Do TVs with HDMI out exist? Is there a way to get an HDMI signal from a TV? I was wondering if it’s possible, and after hours of research, I found some interesting facts I wanted to share with you.
As you know, most TVs have built-in apps like Netflix. What if you could play Netflix on one TV and then re-route that signal to another TV in a different room? or a laptop?
Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that.
Do TVs Have HDMI Output?
No modern TVs on the market natively support HDMI output. TVs are only designed to receive a video signal. To split the signal from one TV to another, you will need to an HDMI splitter.
The only TVs that support video output are the ones that use composite video cables. Those are very dated TVs, with CRT displays, and a resolution of 480P or lower.
It’s incredibly rare for a TV to have an HDMI output port. In fact, I was unable to find any TV on the market today that supports HDMI out.
To confirm, look at the back panel of your TV, each of the HDMI ports will be labelled as HDMI IN.
You might also notice that one HDMI port has the label “HDMI ARC” which we will discuss a little later.
How HDMI Works:
Let’s do a quick review of how HDMI works. It’s easy to assume every HDMI device can both receive and send video signals. The fact of the matter is HDMI can only send a video signal in one direction.
HDMI uses a master/slave configuration (the official term is Source and Sink).
Displays such as TVs and monitors act as a slave, receiving the signals, while devices with HDMI output are the masters, responsible for creating the video signal. Smart devices like laptops, streaming sticks, and set-top boxes only support HDMI out.
It can be a little confusing because both ends of an HDMI cable are backwards-compatible, so you may assume most devices are too, but that’s not the case. I recommend reviewing the types of HDMI cables.
A video signal can only flow in one direction, from HDMI output (smart device) to HDMI input (TV or monitor).
Note: While incredibly rare, there are some laptops that support HDMI input.
Another issue that complicates adding HDMI output to a TV is HDMI DHCP (High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection). HDCP is a copyright protection feature found in devices that support HDMI. It was designed to prevent copyrighted content from being stolen.
The short version of HDCP is the source encrypts video signals and the receiver (displays) decrypts them. HDCP content will only show on devices that are approved.
HDMI device manufacturers must purchase a license to display content that uses HDCP. Most TVs support all the common HDCP versions because they are designed for that purpose.
On the other hand, some companies can block their media from being sent to a secondary screen via HDMI. Some streaming companies will only let you watch their content on one screen at a time. For example, if you try to connect a laptop to a secondary display, the media you want to watch may not be visible.
It’s a bit complicated for a TV manufacturer to implement HDCP on both the source and sink end of the HDMI signal. Most TV companies don’t think it’s worth the trouble and cost, which is why 99% of TVs only support HDMI in.
If you try to watch media that uses HDCP on a display that does not support it, the display will show a black screen.
HDCP content is mostly built-in to streaming apps, such as Netflix, but downloaded video files should work with no issues.
How to Add Video Output to Your TV with an HDMI Splitter
While you can’t daisy-chain TVs to one another using their HDMI ports, you can split the signal from one TV to another with an HDMI splitter.
For example, let’s say that you want a few TVs playing exactly the same media. Bear in mind, you can run into HDCP issues when using an HDMI splitter.
An HDMI splitter duplicates an HDMI video signal into multiple outputs. I like this 1-in-4-out HDMI splitter.
What you can do is attach an HDMI source to the source end of the splitter, and then attach the other ends to your TVs or monitors.
With this method, you can have multiple TVs showing the same video content, which can be helpful for demonstrations or comparing TVs.
Remember, none of the HDMI ports on modern TVs supports HDMI output. If you connect the input end of an HDMI splitter to an HDMI port on your TV and the other end to another TV, you won’t get a signal on the second TV.
The HDMI splitter needs to be connected to an HDMI source (streaming stick, Blu-Ray Player, set-top box, laptop, PC, etc).
Another device that can be helpful in this situation is an HDMI switch. An HDMI switch looks similar to a splitter but it will only send the signal to one output slot at a time.
HDMI switches make it easy to connect multiple HDMI devices to a monitor or TV that has limited HDMI ports.
I like the Blukar 1-in-2-out HDMI switch.
The HDMI ARC port on your TV technically outputs a signal but it’s only audio. Read more about HDMI ARC vs HDMI here.
HDMI ARC redirects the audio from the TV to a secondary sound system, such as a soundbar or home theatre.
The HDMI ARC port can also be used as a regular HDMI port (for audio and video) too.
The Bottom Line
To summarize, it’s incredibly rare for a TV to have HDMI output. Even if a TV did support HDMI output, very few consumers would use it. For that reason, TV manufacturers do not feel it’s worth the trouble.
If you want to show the same media on multiple TVs, your best option is to buy an HDMI splitter. An HDMI splitter will split the HDMI signal into multiple outputs. An HDMI switch will only send one HDMI signal to one output (one display at a time).
While I wouldn’t say TVs with HDMI output are a myth (some may exist as experimental products), there are currently no modern TVs that support HDMI output on the market today.