Under the Radar

How to Fix a Flatscreen TV Mistake


Here's the uncomfortable thing about all those amazing holiday TV deals: there are really two classes of high-def televisions. The models with all the bells and whistles aren't the ones on sale. It's the stripped-down TVs that get splashed all over the ad circulars and the TV commercials and those are the amazing prices that convince you to blow your budget and just go for the deal.

Those TVs are actually a really good buy. You don't really need those higher screen refresh rates and the software for those built-in smart TV apps doesn't really compare to what you get with a Roku or Apple TV. With the money you saved on the TV, you can easily afford to add one of those to your setup.

Of course, that takes us to the one real issue with a bargain TV: you only get two HDMI ports. Once you add a connection to your cable or satellite box and a Blu-ray player, you don't have a connection slot if you want to add a PlayStation, Xbox or a Roku/Apple TV.

Before you convince yourself that you really need a new TV, consider getting an HDMI switch to give yourself a way to connect a few more devices. Don't get one of the mechanical ones: it'll inevitably be hard to access once you squeeze it into your entertainment gear array.


What you want is a wireless HDMI switch. I've been using the Accell UltraAV 3x1 HDMI 1.3 Audio/Video Switch and it solves the issue. You can use up to three HDMI devices with one of you're TV's HDMI connections which would give you up to four devices total on most TVs. That should cover you and give you as many HDMI inputs as you'd get on a top-of-the-line TV. (There's a 5x1 model if you're the kind of person who can afford to own an Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and Wii U at the same time).

Yeah, you end up with another tiny remote that you've got to keep track of. But the first time you don't have to get out of bed or off the sofa to go across the room to switch HDMI inputs, you'll feel like you just won the lottery.

The Accell lists for $69.99 on their site but there are a lot of substantial discounts online if you search for "accell ultra hdmi switch 3x1." If you're frustrated and think you made a mistake when you bought that discount tv, add one of these and congratulate yourself on your wise consumer choice.

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