best hdmi splitter and switch

The Best HDMI Splitter and Switch for Optimal TV Viewing

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HDMI components are like the central nervous system of our modern day electronics. These cables are what allow us to have a high-quality picture for our movies, television, streaming and gaming. We’re all familiar with these high definition cords but there’s more to HDMI than just cables. HDMI splitters, hubs and switches add more convenience to how we can customize our TV or computer setups.

Switches and splitters are more valuable than many still realize, so let’s take a look at what makes them so interesting as well as the best ones you can buy for yourself today.

What Are HDMI Switches and Splitters?

For those who don’t already know HDMI stands for “high definition multimedia interface.” Any cable or component designated as HDMI was designed to support large quality data that can transmit high definition audio and video to your interface of choice. While we’re mostly familiar with HDMI cables, let’s examine what HDMI switches and splitters are.

An HDMI switch is a box which acts as a hub for multiple signals. The way it works is that it can receive two or more signals via HDMI cable (hence the name). You can then switch which input you want to be transmitted to your TV screen. It essentially acts as an expansion box that increases the amount of HDMI ports your television screen has.

HDMI Switcher

For example, let’s say your TV only has two HDMI ports and you have several devices you want to be plugged in simultaneously. It could be an Android TV box, a gaming console, a Blu-ray player, a sound system, etc. Now, let’s say you have an HDMI switch box that has four input ports. You can plug in all four of your devices into the switch and then plug in the output cable into one of your TV’s ports. Then all you have to do to switch devices is, well, flip the switch on your HDMI switch or its remote. It eliminates the need to manually unplug cables from behind your TV whenever you want to go from your Playstation 4 to a DVD or Blu-ray player.

An HDMI splitter has a similar idea behind it but it’s kind of in reverse. It can take one input source signal and send it to multiple output devices. So for example, you can plug in your PS4 to an HDMI splitter and then have it connected to two screens at once.

HDMI splitter

HDMI switches and splitters are essentially components that give you many more options for either multiple displays of the same signal or multiple inputs into one TV or PC port.

HDMI Splitters and Switches Buying Guide

Unlike HDMI cables, splitters and switches are a bit more complicated, so there are a few things to learn before one should purchase them.

Compatibility

As far as compatibility goes, both switches and splitters will work with just about anything that outputs as HDMI. This includes desktop and laptop PCs as well as just about any modern gaming console from Nintendo, Sony, and Microsoft. They can even work with TV sticks such as Roku or Fire TV.

Remote Control and Switching Functions

HDMI switches can be used in one of three ways: manual, automatic and remote control operated. A manual switch means pressing the actual switch button on your HDMI switch boxes. Automatic control is more convenient. If you have two active devices plugged in at once, the input will switch to the secondary device when the primary one is turned off. This is similar to how some HDTVs will switch HDMI ports automatically when a DVD player is turned off and revert back to the cable box signal.

When it comes to switches the best ones come with remote controls. Once you’ve plugged in all of your sources all you need to do to switch HDMI inputs is press the corresponding button on the remote. This means that you can easily switch inputs from the comfort of your living room couch. HDMI switches (and splitters) are quite small and will fit in easily with any electronics den or setup. The only thing you have to worry about is how you’ll organize several cables, but this is still easier to do with a switch than without.

Resolutions

When it comes to resolution, switches and splitters operate a bit differently. While 4K versions of both exist, an HDMI switch will automatically default onto the highest resolution possible, or whatever you have it manually set to. With a splitter, it will default to the lowest resolution possible. So for example, if you have a 1080p Blu-ray player connected to two screens via a splitter but one screen is 1080p and the other is 720p, both images will output as 720p only. HDMI splitters cannot differentiate resolutions and transmit a separate quality from one screen or another. The same is also true regarding frame rates or refresh rates.

It’s also important to try and use the newest HDMI cables possible when using a switch or splitter. HDMI cables have evolved over the years and it is generally recommended to use HDMI 2.0 or higher. This reduces the chance of compatibility issues when outputting at higher resolutions or frame rates and even input lag for gaming.

