Looking for a solution to split signals and use with devices like PS3, Xbox 360, Blue-ray, DVD, laptop, SKY, etc? Read on…
An HDMI splitter is a device that takes the signal from a source and duplicates it to multiple displays. It’s mainly used to show the same image on many TVs or monitors.
Wondering what is the best HDMI splitter for 4K TV? How many outputs are recommended? Will you need a signal amplifier? And does an HDMI splitter work to extend monitors? We’ll not only do our best to answer the most common HDMI splitter questions but also share some of our favourite splitters.
Before we get into that, here are our recommended products.
Our selection of the best HDMI Splitters available in the UK market in 2019!
What to Look for When Buying an HDMI Splitter
There are many situations where an HDMI splitter will be beneficial. To give you an example of some practical scenarios, one of the most common uses for HDMI splitters it to send the signal from a Sky+ box to two or more displays.
What about the specifications? Most HDMI splitters support HDMI 1.4, the standard for HDMI cables. On the other hand, to reach the higher resolution rates, you’ll need one that supports HDMI 2.0 as well as an HDMI 2.0 cable.
If you want to connect TVs in multiple rooms to the same source, then you’ll need a long HDMI cable. I recommend a 25ft HDMI cable. HDMI cables can lose image quality (signal degradation) if they are significantly long (50ft or more) so it’s recommended to keep the length around 25ft, the shorter the better.
After inspecting the list of inspections on HDMI splitters, you might feel overwhelmed. Although there are many specifications, there are only three that are important:
- Refresh Rate (Hz)
The support refresh rate, measured in Hz, basically means how many times the display can refresh a second.
Generally, for movies and other media, 30Hz is more than enough. On the other hand, for video games, a higher Hz rate is ideal. If your HDMI splitter can’t support the Hz rate of the source, then the image will appear choppy.
As mentioned earlier, the most common resolution on displays is 1080P. However, if you want to view higher resolution media, such as 4K resolution, then you’ll need to find a splitter than can support that resolution. You will probably also need a 2.0 HDMI cable.
- Supported HDMI Versions
Speaking of resolutions, it is important to pay attention to the supported HDMI versions on the HDMI splitter.
Some of the splitters do not support the latest HDMI versions which means you won’t be able to watch 4K media. The most common HDMI version nowadays 1.4, although 2.0 is slowly becoming the new standard. HDMI 1.4 is usually sufficient for casual use.
When it comes to high-resolution media, one thing to remember is the HDMI splitter will usually require an external power source to keep up with the demands. Most of the splitters that support 1080p resolution only require a USB power source, while the higher-end ones require 5V.
Generally, if you’re looking to buy an HDMI splitter, then you’ll need to make note of your preferred resolution. Is 1080P acceptable for you? In that case, almost any HDMI splitter will work, since that resolution is the most common.
For higher resolutions, there are more requirements. Not only will you need an HDMI splitter that supports high resolutions but also the appropriate HDMI cable.
Differences between splitters and switchers
If you have ever had to connect with multiple devices to the same TV, you may have wondered what the difference between the HDMI splitter and the HDMI switch is. These AV accessories may look very similar, but the end-use is entirely different.
I want to clear our the confusion people usually make about them, and this article will explain how to choose the right model to meet your needs. Otherwise, you may end up buying the wrong kind of product, losing time and money.
What is an HDMI splitter?
An HDMI Splitter is a device that distributes the signal from one source such as Playstation, XBox, Sky+, BlueRay player to multiple monitors. Not all HDMI splitters are the same, and for this reason, you have to be extremely discerning when picking one.
So suppose your original audio and video source is a PlayStation 4 or an overhead projector. What you want to do is display the image simultaneously on more than one TV. It can be two TVs, four, eight; the number is irrelevant. The splitter device has a certain amount of outputs – and each output means a new compatible display.
What is an HDMI switcher?
In terms of signal, what the switch does is the opposite of splitter. That is, it allows you to connect two audio and video sources to the same display. To understand your logic, let’s take an example.
Imagine a TV with only one HDMI input. If you try to connect a PlayStation 4 and an Xbox One to it, for example, you have to switch between them, as there is no physical space to connect them both at the same time. The switch solves this problem. You can connect both consoles to the HDMI switcher and the switch to the TV. Just change a key to toggle between signals from one source and another.
Why is there so much confusion between splitter and switcher?
Both accessories are very similar and have similar functions. Some brands, for example, have exactly the same designs for both, although the purposes are different. Add to that the fact that many people buy one of these products without knowing if it will solve the problem. Because the descriptions are similar, switchers and splitters end up in shopping carts without the consumer knowing for sure exactly what they need.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can HDMI Splitters Extend Desktop?
No. HDMI splitters are designed to duplicate the source signal to two displays. In other words, it shows the same image on both displays. They don’t work for dual monitor setups.
Will an HDMI Splitter Degrade Quality?
It depends on individual product-quality, but for the most part, a splitter will not degrade image quality. For best results, use an HDMI splitter that has an external power source, and a high-quality HDMI cable.
Does an HDMI Splitter Cause Input Lag?
If you use a powered HDMI splitter, it should not create any noticeable input lag. It’s an adapter, it doesn’t process the signal. But if you’re using a splitter for games, then you need to make sure it can handle the refresh rates you need. For example, if it’s limited to 30Hz, that means you will only “see” 30 frames a second, which is usually not smooth enough.