PROS / This HDMI switcher has a built-in equalizer.
CONS / You don't get auto switching with it.
VERDICT / With its built-in equalization and infrared remote, the Monoprice HDX-401E is an excellent option for adding HDMI ports to your TV.
Monoprice is one of the most dependable and affordable HDMI manufacturers on the market. You can count on its products to work consistently and reliably. The Monoprice HDX-401E, a five-port HDMI switch with built-in equalization, is no exception. The equalization is great for home theater setups that need long HDMI cables. The Monoprice HDX-401E is our Top Ten Reviews Silver Award winner because of its top-notch features and specifications.
The Monoprice HDMI switch works like a power strip, except with HDMI cables. After you plug in power for this HDMI switcher, the rest is easy. You just plug up to five HDMI-compatible devices into the switch and then plug the switch into your TV.
You get an infrared remote with this switcher that only has a few simple buttons for moving between ports. This is a necessary tool because the HDX-401E doesn't have auto switching. This is somewhat unusual, as every other HDMI switch on our lineup uses auto switching. This could be a hidden bonus, though. Auto switching is great for some people, but for others, it's an annoying and finicky mess. Removing it entirely ensures it won't be an issue.
Few HDMI switchers have equalization, but the Monoprice HDX-401E does. Equalization provides a larger range and improves signal quality lost through the switcher. This is most beneficial if you use very long HDMI cables in your home theater setup. For shorter distances, it doesn't matter much.
The high-speed HDMI cables can handle essentially any sound format. Dolby Digital and DTS are phasing out, and Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio are becoming more popular. The Monoprice HDX-401E can use all of those sound settings and more. Nearly any sound quality and content you could have without the HDMI switch, you can have with it – with the exception of 4K.
In order to see the most vibrant colors, you need to be aware of what your HDMI switcher and TV can handle. The HDX-401E can pass up to 36-bit color depth, which means billions of different colors. In order to see all of those colors, you'll need to make sure your TV can display them. The advantage to more colors is that you get a richer visual experience.
You wouldn't want to pick this HDMI switcher for a 4K home theater setup, because it just doesn't have enough bandwidth. However, the HDX-401E handles 1080p content well. It can even pass 1080p 3D content.
HDMI cables are the standard for almost all home audiovisual equipment. The sound quality is excellent and the visual display is top-notch. The Monoprice HDMI switcher is compatible with all the latest HDMI cables but does not support Ethernet capabilities or the audio return channel. We didn't find the lack of these two features to be particularly bothersome.
As mentioned above, the HDX-401E comes with an infrared remote to select inputs. The HDMI switch has a built-in infrared sensor that can tell when you're using the remote. Unfortunately, built-in sensors aren't as versatile as external sensors. With an external sensor, you could stow the switch out of sight. Instead, you'll have to leave the switcher by your TV in plain view in order for the remote to work.
Help & Support
Monoprice provides a selection of good customer service features. There are detailed user manuals, sections of FAQs and telephone support lines. You can also contact the company via live chat. The Monoprice HDX-401E has a limited warranty for one year.
Make sure that the retailer you buy the Monoprice HDX-401E from has a generous return policy in case the device doesn't work with your home theater setup. This is a very real possibility – not just with this product but with all HDMI switchers.
The Monoprice HDX-401E is reliable and has plenty of features. This switcher is easy to install and can handle all 1080p 3D content. This HDMI switcher doesn't have auto switching or an external infrared sensor, but it's still one of the best HDMI switchers you can get.