Looking for a solution to split signals and use with devices like PS5, Xbox, Blue-ray, DVD, laptop, SKY Q, 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.
What is an HDMI Splitter?
An HDMI splitter is an adapter that takes one HDMI source and splits it into multiple HDMI ports. In other words, one input to multiple outputs.
Bear in mind, an HDMI splitter cannot extend your screen. It’s only designed to split one source into two or more outputs. In other words, it can only show the same media on both screens.
Let’s take a look at some of the best HDMI splitters on the market.
Looking for HDMI splitters? Have a look at these 5 products that in my opinion are the best on the market right now:
1 StarTech.com HDMI Splitter – 2-Port – 4K 60Hz
Best Feature: Durable, Good for Longterm
The StarTech.com 2 port HDMI splitter is perfect for splitting one HDMI source to two HDMI displays. The HDMI splitter has one HDMI input and two HDMI outputs, each with LED lights to indicate which display is active. The splitter also supports 60hz, up to 4K resolution, HDR, and Dolby Atmos. On top of that, it’s backwards compatible with 30 Hz and 1080P displays.
However, It does require DC5V power which needs to be plugged into the mains. What I liked about this HDMI splitter is it not only meets my performance expectations but the build quality is also very durable.
The black metal case keeps the device cool too. Overall, the StarTech.com 2 Port HDMI splitter is definitely worth checking out.
2 HDMI SPLITTER 1 in 2 out
Best Feature: Budget Friendly
Looking for something simple? Here’s a very budget-friendly HDMI splitter. It doesn’t have many special features, but it does what you need it to do; split one source into two. Made from plastic, the build quality is rather basic, best for temporary setups.
What’s great about this HDMI splitter is the power source comes from USB, instead of a wall outlet. However, they do suggest using a USB 5V power adapter, similar to what you use to charge modern phones. All in all, if you want a really basic, one-in and two-out HDMI splitter, this one’s for you.
While very basic, this HDMI splitter still supports the usual HDMI specifications such as 4K at 30 Hz, 1080P at 120Hz, 3D, and audio formats.
3 Techole 4K 2 Way HDMI Splitter
Notable Feature: Cheap, Small & Lightweight
The Techole 2-Way HDMI splitter is another budget-friendly option. It supports all HDMI 1.4 specifications, including 4K at 30Hz and even 3D. What makes this particular splitter special is it’s one of the cheapest aluminium HDMI splitters on the market.
The aluminium case not only protects the splitter but also keeps it cool. It uses the standard power supply, a USB charging cable that should be connected to a 5V adapter. The adapter is not included. If you need something simple, cheap, and straightforward, this splitter is a good option.
1 Neoteck HDMI 2.0 Splitter 4 Way
Notable Feature: 4 HDMI Outputs
Looking for something that has more than two HDMI outputs? Do you want to split one source to four displays? Well, the smart splitter 1 in 4 HDMI splitter can help with that. There are a few key features worth talking about.
For starters, this splitter box supports HDMI 2.0 which unlocks support for advanced features, such as 4K at 60Hz. The Xbox Series X uses HDMI 2.1. Now you can share your Xbox Series X gameplay with multiple 4K displays at 60Hz. Bear in mind, to use HDMI 2.0 you will need to buy HDMI 2.0 cables.
Speaking of multiple displays, the smart HDMI splitter box can share one source to four HDMI outputs. If you want to demonstrate the quality of multiple displays with the same media, this box will make things much easier. It does not use USB, the power lead must be connected directly to a wall outlet. A red light will turn on when the device is getting power.
Considering the features, the price is very reasonable!
5 HDMI Splitter 1×2 4K 60Hz 4:4:4
Best Feature: Removes HDCP
Here’s an HDMI splitter that looks the same as most, but it offers a useful feature for content creators. While this HDMI splitter only has two HDMI outputs, it can do something most other splitters cannot, it can strip HDCP.
HDCP (High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection) is a technology that is designed to protect copyrighted content from being played or copied onto unwanted devices. Most HDMI cables and devices use HDCP.
Most of the time, HDCP doesn’t create problems, but if you want to do something like record media from an HDMI source (gameplay, movies, etc) the HDCP might block you. Which is where an HDMI splitter that can bypass HDCP can be very useful. Besides that, the HDMI splitter can also scale resolution to match a display’s native resolution.
For example, you can connect a 4K TV and a 1080P monitor to the splitter, and the TV will stay 4K, there will be no downgrading like with most other splitters. The downside to this particular splitter is the instructions are a little complicated and you need to install some third-party software.
Now that you have some HDMI splitter suggestions, let’s take a closer look at how they work and what you can expect from them.
HDMI Splitter Features & Specifications
Here are some key features to consider:
HDMI Version Support
With new consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X) using HDMI 2.1, you want a splitter that can keep up with the demands. At the moment, there are no HDMI 2.1 splitters, but there are a handful that supports 2.0. While HDMI 2.0 is a little slower, it won’t make much of a difference.
Most consoles won’t always be capable of outputting 4K at 120 frames, and if they could, your TV might not be able to keep up. HDMI 2.1 is recommended but downgrading slightly to use an HDMI 2.0 splitter won’t dramatically impact your performance. Bear in mind, HDMI 2.1 splitters will likely hit the market soon.
Most HDMI splitters, unless stated otherwise, use the standard HDMI 1.2 or 1.4 version, which works great with 1080P monitors or TVs. HDMI 1.4 can support 1080P at up to 144Hz and 4K at 30Hz. Make sure your monitor or TV’s maximum resolution is compatible with the splitter!
Refresh Rate (Hz)
Most HDMI splitters will support the most common refresh rates and resolutions (1080P at 60Hz). However, the latest TVs can support 4K at 120 Hz, so it’s important to find a splitter that can match those signals, which require HDMI 2.0 or higher. If you do not have a high-Hz capable monitor or TV, an ordinary HDMI splitter will work for you.
HDMI Splitter vs HDMI Switch:
HDMI splitters are often confused with another device called an HDMI switch. An HDMI switch has one output and multiple inputs. HDMI switches are useful when your TV runs out of HDMI ports, and you need to connect more HDMI devices. Essentially, an HDMI splitter and an HDMI are opposites.
What’s tricky is both an HDMI splitter and switch look about the same. To tell the difference, pay attention to the output and input labels. If it has multiple inputs, it’s an HDMI switch. Likewise, if it has multiple outputs and only one input, then it’s an HDMI splitter. Make sure to double-check the labels before you buy one!
Can You Extend Monitors with an HDMI Splitter?
An HDMI splitter cannot be used to extend monitors, it can only send one source to more than one monitor. If you plug an HDMI splitter into your laptop, and then connect two monitors to the splitter’s outputs, the two monitors will show the same media.
To extend your monitors, you will need to either buy a USB adapter or, if on PC, a dedicated graphics card. You can’t use an HDMI splitter for dual monitors.
Does an HDMI Splitter Reduce Quality?
No. An HDMI Splitter will not reduce the quality because HDMI uses digital signals which will either work or not. However, some HDMI splitters will set the lowest detected resolution as default on all connected displays.
For example, if you plug a 4K monitor and a 1080P monitor into an HDMI splitter, it might change the resolution on every monitor to 1080P. For more reliable quality, I recommend using a powered, high quality, HDMI splitter. Some models will set individual resolutions but most generic ones will only support one resolution at a time.
Does an HDMI Splitter Cause Input Lag?
A powered HDMI splitter will not create input lag because the signal is not being converted or processed. However, splitters that don’t have an external power source, or low-quality ones, can introduce input lag and other issues. Generally, most HDMI splitters do not add any noticeable input delay.