It won't be long before we're knee-deep in motherboards designed for Intel's next-generation Haswell processors. To hype their upcoming products, mobo makers have teased various features, with ASRock most recently dropping hints on its swanky A-Style integrated audio. The firm has a whole 8-series micro-site that hints at other goodies, including 802.11ac W-Fi, "Home Cloud" capabilities, and a waterproof coating. The details on those are still to come. ASRock has, however, introduced a new HDMI input with built-in switching. See for yourself:
The ability to pipe in a secondary HDMI feed should appeal to folks with a limited number of monitor inputs. I particularly like the fact that the extra input still works when the system is powered off. Too bad the hotkey-powered switching takes about five seconds to complete.
While the video doesn't really show whether the HDMI input adds any latency, it's clear that the monitor is connected to the motherboard's display output. There isn't a graphics card in sight. Presumably, running your PC's output through the motherboard is essential to the switching mechanism. That doesn't necessarily mean you're restricted to integrated graphics, though—Lucid's Virtu software allows discrete graphics output to be fed through the mobo.
Platform integration has made it increasingly difficult for motherboard makers to differentiate their products, but ASRock clearly has some novel ideas up its sleeve. My fingers are crossed for a video of the waterproof coating in action. I'm not sure that's something I want to try for myself in the lab.