… and that one is probably John “troutman” Troutman. On to the question!
For years I’ve connected the multiple sources to my low-rez, old-school 27″ tube TV with a very neat switch-box. It has buttons on the front that let the kids quickly switch between DVD, VCR, Gamecube (now Wii), and XBox inputs. We don’t have cable, but if we did we could switch that in and out as well.
It takes composite video and the usual red+white RCA audio cables as inputs, and sends whatever is switched on through the same — a yellow composite video cable, and RCA audio jacks. We feed that straight to the TV, and then take the TV audio out to the surround-sound tuner, which is always switched to “TV” and which, in this configuration, is conveniently silent the moment the TV is switched off.
This same configuration works fine with the Plasma TV I just picked up, and since I don’t have any HDTV sources (no Blu-Ray, no Xbox 360, no PS3) I’m not losing very much yet.
BUT… at some point in the future (maybe my birthday) I want to throw an HDTV source into the mix. Maybe it’ll be a Blu-Ray player, maybe it’ll be an Xbox 360 (no, I won’t bother with HD-DVD, or whatever the “dead” format is) but whatever I pick it will almost certainly have HDMI, DVI, and/or component video outputs.
I’m going to need a new solution for switching. Ideally I’ll find out that some clever boffin has created a version of my current switch-box that offers component, composite, HDMI, DVI, etc inputs for each source, and then passes those along with no degradation to the display. Sadly, I’m afraid I may be stuck buying a tuner that forces my kids to navigate one of those hellish remotes in order to switch between games and movies.
I suspect that within a year we’ll have a Blu-Ray player for digital movies (blu-ray, DVD, and Netflix), an Xbox 360, our existing Wii (is composite the only option here?) and our existing VCR (the old Xbox and DVD player will be redundant). That means I can probably get by with two composite inputs and two HDMI inputs for the next three to five years.
So… what’s the best solution? I want simplicity, and I want great signal. Oh, and low price, too.