Switchers

Comects Neptune 4 x 2 HDMI Matrix Switcher

Comects is a Hong Kong-based company that makes A/V accessories, including switchers. We have reviewed a few of their products, and at this point, I had stopped reviewing HDMI switchers because most receivers and processors have HDMI input switching built-in. However, the Comects Neptune 4x2 HDMI switcher is unique, in that it has four inputs and two outputs, and you can route any of the four inputs to either of the two outputs, simultaneously (meaning that it is called a "matrix" switcher). So, for example, if you have a satellite box, Blu-ray player, and media server in your home theater, and you also have an HDTV in an adjacent room, you can route the Blu-ray player to the receiver (which forwards the video to your HDTV or projector) in your home theater, while the satellite box or media server is routed to the HDTV in the adjacent room.

The unit is priced at $305 USD, with a $30 shipping and handling charge (shipped to USA). This may sound expensive for an HDMI switcher, but matrix switchers involve much more complicated engineering than a single switcher that simply connects a choice of several sources to a single output. I remember looking at a DVI matrix switcher some years ago, before HDMI, and it was several thousand dollars. Looking on several current websites that sell switchers, a 4x4 HDMI matrix switcher was listed at more than $2,000. I did find one 4x2 HDMI switcher for $295, on sale for $99, but can't vouch for its quality without having it here to test.

The Neptune includes a 5 volt wall wart and a remote control to select which source you want to be connected to which output. It passes deep color (36 bit) and 3D.

The front panel has two buttons to select two inputs out of the four, and which of the two outputs you wish those inputs to be routed to. The HDMI output jacks are located on either end of the unit, and the four HDMI input jacks are on the rear panel. In the photo above, Input 1 has been routed to Output A, and Input 2 has been routed to Output B.

In use, the Neptune performed as advertised. It has a signal repeater, so it supplies enough voltage for long HDMI cables (the cable going to the HDTV in the adjacent room). It is a clever accessory that I think would be useful when you have one Blu-ray player and satellite box, but two HDTV displays in separate rooms.

Comects