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A soundbar with one or several HDMI inputs replaces an A/V receiver with six or more HDMI inputs, which could have simplified our home entertainment system, but many of us find that we have too many video sources- Set-top boxes, streaming media, game consoles, Blu-ray players, etc., and there is not enough HDMI input to handle all content. solution? HDMI switcher and audio extractor. We recently discovered a device sold under two brands: J-Tech Digital and Monoprice.
Obviously, neither J-Tech nor Monoprice
These devices, but buy them from other manufacturers because they are the same except for the label. We conducted a comprehensive test on J-Tech Digital JTECH-SWE41 and Monoprice Blackbird 4K 4x1 HDMI switch (P/N 39666) and found that they all have the stable performance of 4 HDMI inputs and 1 HDMI output. We list J-Tech as the title because at the time of writing, it sells for $25 less than Monoprice’s device.
. Since they are essentially the same device, they will be mentioned in the singular in this article.
When comparing the metal-clad Monoprice Blackbird 4K and J-Tech Digital switch boxes, their common lineage is obvious.
With complex processing skills and ARC (audio return channel) support, this switch box can help you consolidate gears, cable lines and connections. Although ultra-thin, measuring 7.1 x 3.3 x 0.5 inches (WxDxH), the power switch has a front panel display that provides precise control buttons and a less bright green LED indicator. The HDMI input on the back allows you to connect up to four 4K or 2K video source devices.
Then, the signal source selected using the front button will be output to the single HDMI-ARC output of the switcher, and output to one of the HDMI inputs of the TV, sound bar or A/V receiver, while the image or sound quality used will not be obvious decline.
This powerful mite provides the current top specifications, can process and push clear and sharp signals up to 4K resolution at a 60Hz refresh rate (so, it may not be the best choice).
, It supports up to 120Hz refresh rate. It also does not support FreeSync or G-Sync. Otherwise, the switch will comply with the HDMI 2.0a standard and HDCP 2.2 digital copy protection standard, which are necessary to enhance 4K images through high dynamic range processing such as HDR10 and Dolby Vision. When I plug in the power, these effects are very impressive. Amazed
The media stream is transmitted to switch input 4. I realized one of the most realistic aquariums on my 4K LG OLED, which is a screen saver. Only when the Dolby Vision logo floats quickly in the corner, can it release its true nature.
The front label of Blackbird's LED and hard button functions make it more useful when operating the device from the front. (J-Tech applied its label on the top.)
In terms of audio, high-quality audio tracks encoded with 2.1-channel, 5.1-channel and 7.1-channel PCM, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Atmos and DTS-HD Master Audio are delivered to the HDMI output of the switch box unimpeded like J. hole. The digital technology engineer responsible for quality control testified at the brand's headquarters in Sugarland, Texas.
But wait, there is more. The addition of an audio signal extractor makes this difficult box even more useful-it is also essential for TV viewers who pair it with a high-quality (but short input) display and soundbar.
This is how it is combined. Connect the four most important devices to the switch: set-top box, media streamer, game console (or laptop) and Blu-ray player. Next, connect the HDMI output of the switch to the HDMI input of the TV (the one labeled HDMI ARC) (if available). Alternatively, you can plug the cable into the HDMI port on the soundbar or A/V receiver, which will amplify the audio content and send it to the speakers, and pass the video signal to the TV.
Similarly, the location of the input tag makes it easier for you to use Monoprice's HDMI switcher version when facing the device, and J-Tech's approach is better if you watch from above.
If your soundbar or receiver does not support HDMI, you can take advantage of the high-quality audio extraction circuit of this switcher. Insert a 3.5 mm terminated analog audio cable or optical digital (Toslink) cable into the dual-function audio output of the box, and then connect the other end of the cable to the corresponding input on the sound bar or receiver.
Yes, you will degrade in stereo or surround sound processing because the analog connection is only stereo and Toslink cannot provide the bandwidth required by Dolby TrueHD and other lossless home theater codecs. However, when I used the Toslink connection with Sonos Playbar and Bose Soundbar 500 (both paired with their respective wireless subwoofers), the sound produced proved to be very powerful, delicate and reasonably synchronized.
For me, the function of completing the transaction on this particular switch box is its smarter infrared remote control setting, which eliminates the annoyance of users and increases flexibility when integrating it into an entertainment center.
The remote control is specially made and easy to use even in the dark.
