You'll pay a little extra, but for someone who needs 8 output ports, this unit works well. Excellent all-metal construction ensures the device will not overheat. Supports HDMI v1.4 standard and a variety of video resolutions up to 4K.
Some lag time when changing channels. Some intermittent connection issues.
An affordable model that's easy to use, in part because it doesn't require external power source. Ultra HD 4K and 3D compatible. Has a small footprint.
Only has 2 ports, but suits most users' needs. Some issues using it with monitors have been reported – not enough power to boot them quickly or slow to switch.
All-metal case avoids problems w/overheating. Supports multiple output video resolutions. Excellent video quality to both output devices. Able to bypass HDCP when needed for certain use cases. Nice price if you only need 2 outputs.
Limited to two output ports. Not compatible with some newer standards, like 4K.
Supports a variety of video resolutions, including Ultra HD/4K. Easy to install w/plug-and-play simplicity. Headache-free troubleshooting with reset button. No loss of quality after you split the signal. Great option for gaming devices.
Bright LED indicator lights can be distracting in dark room. High price point.
Supports a multitude of video resolutions, including Ultra HD/4K. Extremely easy to set up, and it works as advertised. No degradation in audio quality. Works well for multiple gaming systems. Appealing price.
Limited to 2 output devices. There are some owner concerns over the longevity of this splitter.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
We purchase every product we review with our own funds — we never accept anything from product manufacturers.
Numerous situations warrant the need for a new HDMI splitter. Perhaps you have a Blu-ray player or cable streaming device and several televisions scattered about the house that you would like to use. Perhaps you have an Xbox and would like to set it up with several different monitors for ease of play with a group of friends. Or perhaps you want to run presentations at trade shows, or a wall of televisions for the best Super Bowl party ever, or training videos for a large group at work or school.
An HDMI splitter is now the overwhelming choice for carrying high-definition audio and video from a source to a display. Problem is, the majority of sources only have one HDMI port on them. This makes it difficult to view video or listen to audio on more than one monitor or television at a time.
An HDMI splitter is a handy solution for those who are tired of swapping out cords in their home theater or entertainment systems. An HDMI splitter is vital for anyone running presentations, security, retail kiosks, corporate training seminars, or other situations that involve multiple monitors. This guide will walk you through the features, tech specifications, and other considerations you will need to make before buying an HDMI splitter.
The simplest way to conceptualize splitters and switchers is that they are opposites. With a splitter, you take the signal from one source and send it to a number of monitors or televisions. The original signal is split into identical signals, so that each monitor/television shows the same source at the same quality.
Switchers, on the other hand, allow you to run a variety of signals — gaming consoles, media streamers, PCs, and the like — into one monitor or television. You can physically switch from one source to another. For example, you could go from playing an Xbox game to watching a show through Roku without having to swap out cables.
You can also buy combination splitters/switchers so that you can use one for two different purposes.
HDMI splitters are fairly simple in what they do. As such, they tend to be compact and lightweight by design. If you are planning on travelling with one, though, you could choose an HDMI splitter that’s even more compact and lighter than average.
Also consider the durability of an HDMI splitter before you buy. A unit made heavy-duty plastic will naturally resist corrosion, while an all-metal splitter won’t overheat quite so easily.
You can save yourself having to buy an extra cable by purchasing a splitter where the “in” side of it features a built-in cable.
You have two options in terms of how splitters are powered. Cable splitters are the more straightforward option. These usually split just once, although some split twice. As such, they require less power and usually don’t need an external power source, such as an AC adapter.
Box splitters usually need to be powered via an AC adapter or by way of a USB plug. (The latter is less likely.) Box splitters often give you more splitting options (four or eight ports), but due to this, they also need more power. If you want more splitter ports, you’re also going to need an external power supply to power them. Be sure that if the splitter you select needs an AC adapter, it ships with one.
Video resolution is one of the biggest considerations in terms of buying a splitter, primarily because of the large number of possible resolutions out there. Some resolutions that might be supported by a splitter include Ultra HD 4k/2k, full HD 1080p, 3D, 1080i, 720p, 576p, and 576i. Luckily, the majority of HDMI splitters support a wide range of resolutions. But to be on the safe side, this is a feature you will need to take note of if you want the splitter to match a particular resolution supported by the rest of your system, such as 4K.
The best strategy is to buy the HDMI splitter that supports the highest resolution you can — particularly if the rest of your system also supports a high resolution.
