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This gadget lets you switch 2 video devices between 2 displays in 1 tap

Ever wish you could switch your gaming console and your PC back and forth between your monitor and your TV with the push of a button? You can with this.
Written by Michael Gariffo, Staff Writer
Monoprice Blackbird 8K HDMI Switch/Splitter

This little box could eliminate your need for additional monitors or TVs.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

If you've ever set up a TV for use with more devices than it has ports, you're probably familiar with an HDMI switch. It's a little box that accepts multiple HDMI inputs and directs them through a single output. With one, you can connect several devices to a single input on your television or monitor. Similarly, an HDMI splitter can take a single input and output that video to two displays, simultaneously. Monoprice's Blackbird 8K HDMI Splitter/Switch, as the name suggests, does both of these things. 

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This means it's possible to create numerous combinations of sources and displays that could save you from buying additional televisions or monitors. For example, if you have a PC that you use for work or competitive PC gaming, but would like to swap its output to the big screen of your TV for movie watching or casual gaming, one tap of the Blackbird's buttons on the device or remote can redirect that video output at up to 4K@120Hz or even 8K@60Hz. 

The front and back of Monoprice's Blackbird 8K HDMI switch/splitter

The rear offers two HDMI 2.1 inputs and outputs, as well as a connector for the included 5V power supply. The front, meanwhile, has an IR receiver, a selection of indicator lights, a switch for cycling through modes, and EDID switches for changing compatibility settings.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

But, what if you also have a gaming console or streaming device you want to swap to as well? And, what if you want to be able to play that console or streaming device's video on both your TV and your monitor? This adapter can make that happen too.

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This isn't the first device to offer this functionality. However, shopping for HMDI adapters online can be like the Wild West; you're never sure the specs on that too-cheap-to-be-true switch are real, if they even bother to list things like which version of HDMI is supported. 

Even then, seemingly compatible devices can have a funny way of not playing well together. Thankfully, the Blackbird's comprehensive, verifiable spec sheet makes it easy to tell if it'll suit your needs. It includes support for:

  • Resolutions up to 8K@60Hz and 4K@120Hz 
  • HDMI 2.1 and HDCP 2.3 compliance
  • 40Gbps video bandwidth
  • Support for HDR, HDR10, HDR10+, Dolby Vision, and Hyper Log Gamma (HLG) passthrough
  • Advanced audio support for Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby Digital EX, DTS High Res, DTS-HD Master Audio, Direct Stream Digital, and many other protocols
  • Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Fast as Possible V-active (FVA), and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) support
  • Advanced EDID (Extended Display Identification Data) management

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Not everyone will need something as complex as Monoprice's Blackbird 8K HDMI Switch/Splitter to perfect their setup. However, for those seeking a way to use that expensive new OLED TV as a monitor too, or gamers wanting to bring their console gaming setups and PC gaming setups together, it can be a lifesaver, a space saver, and a money saver, too. 

The remote and power supply for Monoprice's Blackbird 8K HDMI switch/splitter

The device includes a remote and power supply.

Michael Gariffo/ZDNET

After all, why spend the money on a secondary or tertiary display that's going to take up more room when you can just expand the usefulness of your existing TV or monitor with this simple little device?

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There are cheaper switches and splitters out there, but few offer the flexibility, verified support, and build quality of the Blackbird. If it sounds like it would make a great addition to your desk or TV stand, you can pick it up now from Amazon or from Monoprice itself. If you want a cheaper option that only supports 4K, or if have even more devices than this model can handle, Monoprice maintains a line of other Blackbird HDMI accessories to suit those needs as well. 

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