretty much what you’d expect from a digital signal anyway. The AVT-5941 was happy to pass any resolution signal, including 1080p from both Blu-ray and HD DVD players.


Quite simply, this is the type of product that you either need or don’t need, but in my opinion many consumers are going to find that they do need an HDMI switcher.


Let’s look at my living room for example. I know that I’m not particularly indicative of the average consumer, but just humour me. I have a Panasonic TH-37PX600 plasma TV with two HDMI inputs, but I have three HDMI source devices that need connecting – there’s my Sky HD box, my PlayStation 3 and my HD DVD player. Pretty soon I’ll be looking to connect up Netgear’s HDMI equipped HD EVA8000 media adapter, and hopefully Microsoft will get me a review sample of the Xbox 360 Elite in the not too distant future. This will mean that I’ll have a total of five source devices vying for my two HDMI ports, so my only real option (other than not having so much kit in my living room) is to use a four port switcher like this one.


Considering that the vast majority of TVs sold still come equipped with only two HDMI ports, I’m sure that I’m not the only one who will be running out of connection options. Even an average consumer could well find themselves with a Sky HD box and a PlayStation 3, then if they want to use any other digital video device, they’ll have to go through the hassle of unplugging and plugging in cables. Even the latest generation of high definition camcorders have HDMI output, so you’ll want to keep a port free for playing back your home movies before you edit them and burn them to disc.


With a price tag of £119.99 including VAT, the AVT-5941 is a far more affordable option than the TV One device I reviewed before. And even though you may think that it’s a lot to pay for a switcher box, it’s still a hell of a lot cheaper than buying a new TV with more HDMI ports.


”’Verdict”’


The AV Tool AVT-5941 is an excellent solution for anyone who needs more HDMI inputs on their TV. The unit is very well made and performs superbly, even passing through CEC signals without issue. With the amount of HDMI equipped source devices increasing all the time, more consumers are going to find themselves short of inputs, and if you fall into that category the AVT-5941 will be the perfect solution.

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