All basic Ethernet switches should pass multicast traffic as they work on physical hardware MAC addresses not content.
Certain managed switches can perform other functions, but they are not needed for general use.
Keith is right - most Ethernet switches should be fine for multicast including Ultra HD. I would recommend using GigE switches to be sure they can handle the throughput as some cheap 100Mbit/s switches might actually struggle with 50Mbit/s especially if you have a lot of other traffic at the same time (e.g. 30Mbit/s UHD plus 10Mbit/s HD).
Also be aware that most switches will not perform "IGMP snooping" so they will simply forward the multicast traffic to every physical Ethernet port. i.e. every leg of your network off the switch will carry the multicast traffic. This probably isn't a problem especially if you have a GigE network but it's possible it could impair your network performance, especially for slow devices (e.g. a humble Raspberry Pi might slow down if flooded with 50Mbit/s).
It will be a problem if you use a WiFi router which behaves in the same way. For example an Apple Time Capsule with WiFi will automatically forward all the multicast traffic via its WiFi interface by default - so if it sees the multicast traffic your WiFi is likely to be completely overwhelmed whenever you tune to an HD or Ultra HD channel. The simple solution is to put it on a different physical port on your Home Hub to the STB or just use the Home Hub's WiFi. (Another option is to enable IGMP snooping which is available on some WiFi routers including the latest Apple Time Capsule but not the older ones).
BT Home Hubs work better as they only forward the multicast traffic to the physical Ethernet port that the STB is connected to. If possible it's therefore best to connect the STB directly to the Home Hub if possible although I confess I uses a GigE switch to feed all the devices in my lounge without any problem.
Hope this makes sense - home networking can be a lot more complex than it first appears.
|BT TV expert||PaulSk|
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