ATEN VS481A 4-port HDMI Switch Review


HDMI with home automation

We have reviewed ATEN products before, as they make great KVM switches. The last one we reviewed was geared towards the PC gamer and included DMI and audio switching.

Anyone who has been around home theater for the past twenty years has seen the industry change the video cables from RF cables, RCA, S-Video, component to DVI. On the audio side of things, things pretty much stayed the same until digital audio, where S/PDIF and optical cables came into fruition. Now HDMI merges the two latest audio and video technologies into one digital cable.

The problem with HDMI is that it is relatively new. Home Theater components usually lag behind the new industry standard, because the technology could lose support. As a result, some flat-panel TVs only have a few HDMI inputs, but your gaming consoles, receivers and DVRs have many. You can simplify or eliminate the unsightly rat’s nest of cables in your home theater rig by just using the elegant HDMI solution. Some of the newest home theater receivers now support multiple HDMI switching, but not everyone has a need for a full-blown amplifier.

ATEN’s new product, the VS481A 4-port HDMI switch, appears to be geared towards the console gamer or home theater enthusiast.

The VS481A 4 Port HDMI Switch allows you to quickly and easily share your HDMI display device with 4 HDMI input sources. The VS481A allows convenient switching between digital devices such as DVD players, Satelite receivers, Digital Camcorder. The VS481A allows you to select the desired input source via a remote control unit and pushbuttons located on the switch.

  • Toggle between A/V sources using remote control or front panel pushbuttons
  • Supports high-resolution video – HDTV resolutions of 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p (1920×1080); VGA, SVGA, SXGA, UXGA (1600×1200) and WUXGA(1920×1200)
  • Supports 12-bit Deep Color for HDMI formats
  • Supports Dolby True HD and DTS HD Master Audio
  • Up to 60 Hz refresh rate
  • Long distance transmission – up to 20m (24 AWG) and 15m (28 AWG)
  • Built-in bi-directional RS-232 serial remote port for high-end system control
  • Plug-and-play – no software installation required
  • DDC Compatible
  • HDMI 1.3b compliant
  • HDCP 1.1 compliant
  • Supports HDMI Type A 19-pin female connector
  • Signaling rates up to 2.25 Gbits in support of 1080p display
  • All-metal casing
  • LED indication of video source devices
  • Easy and affordable way to add four HDMI inputs to your home theater system


  • Display Connections 1
  • Connectors Device HDMI In 4 x HDMI Type A Female (Black)
  • Display HDMI Out 1 x HDMI Type A Female (Black)
  • RS-232 Port 1 x DB-9 Female (Black)
  • Power 1 x DC Jack
  • LEDs On Line 4 (Orange)
  • Selected 4 (Green)
  • Video HDTV resolutions of 480p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p (1920×1080); VGA, SVGA, SXGA, UXGA (1600×1200) , WUXGA(1920×1200)
  • Power Consumption DC 5.3 V, 2.4 W
  • Environment Operating Temp. 0 – 50°C
  • Storage Temp. -20 – 60°C
  • Humidity 0-80% RH, Non-condensing

Physical Properties

  • Metal Housing
  • Weight: 0.47kg
  • Dimensions: 20.00 x 8.00 x 2.50 cm

On the next page we take a look at the unit’s features (there’s more than you think)…