Port Amount

The amount of ports you’ll get depends on which HDMI splitter or switch you choose. Some HDMI switches have two inputs only while some have four or five. You’ll have to choose which one is more appropriate for you based on how many devices you want to be hooked up all at once.

The same is true for splitters. If you want to transmit two or three signals simultaneously you’ll need an HDMI splitter with the right amount of ports.

DRM and HDCP

Lastly, I want to talk about something called HDCP which stands for “high-bandwidth digital content protection.” This is essentially a DRM protocol that locks content from one proprietary out of another. For example, when Apple software such as iTunes only allows you to use this platform with your account on designated machines, this is DRM in action.

The great thing about HDMI splitters and switches is that many of them are designed to correspond with this HDCP function. If you have an older TV that is not compatible with HDCP standards then HDMI splitters or switches that are HDCP compatible will fix this for you. For many people, this is one of the biggest conveniences that these devices offer. It beats having to buy a new expensive television set.

Price

This segues into our last category: the price. It’s actually quite fortunate that HDMI splitters and switches are not very expensive at all despite all that they are capable of. The most expensive ones you’ll ever need cost around $50 and many of them are less than half of that. That should solidify the notion that HDMI switches and splitters are a great investment that can greatly improve your electronics lifestyle for such a reasonable price.

Now that we’ve finished with all the preamble, let me introduce you to my top picks for the best HDMI splitters and switches that you can get on the market today.

Best HDMI Switches

4K 5-Port HDMI Switch

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Univivi HDMI Switch 4K 5 Port 5x1 HDMI Switcher Splitter Box Support 4Kx2K Ultra HD 3D with Remote Control and Power Adapter
  • Easily switch 5 HD sources to a single HDTV, reduce the mess of cable Connection on your TV.
  • 4K high resolution video. Up to 4k@30hz, support Ultra HD, 3D, 36-bit Deep Color. Works well with Nintendo Switch, Blu-ray, PS3, PS4, Xbox, HD-DVD, PC, fire TV, fire TV stick, Roku, etc.
  • Smart & multi-switch method. It will auto switch to current active port when only one input is Active. For multi active inputs, you can manual select input sources by built-in button or use IR remote controller without having to get up from your seat.

This HDMI switch has a sleek and sturdy build and comes with a small remote control for input switching. There are five input ports meaning that you can connect many different devices simultaneously. The 4K capabilities make it a fantastic choice for anyone with more than one device capable of ultra-high definition. This could be anything from a PC to a high-end gaming console.

One feature I found to be a pleasant surprise was the high refresh rate. In 3D or 1080p, you can go up to 120hz which is great for PC gaming. The switch function itself works fast and you can zoom in and out of different inputs in no time.

4K 4-Port HDMI Switch

Zettaguard Upgraded 4K 60Hz 4x1 HDMI Switcher 4 port HDMI 2.0 Switch Hub HDMI Splitter with IR Remote Control Support 18Gbps 4K x 2K 3D HDCP 2.2(4 In 1 Out)
  • [4K Ultra 4 In 1 out] connects up to 4 HDMI source components to a single HDMI input, switches between HDMI ports with included remote for impressive picture quality
  • [High Resolution] supports video format up to 4k2k@60hz with 24bit RGB/cyber 4: 4: 4/cyber 4: 2: 2; Supports LPCM 7. 1Ch, Dolby Trued, and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • [Compatible with most HDMI source components] including Blu-ray Disc players, DVD players, digital cable and satellite boxes, gaming consoles and digital media players

The Zettaguard is a four-port into one output HDMI switch. The included remote control is very thin and lightweight. With 4K functionality at 60hz, this makes this switch a particularly tempting buy for anyone with 4K streaming services or a high-end gaming rig.

The included cables are not too long, which makes it great for reducing cord clutter. The LED lights go on to tell you which port is currently active and sending a signal. It’s also HDCP compliant making it a wonderful choice for anyone suffering from unnecessary copyright issues.

