Pros / You get a three-year warranty with this HDMI switcher.
Cons / There aren't very many resources available for you to contact the company or find help.
Verdict / The Orei HD-501 gives your TV five more HDMI ports to work with and, though it can't handle 4K content, is great for resolutions of 1080p or lower.
The Orei HD-501 is a decent HDMI switcher that can handle 1080p content. It has front-facing LEDs to tell you which inputs are active, can automatically switch between those inputs, and comes with a remote. It's not the very best HDMI switcher in the world, but it gives you five more HDMI ports to ease the port congestion on your TV, which helps it come close to the top of our lineup.
There's a lot of talk about 4K TVs, and there's no doubt that 4K resolutions will become the standard in the future. That said, it's still a long way off. The Orei HD-501 can't handle 4K video signals, so it isn't a good option if you want to future-proof your setup. However, the HD-501 is great for 1080p content. It even supports 3D video at 1080p.
With five additional HDMI ports, the HD-501 is a great hub for all of your HDMI devices. You can think of it as a power strip for HDMI cables. You just plug them into the switcher and then connect the switcher to your TV. From there, the HD-501 can automatically change to whatever input is active. This is based on which media sources you turn on and off. Some devices, like Apple TV, never completely turn off and can confuse the HD-501's automatic switching, though.
That's where the included remote comes into play. Should you have problems with automatic switching, then the remote gives you manual control over what inputs you want to view. Unfortunately, the HD-501 doesn't have an external infrared (IR) sensor. This means that you have to leave the HD-501 out in plain view so that the remote can effectively communicate with it. With an external IR sensor, you could hide the HDMI switcher and its connected cables.
You get a three-year warranty with the HD-501, which is fantastic compared to the one-year warranties you'll find on most other HDMI switchers. This is Orei's only victory in the customer service area, though. If you want to make use of that long warranty, your only line of communication with Orei is email. You don't get live chat or even a phone number to call.
The Orei HD-501 is a good HDMI switcher. There's not much that stands out about this device, but it should work well for most people. It doesn't have an external IR sensor, which means you need to leave it in plain sight. However, giving your TV five more HDMI ports is generally worth losing a couple aesthetic points.