Without industry coordination, the design and manufacture of video and audio equipment can become a Tower of Babel. Least there be any doubt, consider the multitude of competing formats and standards that make up the analog world. But with the perfection of methods to capture, store and distribute digital content, movers and shakers like Sony, Panasonic, Warner Brothers, Universal and Disney decided that such would not be the case in the brave new digital world and HDMI was born.

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HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is a template that defines every aspect of what constitutes a valid digital A/V signal. And the specifications are tight – really tight – meaning the consumer can be assured that any device displaying the official HDMI logo will perform properly and (just as importantly) will work and play well with other members of the tribe.

The consortium anointed Silicon Image as the Keeper of the Flame and, through a group of independent laboratories called ATCs, S.I. ensures that every HDMI product meets or exceeds the design and manufacturing standards encompassed in the specifications.

Devices are categorized as being Sources, Repeaters, Sinks or cables and every device must handle uncompressed digital video and audio signals according to strictly enforced guidelines. To fill in the blanks a bit, a Source is that piece of equipment producing a digital A/V signal – a DVD player for instance. Repeaters are those items that switch or amplify a signal and a Sink is usually a display device such as a projector or perhaps a big screen TV. Each device, even a cable, has its own set of specifications and a defined testing regime. And each testing regime has categories and sub-categories where there is no such thing as getting a passing grade of 70%. Every single part of the specification must be met 100% and only then will the device be acceptable for sale to an end user.

Small and mid sized companies must pay an annual licensing fee and submit their products for testing just like the big boys. TV One (www.tvone.com) located in Erlanger Kentucky, is a mid sized company that sells HDMI devices. It has to meet the very same standards that multi-media giants like Sony must meet. TV One’s line amplifiers, switchers and cables, perform as well as products produced by the multi-billion dollar consumer companies. Their products have to perform as well or they can’t market the devices as certified and compliant.

And that’s a good thing because it means everyone is equal when they stand before the ATC police; a consumer can buy with confidence any product that displays the official HDMI logo.

TVOne-Task adds three new switchers to its HDMI line. The 1T-HDMI-821 has two inputs, the 1T-HDMI-841 has four inputs and the 1T-HDMI-881 has eight inputs. All three are certified compliant by the HDMI Authorized Test Center and are HDCP and RoHS Compliant.

The switchers can be controlled via the front panel push buttons, IR or RS-232 interface. An IR Remote Control unit is included. An Optional IR Extender is available which allows the IR Receiver to be up to 50 feet from the unit.

HDTV resolutions of 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p are supported as well as standard definition 480i. They will operate as desk top units. Alternatively, the 1T-HDMI-821 and 1T-HDMI-841 can be mounted in a remote location using optional special mounting hardware and the 1T-HDMI-881 may be mounted in a standard 19″ rack using rack mounting hardware that come with the product.

The suggested retail prices for the units are $199 for the 1T-HDMI-821, $249 for the 1T-HDMI-841 and $599 for the 1T-HDMI-881.