Like video, there are a variety of audio formats that your splitter will probably support. Some of these include Dolby Digital, Dolby TrueHD, DTS, DTS-HD, Dolby-AC3, and LPCM. If the rest of your system uses a particular audio format, be sure your splitter does, too.
Verify that any splitter you are considering will work with the various devices you own. These include your particular versions of gaming platforms like Xbox and PlayStation, your computer operating system, media streamers like Roku, Blu-ray DVD players, Amazon Fire TV Sticks, and so on. On the other end, the splitter should also fully support any monitor, TV, or projector you are going to want to use it with.
The current HDMI 2.0 standard is capable of supporting bandwidths of up to 18Gbps. The older standard, HDMI 1.4b, topped out at 10.2Gbps.
The refresh rate of your monitor or TV will largely determine how fast the video reaching it will show and how smoothly it will play. Both your source and the splitter should support your monitor/TV refresh rate.
Color depth refers to the number of colors your display is capable of showing. Try to buy the best color depth you can find in a splitter so you don’t wind up with washed-out colors.
As mentioned earlier, an HDMI splitter is a simple, no-frill additions to your entertainment or work system. As such, prices sit on the low side. A basic 1 x 2 cable splitter will start out around $10, while box splitters tend to be more expensive, particularly if they offer a larger variety of splitting options. Expect to pay around $40 for a 1 x 4 splitter and $50 or more for a 1 x 8.
For a box splitter, you should check that it ships with an AC adapter. If not, add a few more dollars to the overall cost of the splitter. Finally, ask if the splitter has some form of warranty as insurance against receiving a defective or inferior one.
Instead of a splitter, a better option for desktop users seeking to split their signal (for use with two monitors, for example) is to buy a graphics card with dual video outputs.
HDMI splitters generally do not ship with cables. Be sure you purchase the correct number and type of quality cables you need to use the splitter. The cables should be long enough to reach from the source to the displays.
HDMI splitters are available with a variable number of output ports. When purchasing one, verify that it has the number of output ports you need. Consider one with even more than you currently need in case your setup changes in the future.
Bi-direction is a feature some splitters have that incorporates a switch. With bi-directional switching, you can use it to connect two displays to one source, or you can use it to connect two sources to one display.
Powered HDMI splitters can also act as HDMI repeaters, which can boost the signal and bypass HDMI cable length restrictions.
While it can vary depending on the quality of your cable, any HDMI cable that is 50 feet long or less should suffer no problems with significant loss of signal quality.
Stick with a known manufacturer. This is one area where cheap knock-offs offering poor quality abound.
Higher-quality cables are also recommended when using a splitter, as the splitter will introduce added resistance to your video/audio stream that a top-shelf cable can help to overcome.
Physical vents built into the splitter can help to prevent overheating.
For those who work with 3D graphics, 3D support in a splitter improves both fluid motion and color capabilities on the monitor end.
There are a few additional options that we feel stand out from the pack. The first is the Techole HDMI Switch and Splitter. This bi-directional device can be used as either a splitter or a switcher and requires no external power supply. It also offers a high resolution at a low cost.
While you will pay up a bit for the 4K HDMI Splitter Switch from NEWPOWER, you’ll find yourself with a device that operates as both a switcher (four in) and splitter (two out) at the same time. This versatile splitter/switcher is packed with features and even ships with a handy remote.
Q. How hard is it to set up an HDMI splitter?
A. Patching a splitter into your system is a pretty basic process. To avoid any potential problems, follow these steps.
Connect the splitter to your Blu-ray player or other source.
If the splitter is externally powered, plug it in and power it up.
Connect the displays or monitors you plan on using (attach the cables to the splitter, then to the displays).
Turn on the source, then the displays, and verify that everything is working.
Q. What is HDCP, and should I worry about it?
A. HDCP is short for high-bandwidth digital content protection. As the name implies, this is an anti-piracy feature that is built into some streaming devices, TVs, cables, and yes, splitters. An inexpensive splitter may not be HDCP-compliant, which could result in error messages or a “fallback” resulting in lesser-quality video. Check the product description carefully to verify that any splitter you are considering is HDCP-compliant.
Q. Can I use two different resolution monitors with my splitter?
A. You can, although the splitter will send out both signals at the lower resolution. For example, if you have a 720p monitor and a 1080p monitor, both monitors will receive a 720p signal from the splitter.
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