Fantasy gadgets: in-line A/V switch

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Question: why doesn’t this thing exist? I’m reviewing projectors the size of decks of cards, and my phone has turn-by-turn GPS navigation, but I still need to use a full-size AV receiver when I need to plug my SNES into my home stereo? I was wondering about this, and just doodled up this little thing here. It seems like for less than $100, a little gadget like this, probably about the size of a paperback, should be able to instantly convert any input stream to another. Why do I need a separate adapter for every single kind of connection?

Correct me if I’m wrong, but nothing really exists out there for this purpose except for:

  • Individual adapters (HDMI –> DVI, RCA –> 3.5mm)
  • Full-size AV receivers (fine but wall-bound)

Sure, the first doesn’t require power and the second is an integral part of any home AV system, but… really, there’s nothing in between?

In a day and age where all our devices have different inputs and outputs, we don’t have a universal, battery-or-USB powered gizmo that just takes whatever you put into it, detects what you’ve plugged in the other end, and outputs in that format. There might be a little upscaling if you’re going from RCA to HDMI, but a little dedicated graphics chip would make short work of that, and really, nobody cares about quality with an old-school analog input like that. You could have a couple models with a variety of inputs and outputs. Analog to digital, studio specialty, that kind of thing.

Seriously, you put a little low-power processor in there, it runs a simple BIOS that simply hears the input and puts out the output. The components have to be cheap enough that it’d be peanuts to build, and a 3000mAh battery should make it last at least four or five hours — enough to watch a movie or power a party where the speakers need a digital input or something.

I mean, I’ll totally take it back if there’s something practical out there for this purpose, but to my meager knowledge there isn’t. Maybe every store sells ‘em and I just don’t know it. Don’t you guys think this would be useful to have around?

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