4K 3-Port HDMI Switch

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HDMI Switch,GANA 3 Port 4K HDMI Switch 3x1 Switch Splitter with Pigtail Cable Supports Full HD 4K 1080P 3D Player
  • Smart Manual Operation Switch- has the key-press-switching function
  • 3-Port HDMI Switch - 3 HDMI ports in and 1 out for various HDMI devices, such as Xbox 360, PS3, Beamer, DVB Receivers, Blu-ray Player, Apple TV, Laptop, HDTV/HD Monitor.
  • HDTV 4K (3840x2160P) / 30Hz resolution, HDMI 1.4 Compatible, 3D display supported.

For the price, this is perhaps the best value HDMI switch you can find. It may only have three input ports but it is still capable of handling 3D and 4K images.

The biggest downside with the Gana is that it has no remote control. However, if you don’t mind pressing the button on the device itself, this is still a reliable and well-made machine that still does a whole lot of simplifying for your electronics setup.

4K 4-Port PIP HDMI Switch

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Zettaguard 4K x 2K 4 Port 4 x 1 HDMI Switch with PIP and IR Wireless Remote Control, HDMI Switcher Hub Port Switches (ZW410)
  • Connects up to 4 HDMI source components to a single HDMI input, Switches between HDMI ports with included remote for impressive picture quality
  • Supports video format up to 4k2k@60hz with 24bit RGB/YCBCR 4:4:4/YCBCR 4:2:2; Supports LPCM 7.1CH, Dolby Trued, and DTS-HD Master Audio
  • Compatible with most HDMI source components Including Blu-ray Disc players, DVD players, digital cable and satellite boxes, gaming consoles and digital media players.

The second Zettaguard I had a look at comes with a great feature the others didn’t have. Not only does it have 4K and four ports but it has the PIP mode function. It stands for Picture in Picture and it allows you to have multiple screens from all your inputs all at once. This allows for faster switching and allows you to keep an eye on multiple media simultaneously.

Best HDMI Splitters

1080p 2-Port HDMI Splitter

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1 x 2 HDMI Splitter V1.3 Powered 1080P Certified Duplicate/Mirror Screen Monitor Supports 3D High Resolutions - 1 Source onto 2 Same Displays
  • Split one HDMI input signal to two HDMI output signals identical to the input signal
  • Supported Audio: LPCM,Dolby-AC3, DTS7.1, DSD/Dolby TrueHD/DTS-HD master audio,Essentially all available audio options are supported
  • The heavy-duty cool metal enclosure protects the insides and keeps the unit cool by aiding in quick heat absorption and dissipation

This is a simple but effective two port HDMI splitter. I found the box itself to be a bit on the bulky side but it will still work well with any TV set up you have going on. I recommend this to anyone who doesn’t’ venture past 1080p. It can handle this quality image just fine and will work well with any TV or screen projector.

4K 2-Port HDMI Splitter

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HDMI Splitter 1 in 2 Out - Techole 4K Aluminum Ver1.4 HDCP, Powered HDMI Splitter Supports 3D 4K@30HZ Full HD1080P for Xbox PS4 PS3 Fire Stick Roku Blu-Ray Player Apple TV HDTV - Cable Included
  • HDMI Splitter 1 in 2 out - Techole Aluminum HDMI splitter distributes audio and video signal from a single source to two HDMI displays simultaneously, and create impressive high-definition presentations. NO lag, NO flash or drop in resolution.
  • Long Distance Transmission - The HDMI splitter provides 10.2 Gbps bandwidth for wide-ranging use. With the AWG26 HDMI standard cable, the distance between input and output could reach up to 100ft ( Input 40ft, Output 60ft). Allow you duplicate the screen to different rooms.(Can not extend monitors)
  • Wide Compatibility - Compatible with HDMI 1.4/ 1.3/ 1.2, support HDCP 1.4(will not bypass HDCP), Techole HDMI splitter suitable for most devices with standard HDMI interface. Input: Computer, XBox 360, XBox one, PS3, PS4 Pro, Fire Stick, Blu-Ray DVD player, Satellite Receiver, Route Roku, Chromecast, PC, Projectors etc. Output: HD-Ready, Full HsD TVs, Apple TV, Samsung TV, monitors etc.

