I understand that my use case when it comes to HDMI is not a standard one.

I have an Xbox One, PlayStation 4 Pro, Wii U, MAME PC, and – in a few weeks – a Nintendo Switch, which I would like to use without chopping and changing HDMI cables every five minutes. The goal was to get them all to flow into one handy HDMI cable, which I could either plug into the one HDR-and-4k-enabled HDMI port (thanks, Samsung) of the three that are on my set. I also wanted to be able to take that cable and plug it into a female adapter, connected to a 15m HDMI lead that runs around my lounge to my capture device, for streaming and capturing game footage and screenshots for reviews and the like.

It turns out that isn’t all that easy to do.

Here’s why:-

  • HDR – If the switch doesn’t fully support HDMI 2.0a (which practically none of them do) then you won’t get HDR.
  • 4k/60 – If the switch doesn’t fully support HDMI 2.0 then you won’t get 4k gaming at 60fps. You’ll get 4k at 30fps as a maximum.
  • Lowest Common Denominator – Some switches will default to the lowest HDMI specification that you have connected. So even though the switch supports HDMI 2.0, when you plug a HDMI 1.4 device (Xbox One, Wii U, etc) and a PlayStation 4 Pro (HDMI 2.0a) in to it, the PlayStation 4 Pro will be locked down to HDMI 1.4. So your shiny new PlayStation won’t do HDR or 4k/60fps.
  • Crappy Distance – If your switch is self-powered, it’ll probably weaken the signal to the point that if the switch is more than half an inch from the TV, you’ll get “sparkles” on the image or even worse…no image at all.
  • USB Fail – If your switch is USB powered, it seems that there’s about a 1 in 10 chance that it will actually be compatible with the powered USB port on your television. For no reason at all.
  • Manual Switching – If your switch features an “auto-switching” system (ie. It switches to the device that’s powered up without you intervening) then there’s a decent chance that this will have some sort of problem.
  • Remote Uncontrol – Given that every other switch on the market seems to be made in the same Chinese factory, they come with the dire flat-profile “credit card” remotes that are so small that they practically disappear as soon as they’re placed on your coffee table. The buttons fail after about three presses, and the range of these things is usually appalling, too.

The problem is that there’s a veritable stack of switches and splitters on the market that claim to take care of all of the above six issues. The truth of the matter is that after testing a dozen or so – no, I’m not kidding…you can check with Amazon’s returns department for proof – there’s really only one that gets the job done for less than a king’s ransom.

The lofty claims Ligawo were making about their £65 switch, the 3090064, seemed to be unbelievable. Given that the next-cheapest similar device that I’d found clocked in £295, it just seemed to be all too good to be true. HDMI 2.0a, full HDR support, HDCP 2.2, a remote that works, auto-switching, mains powered…for £65.

There was just no way.

But, I was pleasantly surprised. Right out of the box, the Ligawo 3090064 does absolutely everything it claims to. Switching between devices is done automatically if only one device is powered up, or via the included remote which has actual buttons and which works for me from 10ft away without an issue. There’s no lag introduced by the switch and – most importantly of all – it works with the PS4 Pro at 4k/60fps in HDR and allows you to switch between HDMI 1.4 devices and HDMI 2.0a devices without going absolutely nuts.

The device itself is relatively small, meaning that it’ll fit into your setup with ease but with the remote being good old infra-red, you’ll need to be sure that you’re not obscuring the sensor all that much. The mains power seems to increase the range of the signal via the Ligawo, too. Directly connecting an Xbox One into a standard 15m cable (which was a quarter of the price of the cable that an “audio video professional” told me to use) introduced a sparkling effect if an HDMI repeater wasn’t present. Connecting the Xbox One to the Ligawo and then connecting that to the same 15m cable allowed me to take the repeater out of the equation, with the signal arriving at the end of the run with absolutely no sparkle effect and no drop outs.

There’s a lot of good going on with this product, that’s for sure. In fact, there are only two issues to note.  The first is that the PS4 Pro support comes with a caveat. If you’re running your PS4 Pro in 4k HDR with full RGB enabled, you’ll find that the picture drops out for about half a second every ten seconds or so. Heading into the PS4 Pro options and switching the resolution from “Auto” to “2160p – YUV420” remedies this issue entirely. You should be using this setting anyway if you’re using HDR, (according to Digital Foundry, at least…) so it’s no real worry.

The only other downside with the 3090064 is that it doesn’t come with a UK plug, so you’ll need to get a travel adapter or the like. It’s an annoyance, but given that the closest alternative to this switcher is the best part of £250 more expensive, dropping another £5 on a cheap 2-pin to 3-pin adapter seems like a decent option.

Since those are the only two issues (one of which isn’t really a problem) then it’s safe to say that the Ligawo 3090064 is a device that I’d heartily recommend. If you’re looking for a relatively future-proof HDMI switch to get that rat run behind the TV in check, then it’s outstanding value for money when compared to the competition.