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HDMI switch vs. HDMI splitter: Everything you need to know - CNET

tagsHdmi Switcher 3 In 1 Out

Is the input signal on your TV or AV receiver insufficient? Do you want to connect two TVs to one source? Cheap HDMI switches and splitters can be saved.

A simple HDMI switch (from an IO device) can add much-needed inputs to a TV or AV receiver.

Tired of swapping

cable? Did you just buy a new one

Console, there is no place to insert? Want to run the same signal to multiple

? My friend, you need an HDMI switch or an HDMI splitter. They are an inexpensive way to keep your current equipment relevant and useful. But which is which?

Techole launched a $10 2x1 switch. Yes, that is the actual company name.

The words "switch" and "splitter" are often used interchangeably, but the device itself has the opposite effect. We will go into details, but the short version is that the HDMI switch has multiple sources, such as


, And allows you to choose (switch) between them to send a cable to the TV. As you may already know, a splitter receives a signal and separates it through multiple HDMI cables.

For most people reading this book, you may need a switch. Although a dispenser is required in many cases, it is not common for ordinary consumers.

The main reason to use HDMI switching is your TV, AV receiver or

The number of resources entered is too small. 

For example, your TV has two HDMI inputs, and you have a cable box, a Roku and an Xbox. I'm pretty sure that many of you have Xbox and PlayStation, and have to swap HDMI cables to play games on the other. The switch can also help you. Fortunately, they are not that expensive.

When you buy a switch, please keep some precautions in mind. Get more input than you need. Of course, you may change the streaming media or game console to a new model, but it is also possible that you will get something new and require an additional HDMI input. In addition, some switches have remote controls. In any case, it is not a major event, but it must be convenient.

The switch requires multiple sources (in this case, two game consoles and a laptop), and then sends them to the monitor.

It is important to ensure that any switch you are considering matches at least the resolution and HDMI version of the latest device. Many switches are HDMI 1.4, suitable for 1080p, but not for most 4K. HDMI 2.0 switcher is definitely worth spending more money. Even if your current resource is not 4K, your next resource will definitely be 4K. HDMI 2.0 is backward compatible, but you cannot "upgrade" the HDMI 1.4 switch to 2.0.

4x1 switch. Four inputs, one output to the TV.

If you need a switch urgently, consider the following: HDMI ports on TVs and other devices are not built for repeated connection and disconnection. Whenever you want to switch the signal source, you have to pull out the HDMI cable, which will cause wear and tear on the cable and equipment. The switch will reduce wear, extend the life of the gear, and reduce the trouble of using the audio-visual system.

We currently have no recommendations for specific HDMI switches, but you can find many options on Amazon for only $10 or less.

Please note that if you purchase any features on our website, CNET may share the proceeds.

If you have only one signal source and want to send the signal from that source to multiple TVs, you need an HDMI splitter. Maybe the TV is in a different room, or in the same room, you have a TV during the day and a projector at night. The splitter will copy the signal and send it out via multiple HDMI cables. Some separators are also switches, with multiple "inputs" and multiple "outputs." We will discuss these in the next section.

1x8 splitter: one signal source can be connected to eight TVs or projectors.

If you want to display two monitors at the same time, remember that the maximum resolution of all monitors is

The resolution display is. Therefore, if you have 4K source, 4K TV and 1080p TV, 4K source can only send 1080p. The splitter does not just convert the TV to a 1080p signal.

In theory, you shouldn't have copyright protection theory. You should be able to send whatever content you want to multiple TVs through the distributor. However, this does not guarantee that you will not encounter any problems.


"It's black magic, sometimes it can only be solved by dancing with the HDMI logo painted on the floor with unicorn tears. This is especially true for older monitors and signal sources. Before buying, please make sure it passes HDCP. In the product description in.

1x4 distributor.

Although there are some unpowered splitters on the market, it is better to have a power splitter. They are only slightly more money, and your settings are more likely to work without dropped connections or connection problems.

As with switches, we currently have no recommendations for specific HDMI splitters, but you can find many options on Amazon for only $10 or less.

I mentioned here that some products on Amazon (and elsewhere) are mislabeled. For example, in the splitter link above, some switches are shown, one of which (

) Is a switch, not a splitter, even if the word "HDMI splitter" appears in its description. But now that you have read so far, you will know the difference and can shop with confidence, right? 

The names of the separators and many switches will carry the number of inputs and outputs. Therefore, the "1x3" splitter will send one input to three outputs. 

At the same time, unlike the above-mentioned mislabeled devices, some devices combine a switch and a separator in the same box. The "4x2" switch is also a distributor, with four inputs and two outputs. It can send any one of the four signal sources to two TVs.

On the commercial side, the number of inputs and outputs has greatly increased, and you can use 16x16 splitters/switches or more. These are usually called matrix switches. CNET's TV laboratory uses 8x8 matrix switches to send multiple 4K HDR signals to multiple TVs for side-by-side comparison tests.

Installing anything in the TV test lab has never been so exciting for me.

Of course, you don't need to worry about these. For most people, only 3x1 or 4x1 switches are needed.

One last thing to remember. Adding any device to the HDMI chain may cause problems. HDMI is a monster, you may stumble upon some combination of unusable signal sources, switches/splitters, cables and displays. What's even more frustrating is that it doesn't work reliably, cutting it off randomly like the most annoying electronic demon in the world. There is no way to prevent this from happening, and it's not common, it's just something to remember. You may need to do some troubleshooting. You may be able to solve this problem by opening the gears in a specific order, but this may not work either. There is no simple solution, just trial and error.

However, in most cases, the switch will make your life easier, and the shunt can be set in certain gears, which is not possible in other cases. Convenient little device, isn't it? 

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