First Look: Simplism HDMI Switcher 4x2
Featuring HDMI 1.3a/1.3b1 support, Simplism's HDMI Switcher 4x2 (22,800 Yen/$243) is one of the rare accessories still being marketed towards Apple TV users these days, but an extremely handy option for anyone whose HDTV shipped with too few HDMI ports for their current needs. On the back of the HDMI Switcher are four input ports that can be connected to different HDMI output devices, such as the Apple TV and game consoles, as well as two separate HDMI output ports that can be wired to an HDTV and a receiver, respectively, or two HDTVs. Simplism includes a feature called SmartSplit that determines the highest common denominator capabilities of the two connected devices and outputs that type of audio and video to both of them, or enables you to output separate signals to the two devices as appropriate, enabling an HDTV to receive two-channel sound and 1080i audio while a receiver gets Dolby True HD eight-channel sound. The unit is powered by its own power supply and includes a switcher remote control, but you supply all the HDMI cables yourself; firmware upgrades can be performed over USB. U.S. availability was suggested by Simplism, but pricing has not yet been shown on its web site.