How to setup Dual Monitors with HDMI Splitter

Last Updated on August 2, 2022 by Markeyus Franks

You can easily setup dual monitors with an HDMI Splitter by knowing the exact configuration you need. People purchase HDMI splitters when they want to duplicate their screen to one or more monitors/TV’s. It’s very important to know that this is not the same as extending your computer monitor screen.

When people hear the term Dual Monitor setup, they often think of two monitors side by side with the capability of extending their laptop or desktop screen. What they don’t think of is the option to duplicate monitors or TV’s. If you want a bunch of monitors and TV’s with the same display, then you will need an HDMI splitter, but if you want to just extend your monitor to a second or even third screen then you will need an HDMI adapter.

An HDMI Splitter is often confused with an HDMI adapter. Many customers will purchase an HDMI splitter thinking its is an HDMI adapter. In this article we will explain the difference and get you on the right track

Many people use dual monitors for work, home, and other computer-related activities. Let’s just be honest, it’s hard to get multiple things done on just one monitor, That’s why in the early 2000s many corporations switched to using two monitors instead of just one.

With the drastic increase in applications over the past 20 years, using dual monitors is actually the most productive way to accomplish work. In this article, we will discuss how to set up dual monitors with an HDMI splitter.

Let’s gets some clarity on the subject of using an HDMI Splitter.

An HDMI Splitter is a device used to duplicate a picture. Take for instance, you want to two TV’s to run the same picture from your cable box. In that particular scenario, you will use an HDMI Splitter. Many people get this confused and think an HDMI Splitter is the same as an HDMI adapter. More often than not customers will waste time and money purchasing an HDMI splitter for their dual monitor setup only to figure out that it was not the right product. Here is a popular HDMI Splitter on Amazon

An HDMI Adapter- This particular device is used to duplicate and extend your picture. The keyword here is extend. With an adapter you not only have the option to duplicate, but you can extend different monitors. This is what the masses are looking for. The Adapter will consist of 2 HDMI input ports( 1 for each monitor) on one end and either a USB-C or regular USB cable that plugs into your computer. Here is a popular USB-C adapter on Amazon and a popular USB adapter on Amazon also. This will surely get you on your way to having multiple monitors.

An HDMI Switch- This device is for when you want to hook up multiple devices to one HDMI port. This is a handy device to use if you don’t have many HDMI ports on your TV. Although similar to an HDMI extender, this device will switch between different HDMI inputs to play what you want. Take for instance, you want to hook up your PS5 and Xbox S at the same time, but you don’t have any more HDMI inputs on your TV. Here is a popular HDMI Switch on Amazon

Related: How to connect two computers to one monitor

How to connect an HDMI Adapter to your computer?

If you have two dual monitors and want to set them up to extend your laptop or computer then you will need to purchase an HDMI adapter or a USB adapter. This will give you the capability to use two monitors with your laptop or computer. Now if you have multiple inputs on your laptop or computer that matches the connection in the back of your monitors such as an RGB and an HDMI input then you would not have to get an HDMI adapter, but this is rare.

For example: In the back monitor A, There is a RGB output and you have an RGB input on your laptop, then you can connect monitor A to your laptop.

In the Back of Monitor B, There is a HDMI output and you have an HDMI input on your laptop, then you can connect monitor B to your laptop

This is the older way to setup dual monitors. Generally an HDMI adapter is needed to setup two monitors.


The reason a person would need an HDMI adapter is if their laptop only has one HDMI input port and no RGB input, which is most laptops.

  1. Make sure your monitor has an HDMI port on the back of it. Most modern day monitors will come with a least one HDMI port. If you don’t have an HDMI port, but you do have an RGB or DVI then you will have to get a converter.
  1. Purchase a good HDMI adapter. Here’s a good one
    from Amazon. If your laptop has a USB-C input, then here is a good HDMI to USB-C connector on Amazon. Also, make sure you purchase a few good HDMI cords.
  2. Connect one end of the first HDMI cord to the back of the first monitor and the other end into the adapter.
  3. Connect one end the second HDMI cord to the back of the second monitor and the other end into the adapter
  4. Connect the HDMI out on the adapter to your computer via USB or USB-C cable

Video of How to setup Dual Monitors with an HDMI Adapter

Video on how to setup an actual HDMI Splitter

How to Setup Display Settings for your Dual Monitors

Now that you have both monitors hooked up, its time to set up how you want your monitors to display. The most common display Setting is to extend your monitor from your laptop or desktop screen, but when using dual monitors, many people will just use the two monitors instead of using their laptop.

Below will go over different display varations

Extended Monitors with the laptop open

• In this scenario the Main Display will be your laptop screen. The dual monitors will be an extension of the original laptop screen. So now there is essentially three monitors to work with

Extended Monitor with laptop closed

This is a common practice as well. Many people want to just use two external monitors with their laptops closed. Let’s go over how to get this done:

1. Physically connect two monitors to your laptop with an HDMI cable adapter.

2. Navigate to your display setting and choose how you want to appear
( duplicate or extend mode)

ON your laptop press the search button and type in sleep. After typing in sleep, settings will appear and you will see the power & sleep option. Click on the option additional power settings. Once in additional power settings, you will see an option that says “Choose what closing the does” Select ” Do nothing under on battery and plugged in.

Please Note: Some newer computers will automatically detect a monitor and will turn the monitor on automatically shortly after you close your laptops’ lid.

Duplicate monitors

This is usually the default setting when first hooking up an extra monitor. In this setting, both monitors will duplicate each other. As soon a your computer detects a new monitor it should automatically start in a duplicate mode. The new monitor will duplicate your current laptop.

If your monitor does not come on, make sure its connected properly and navigate to display settings – Multiple Displays and click duplicate monitors.

Conclusion:

This is how you essentially setup dual monitors with HDMI splitter. The process is relatively easy and quick. Here is a quick Rule of thumb, if you just want to duplicate your screen and play the same content on multiple monitors ( Similar to a display demo, store, or restaurant) then you will need an HDMI splitter. If you have a laptop or desktop and want to extend your monitors so that you have more display real-estate then you will need an HDMI adapter. Hopefully, this article helped you out today.

3 comments
  1. Thank you so much! I purchased two “splitters” because I did not understand the difference between “splitter” and “adapter” also very vague descriptions on Amazon. One did not work at all. I finally found a cheap adapter and hope it will work when it arrives, thank you so much! Great information!

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