Accell Corporation has recently introduced their new UltraAV 5x1 HDMI Switch (MSRP $89.99) designed to accept five HDMI sources and switch any one of them to a flat panel or projector. The 5x1 HDMI Switch has a built-in auto-switching capability, which detects the active HDMI input and automatically switches to it. Full manual control is also possible with buttons for each of the inputs. The switch supports 36-bit color depth and all video resolutions, including 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i/p (normal and 3D), and 1920x1200 (computer) with data rates as high as 6.75 Gbps. A built-in signal booster provides improved signal integrity allowing longer cable runs (Up to 49 feet). Of course, your cable performance may vary depending on the quality of the HDMI cable being used. The unit measures 6.7" x 3.8" x 1.45" (WxLxH) and weighs a modest 10.6 ounces.
The UltraAV 5x1 HDMI Switch comes with a small IR remote to control the operating mode and input selection. The buttons on the remote have the same functions as those offered on the front of the unit. Personally, I am not a big fan of these small remotes, so it is good to know that universal remotes with "learning capability" can be used to control the HDMI switcher. The remote runs from a common CR2025 3V lithium battery.
The Accell UltraAV 5x1 HDMI Switch is designed around a pair of Silicon Image SiI9185 3:1 HDMI® Switches cascaded together to provide a 5:1 switch design. Silicon Image is one of seven companies that founded the HDMI standard and their HDMI chips are widely used in the industry. The HDMI switch supports Consumer Electronics Control (CEC), which allows a single remote to control several devices over HDMI. CEC also allows components to communicate with one another over HDMI.
The front of the Accell 5x1 HDMI Switch has a main Power button along with Auto and Manual buttons for the HDMI input control. The IR sensor for the remote is also on the front panel. When the box is set to manual mode, the user can select any of the five HDMI inputs using the dedicated buttons. All of the buttons have a nice tactile feel. Indicator lights provide feedback to the user as to which mode and input is selected. It would have been a nice feature to be able to turn the indicator lights off as they can be distracting in a dark home theater environment. If the unit does not detect a video signal within 5 minutes, it will go into the standby mode.
There are a total of six HDMI connectors on the back of the HDMI switch. Five inputs and a one output. The universal power adapter provides 6V at 2 amps to the unit. Even though the HDMI connectors are fairly tightly spaced, we had no problem plugging in our cables for evaluation. We connected our OPPO BDP-83SE, Nixeus media player, DISH ViP 922 DVR, Home Theater PC, and a Roku Netflix media player.
The Accell 5x1 HDMI Switch delivered as advertised with excellent video performance across all our source material. The unit automatically selected the active HDMI input based on priority and provided manual selection as well. Unlike some cheaper switching units that use lower quality HDMI devices, the Accell 5x1 HDMI Switch includes high performance Silicon Image components for unparalleled results. Video was rock solid and free of picture artifacts associated with poor video processing and marginal signal integrity issues. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince looked spectacular when played on our OPPO BDP-83SE and we would never know that an HDMI switcher was in the signal chain.
Accell has produced another excellent product that consumers can rely on for their home entertainment system. If you find yourself running short of video inputs on your display, the Accell 5x1 HDMI Switch can help by providing access to more components without any performance degradation. Based on our tests we can highly recommend it.