Onkyo's Video Previews Demystify Your Home Theater Inputs

Unless you're a home theater idiot-savant, you probably forget what HDMI port your Xbox or Blu-ray player is connected to, requiring you to randomly cycle through inputs. A task that's now a lot easier with InstaPrevue's live video thumbnail previews.

The idea is so genius you'll wonder why TV manufacturers didn't implement input switching like this in the first place, instead of a vague on-screen text menu listing HDMI 1, HDMI 2, etc. The hardware that makes this possible was created by a company called Silicon Image, and Onkyo will be the first to implement SI's InstaPrevue feature into its 2012 home theater receiver line up.

Using a multiple picture-in-picture approach, a small video preview for every device that's connected to the receiver is displayed down the right hand side of the TV. Unfortunately if your equipment isn't already powered up you'll just see a column of black squares which is just as useless. So maybe they'll implement a feature where you can assign a default thumbnail, like a freeze frame of the Xbox's startup screen. Even with this limitation, though, the solution is still a marked improvement over what we're currently stuck with. [Silicon Image via Onkyo]