If you only want two screens displayed but want both of them to be 4K then this is the splitter for you. This HDMI splitter can handle two UHD resolution screens with no lag or drops in pixel density. For the price, this is an impressive deal. I was extremely impressed by the performance of this box and you probably will be too.

4K 4-Port HDMI Splitter

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KELIIYO Hdmi Splitter 1 in 4 Out V1.4b Powered Hdmi Video Splitter With AC Adaptor Duplicate/Mirror Screen Monitor Supports Ultra HD 1080P 2K and 3D Resolutions (1 Input to 4 Outputs)
  • 【1x4 Hdmi Splitter】This Hdmi splitter 1 input 4 output duplicate 1 HDMI input signal to 4 identical HDMI output signals, transmit video and audio simultaneously without any quality loss. Note: NOT hdmi switch 4 input 1 output, can't switch 4 signal source on one display.
  • 【High Compability】Keliiyo 4 way Hdmi Splitter supports full HD 1080P and 3D resolutions, it can reach up to 3840x2160@30Hz, deep color 408i/576i/576p/720p/1080i/1080P, worked perfectly with computer, laptop, PS3 game, Blu-ray DVD, tablet pc, projectors, full HD TVs, etc.
  • 【Material& Transmission】Keliiyo hdmi audio splitter made of tough metal material, anti-oxidation & anti-corrosion input and output port give stable signal transmissions. Use the AWG26 HDMI standard cable and AC adapter to connect your HDMI devices,the transmission distance can up to 100ft(Input 40 ft and output 60ft but cable NOT included)

If two screens just aren’t enough for you then you will have to consider going with the Keliiyo HDMI splitter. This is the best multi-port HDMI splitter I’ve ever had the pleasure of using. This machine is perfect for duplicating slideshows at a business meeting and it is even better for multiple screens at a movie or gaming party. If you happen to have four 4K TVs just lying around then you have absolutely no excuse to not get this. I’ll even go as far as to say the same thing about having four 1080p TVs.

Bonus: HDMI Splitter/Switch Hybrid

Hybrid HDMI Splitter and Switch

Sale
HDMI Switch 4K HDMI Splitter-Techole Aluminum Bi-Directional HDMI Switcher 2 Input 1 Output, HDMI Switch Splitter 2 x 1/1 x 2. No External Power Required, Supports 4K 3D HD 1080P for Xbox PS4 Roku HDTV
  • PLUG AND PLAY: This HDMI switch is easy to setup and operate. No external power supply needed, just connect your HDMI devices to enjoy! Simple press of a button to swap signal within one second, and the LED light tells you which port is active.
  • UPGRADED HDMI SWITCH: Solid Aluminum Alloy construction, Techole durable HDMI bi-directional splitter help you connect two HDMI sources to one HDMI display, or connect one HDMI source to toggle between two displays two screens CANNOT display simultaneously.
  • FAST & STABLE TRANSMITTION: The HDMI Switch provides high bandwidth 10.2Gbps data transmission, Input and output AWG26 HDMI standard cable length could reach up to 5m. No lag, No loss of picture or sound quality. HDMI Cable NOT Included.

Lastly, I want to talk about this very cool hybrid device I recently found called Techole’s HDMI Switch Splitter hybrid. As the name implies, it can act as a splitter and from the push of a button it turns, or switches, into a switch. This is a very clever invention and I would definitely recommend it for anyone who is on a low budget but wants the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, it only has 2 input ports and the splitter function can’t display two screens at once. It effectively acts as a screen switcher rather than a real splitter, but it’s still an interesting and handy tool.

Conclusion

That about wraps up everything I have to say about HDMI switches and splitters. If you’ve made it this far then surely you have already been convinced about the great benefits you can get by investing in one of these ultra-convenient tools. It’s hard imagining myself going back to old TV or gaming habits without a switch or splitter, and I’m sure you’ll see what I mean if you do yourself a big favor and pick one up soon.

Last update on 2019-09-20 at 06:15 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author Edwin

Edwin "The Streaming Dutchman" has been streaming IPTV and grabbing the latest media from torrents and Usenet for countless years. When he isn't streaming (or writing about it), he enjoys cooking and traveling.

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