Paging the A/V Club
September 29, 2009 7:41 AM   Subscribe

What do I call the device that would connect Tivo, DVD player, game console and cable input to my tv, so I don't have to unplug & replug RCA jacks all the time? Can you recommend a product that does this well and not too expensively? tv mixer? a/v mixer? A/B/C/D switch?

Tv has multiple input types, but DVR, DVD player, game console and cable use RCA jacks. Ideally, this device would allow me to run the audio through the stereo, as well. Once I know what to call it, I can shop for it. Please save me a trip to The Shack. thanks.
posted by Mom to Shopping (10 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Sounds like what you need is a stereo receiver with a bunch of RCA inputs on it. If you're searching for one it should let you how many components can be plugged in in the descriptions.
posted by urbanlenny at 7:50 AM on September 29, 2009 [2 favorites]

Something like this?

(no endorsement of this product. Monoprice, however, is excellent)
posted by dforemsky at 7:52 AM on September 29, 2009

You need an A/V switch I have a 4 way that I got at Target for $20. I run the DVD, Xbox, Tivo and Playstation into the 4 A/V inputs and I run 2 cables out of the output; one is a red and white audio cable that runs to my stereo and one is a yellow video cable that runs to my tv. Since its only $20 I have to manually select what input I want to be using, I know you can pay more and get one that auto switches or one that has a remote.
posted by thewalrusispaul at 8:17 AM on September 29, 2009

I've used this selector box before, as well as cheaper ones that had physical push-buttons to switch between sources.

Also, if you are hooking up two sources that don't need to send a signal at the same time (like a game system and a DVD player), you can just use a few Y adapters, and whichever one you turn on will be the one that gets sent to the TV. It doesn't work if you have both devices sending video at the same time though.
posted by burnmp3s at 8:21 AM on September 29, 2009

Thank you. With the right name, I was able to find plenty.
posted by Mom at 9:27 AM on September 29, 2009

I'll just recommend getting one with a remote. A friend of mine bought one without and complains about it a fair bit (he could just be lazy).

As mentioned above, most stereo receiver's do this too.
posted by backwards guitar at 9:42 AM on September 29, 2009

Y-adapters are for splitting, not combining signals. Go with one of the abundant array of cheap AV switches.
posted by jjb at 11:37 AM on September 29, 2009

Y-adapters are for splitting, not combining signals. Go with one of the abundant array of cheap AV switches.

Yeah, I know. The setup I described only works when one of the two devices is throwing a signal at any given time. So if you have a PS3 and XBOX 360 connected to the same set of Y adapters, you can connect both of them to the same RCA input on your TV, and avoid swapping the cables, as long as you don't try to run both at the same time. I know that this works because I have done it. Also one of the nice things about that setup is that if you have guests that are trying to run it, they don't have to know how to switch between the two systems, they just turn one on and it works.
posted by burnmp3s at 11:50 AM on September 29, 2009

FYI, connecting two outputs together can damage your equipment; just because nothing bad has happened yet doesn't mean it's safe.
posted by Monday, stony Monday at 5:43 PM on September 29, 2009

I bought a cheap 4 way selector, and it's working fine.
posted by Mom at 9:10 AM on February 10, 2010

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