Here's the problem: You have a lot of different devices that you need to connect to your TV — from your cable box to your streaming device (like an Apple TV), your numerous gaming consoles (such as an Xbox and Nintendo Switch) to your Blu-ray or DVD player, as well as your soundbar — but your TV doesn't have enough HDMI ports for each. What do you do?
One option is to buy an AV receiver, but that's an expensive choice you shouldn't make unless you were already considering building out a home theater system. The easier and more affordable option is just to buy some extra ports in the form of an HDMI switch.
An HDMI switch is essentially a hub that connects to one of your TV's HDMI ports, and allows you to use that single HDMI port for multiple channels. For example, you can connect two, three or four of your gaming consoles to an HDMI switch so that they all only take up one port. From there, the switch will let you decide which device is routed through to the TV so you can swap between gadgets without pulling out any wires.
Just make sure you get a switch and not a splitter. A switch lets you connect multiple gadgets to one port, but a splitter just lets you connect the same device to multiple screens.
This is an excellent HDMI switch that adds three additional ports. It supports auto-switching, meaning it will automatically default to the last active port. It supports 4K at 30Hz or 1080p at 60Hz, which will be good enough for most people — but not for people with the latest-generation consoles.
Techole HDMI Switcher 3 in 1 Out
If you're looking for some extra ports on a budget, here's a great option. With only three additional ports, no remote, and the need for external power, this option doesn't come with any bells and whistles. But if you're prepared to go press a physical button if you need to swap input, this is one of the most cost-effective options to make your number of ports multiply.
UGreen HDMI Switch
This switch also adds three additional ports. In addition, it supports auto-switching, meaning it will automatically default to the last active port. It supports 4K at 30Hz or 1080p at 60Hz, which will be good enough for most people, but if you've got a latest-gen console you'll probably want to plug directly into the TV. And yes, it has a remote.
EZCOOTECH Matrix HDMI Switch
If you have a really nice 4K TV and a lot of gadgets that support all the best video and technologies, this is the HDMI switcher you want to get. It supports 4K and HDR (including Dolby Vision and HDR10), as well as immersive sound technologies, including Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. If you have one of the latest-generation consoles, this supports 4K gaming at 60Hz, too. Finally, it has two HDMI outputs, which allows you to connect to another display, such as another TV or a projector.