Last Updated on April 30, 2023 by Markeyus Franks
An HDMI is a digital connection that carries multi-channel audio, video, and control signals through one cable. An HDMI port provides high-definition visual images larger than 1,000 pixels on your screen, typically 60 Hz. HDMI ports are used for HD video and audio and connect your television, monitor, or other devices with an HDMI cable. Whether you’re hooking up a Blu-ray player, streaming a movie from Netflix, or connecting your favorite HDMI-enabled device to a TV, an HDMI port is essential. HDMI ports can also be used to connect your computer to another device.
HDMI ports are becoming more popular because they are the future of television. With HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 1.4, TVs can be easy to connect to smartphones and other devices. The HDMI 1.4 ULTRA HDM ports are universal, delivering the highest level of digital video, audio, and data communication available through a single cable. The HDMI 1.4 delivers up to 3.1Gb/s video and audio with the latest HDTV resolutions, including WUXGA 1920 x 1200 (1120p) Full High Definition (HD), and 12-bit 4:4:4 Pure Color technology.
Why does my TV not have Enough HDMI Ports?
A TV with multiple HDMI ports is a great investment because it allows you to connect your favorite devices to the TV. A lot of TVs have only one HDMI port, which can make it hard to connect a variety of audio and video equipment. However, you may require more ports if you want to connect a lot of devices at once. Ideally, the number of HDMI ports on a TV should match the number of devices that you want to use it with. Some TVs have too few ports; in those cases, you will need to buy additional equipment that adds more such ports and allow you to connect multiple devices to your TV. A TV with five or more active HDMI ports is called “high-performance.” High-performance TVs are better able to uncompressed video inputs, so they will show clear images with little or no delay.
How to add More HDMI ports to my TV?
For TVs with an inadequate number of HDMI ports, you would need a switch that acts like a hub of multiple HDMI switches and allows you to connect multiple devices to that hub. This saves you from the hassle of connecting and disconnecting devices every time you want to change the source of the media. For TVs without multiple HDMI ports, HDMI switches are a relatively much cheaper solution to massively increase the connectivity options of your TV.
What is an HDMI Switch?
An HDMI Switch looks very much like a USB hub or extender but differs a lot in terms of utility. The nature of a TV display is such that it can project signals from a single source at a time. There are options in a TV display to change the source for different kinds of signals. Switches exploit this nature of TV displays to get connected to the single HDMI port on your TV.
An HDMI Switch may come with four or more HDMI ports in the hub where you can connect devices like streaming media players or gaming stations and comes with a button that allows users to switch between the active ports. You might have all the devices powered up but you can control the signal you want to be displayed on the TV through that button.
What is an HDMI Splitter?
Unlike an HDMI switch, an HDMI splitter works to extend signals from a single source to multiple displays. Using a splitter you can clone what you are viewing into one display to more displays. HDMI splitters are essential when users are in different rooms or locations but within a close vicinity and need to have the same content displayed on different devices. A splitter is particularly useful in hospitals where nurses at different desks need to monitor the vitals of all the patients or at public places like train stations where the same train schedule needs to be displayed at multiple locations within the perimeters of the station. Similar to an HDMI Switch, a Splitter can support more than one splits and usually need a power source to work.
HDMI Switch VS HDMI Splitter?
HDMI Switch and Splitters both multiply user options but they do it differently. While a Switch enables connectivity to multiple sources but keeps the display device the same, a Splitter enables a single signal to be carried to multiple display devices. Their utilities are different and a Switch operates on a simple mechanism that involves activating and deactivating its ports on request. It doesn’t boost or reduce the quality of the transmission from any of the source equipment that is connected to it.
A Splitter on the other hand needs to clone a transmission and hence usually employs a signal booster to compensate for any loss of quality while cloning the available transmission. An HDMI Splitter also uses several technologies like EDID or Extended Display Identification Data that ensure automatic resolution choosing of the display devices and HDCP or High-bandwidth Digital Control Protection that improves compatibility with different display devices. While both of these devices do support transmission over longer distances, a Splitter finds its use in commercial platforms while a Switch is a more personal piece of equipment. Price-wise, an HDMI Switch is a cheaper piece of equipment in comparison to HDMI Splitters.
Let’s now look at some HDMI Switches that you can get for yourself if your TV does not have multiple ports
While still not counted amongst the elites, Kinivo has been making a name for itself for quite a few years now in the world of PC peripherals. They make quality products and the HDMI switch here supports five HDMI ports and a wide range of devices such as projectors and laptops, all the latest gaming consoles, the latest media streaming devices, and even regular DVD and Blu-ray players.
Kinivo HDMI Switch has full support for Full HD resolution and even supports 4K at a reduced 30 Hz refresh rate. It comes with a manual switch and also supports auto-switching between signals. Additionally, there is support for 3D viewing tech and multi-channel audio.
The OREI Ultra HDMI Switch goes a bit light on a pocket but is high on utility. This switch supports UHD signals at 60Hz and also supports connections over ARC HDMI. The available bandwidth is higher than the Kinivo Switch above at 18 Gbps in comparison to Kinivo’s 10 Gbps. The device has a robust build and comes with a remote to switch the ports in addition to auto and manual switch controls.
Orei Ultra HDMI Switch supports multiple audio formats like Dolby, DTS, LPCM, DTS HD, and multi-channel audio. It also supports lossless audio over HDMI ARC and users can enjoy True DTS sounds on sound bards. Unlike the Kinivo Switch, this one needs external power to work but does support an extensive list of devices ranging from gaming consoles to entertainment hubs.
Our next pick is an extremely highly rated multi-functional HDMI switch that supports five HDMI input ports and outputs through an ARC-enabled HDMI port. The Skycorp HD5 Port supports most devices over HDMI 2.0 connections ranging from game consoles to streaming devices. The switch also supports 3.5 aux output audio EDID mode over dual and 5.1 audio channels. Additionally, there is support for Optical output as well.
As for display support, the Skycrop HD5 port supports 4K at 60Hz, HDCP 2.2, HDR10, and UHD resolutions. Other regular features such as manual and auto-switching and ARC over audio are also supported. However, audio profiles such as DTS, Dolby Audio, or HD Audio support are absent while the build is robust with bright LED to indicate active connections.
Our last pick that is the cheapest of the lot but ticks all the basic boxes is the NewCare HDMI Switch with a simple hassle-free design and extremely limited functionality. It has just three HDMI ports and an uninspiring design with just a manual switch button and a single LED display. However, for all the fewer frills, this switch does support the transmission of 4K at 60Hz and UHD resolutions.
The ports conform to HDMI 2.0 standards and hence support a variety of devices. There is support for HDR but a lack of support for high-quality audio such as DTS or Dolby. It does not need any external power similar to the Kinivo HDMI Switch but has a flimsy build that makes it susceptible to rough use.
HDMI Switches are extremely nifty pieces of equipment that come in handy if you have a TV that might be a bit old in terms of connectivity options but still has a great display. Most HDMI switches cost just a fraction of a new TV set but add a lot in terms of capabilities to aging TV sets. Getting a new TV altogether could be a costly affair for many. An HDMI Switch ticks the right boxes and can turn your old TV with a single HDMI port ready to connect to multiple HDMI-enabled devices. Get an HDMI Switch today and fire up that Roku Stick right away.