Any value-for-money HDMI switcher will enhance its front panel operation buttons through a wireless remote control, and install an IR signal receiver on its front. I have tried seven or eight other switchers, but their wireless control is often unreliable. You must sit directly in front of the distribution box, and the distribution box itself cannot be blocked by doors or any other equipment. Most of their remote controllers have weak signal transmitters, and their infrared receivers usually have a narrow field of view-no more than 30 degrees off the axis, and they are expected to work properly.
I have no such complaints about this box. Instead of placing the IR signal receiver on the front panel, it is better to tie it to a 5-foot cable that plugs into the back. You can place the box wherever you want, and use a little double-sided tape (included) to install the receiver in any exposed location that the cable can reach. If the included cable is not long enough, you can plug it into the extension. I found a
The price is about $9. It may add a one-millisecond delay to the input switching process of 3 to 5 seconds. The cable lengths provided by the manufacturer are 6 feet, 25 feet, 50 feet or even 75 feet, but I did not test them.
Both J-Tech Digital and Monoprice bundle the same simple but easy-to-use remote control with the box. The HDMI input button is located at the four corners of the square, and the selection button is located at the center. This makes the remote control easy to use even in the dark. Press the red ARC button at the top right of the remote control, and the audio content from the smart TV's tuner, onboard media streamer or any other HDMI source will be sent down from the HDMI cable plugged into its HDMI ARC port back to the switch box. From there the sound reaches your soundbar or A/V receiver. It's almost like there is a fifth HDMI input on the switch.
The infrared signal receiver can be placed up to 5 feet away from the distribution box, or even further when the extension cable is inserted.
Setting tips: If you have never used the ARC function of the TV, you may leave the factory in a disabled state. Go to the audio settings of the TV and activate it. When you are there, try to activate its CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) function, which can
Then let you use a remote control to control all devices connected to and passing through the switch box.
According to Monoprice technical support, if you want to get more control, please use the RS-232 port of this switch box for custom integrated operation and compatibility with the programmable Harmony remote control "available now or coming soon".
But I don't have much confidence in the automatic input shifting of this device (most HDMI switches tout a feature) because I find it unreliable. In theory, whenever you turn on the power of another connected device, the switch box will sense and automatically change the HDMI source. Gamers say that when they shift their attention from one connected console (or computer) to another console (or computer), it works well, but when I turn on the DirecTV satellite TV receiver or Blu-ray player, It cannot wake up and respond, possibly because the switcher also received conflicting messages from the connected streaming media box. Even in standby mode, the latter always
, Download the content and publish a screen saver image.
To be honest, the HDMI switch box moved south in a few months or years, partially or completely failed, so it has a good reputation. The cottage industry of the Chinese supplier has solved these problems with good intentions, but has insufficient experience. Evolving standards and manufacturers will take different approaches when implementing them, making their job more difficult. I put it there because I cannot guarantee how long the current selection of the best HDMI switch box will last, nor can it guarantee that it will work with all the video products you may want to connect.
Having said that, I have successfully combined J-Tech and Monoprice devices with older Panasonic and Pioneer plasma TVs, the old but most popular Philips LCD TV with Ambilight function (look it up), and the very good 4K Epson Home Cinema 4000 is paired. Video projector. I also tried various streaming media boxes (Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku), disc players, DirecTV and two video game systems (PlayStation 4 and Nintendo Switch, the latter is present on other switches I have used Problems tried). Finally, I tried to test them with Yamaha, Sony and Bose audio systems that support 4K.
Your settings and experience may still vary. Marathon gamers may heat these things to the edge and should connect their systems directly to the monitor. Also, don’t forget to use a certified premium high-speed HDMI cable
, Because the functions and stability of these switches only depend on their weakest links. If you encounter purple images again and again, you can solve the HDMI secure handshake that caused this problem by simply moving the input again.
On the bright side, I have a different
For a year and a half, its operation is impeccable, so I have full confidence in the brand. For its part, Monoprice usually chooses its suppliers wisely and has a good reputation for quality control. Both brands have operations in the United States, including technical support, and both companies provide at least one year's warranty for these devices-if you register for purchase immediately, it will be 18 months from J-Tech's warranty.
You can call it J-Tech Digital or Monoprice Blackbird... Regardless of the name used, this is an excellent four-input/single-output HDMI switcher for entertainment centers.
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