HDMI Splitter: What you should know before you buy

HDMI Splitter Back Panel

HDMI splitter allows you to take one video source and split it into multiple locations. This could mean transmitting the signal over cable to two rooms or connecting ten or more TV screens together. There are HDMI splitting limitations, but for the most part, they do exactly what you’d expect.

What is HDMI Splitter?

An HDMI splitter is a fairly simple technology that allows you to transfer audio-visual data from one HDMI source to two HDMI receivers. This can be useful in situations where you have a TV and sound system. That you want to connect an external source to, but your devices don’t have HDMI ARC or eARC. It can also be useful if you want to display content from one source on multiple TVs.

When would you use an HDMI splitter?

There are many scenarios where an HDMI splitter can come in handy. The most common use of an HDMI splitter is when you have separate audio and video devices. Or when you want to map output to multiple devices. The specific application will determine if you need an active or passive HDMI splitter.

Passive HDMI Splitters

For most basic applications, where all HDMI connections will be routed to a TV console or similar small space, a passive HDMI splitter will suffice (link to Amazon.com ). As long as the signal has not been altered by interference, it should pass without a noticeable difference.

In case of outputting audio from a single source to audio and video, an HDMI splitter should be your last resort. A much more preferred way to connect devices is to take advantage of HDMI ARC or eARC. This will require your display device and your audio device to have an HDMI ARC or eARC port. This is usually marked next to the port itself.

To set it up, connect the external source to either a display device or an audio device on a different channel. It is generally recommended to use the device with the most HDMI ports as the center device. Then connect your display device and audio device to the HDMI ARC or eARC ports.

If you have HDMI ARC instead of HDMI eARC. You will need to check your device manual to enable it on each device. If you have HDMI eARC on all of your devices, the setup will be automatic.

The advantage of using HDMI ARC or eARC over an HDMI splitter is that it allows the benefits of Consumer Electronic Control or CEC. This allows you to use one of your device’s remote controls to control all of your devices. It also syncs your devices so that they all share the same volume.

Active HDMI Splitter

Active HDMI Splitters

You will need an active HDMI splitter (link to Amazon.com) if you are outputting to more than two destinations or if you are running long cables.

As mentioned earlier, when you split any electronic signal, the resulting signals will be weaker than the original. If you divide it by more than two, the signal becomes too weak. In addition, an attenuated signal, even one suitable for short lengths, may be more susceptible to interference over long cable runs

An active HDMI splitter allows you to split the original HDMI signal without noticeable loss of signal integrity. This allows the HDMI signal to be split multiple times, with some splitters having up to eight outputs. It also means you are less likely to pick up RF interference.

How HDMI splitters work

HDMI splitters like this one from Amazon are a handy tool that can save you hundreds of dollars (or more!). In commercial spaces such as an office or restaurant. There are certain situations where the owner might need a dozen or more screens. demonstrating the same. And while HDMI splitters can do the job (and do it well), today we’re going to discuss smaller HDMI splitting scales.

Home Use

There is a home use of HDMI splitting that can save you. The average consumer, a bundle if you just want to get your content out on different screens. For example, if you have a home theater system as well as a TV in the bedroom; If you have a lounge, study, or living area with screens. Anyway, when you need to get the content you want on both screens at the same time, an HDMI splitter comes in handy.

This can be very handy if you have a service like DISH Television or Cable TV that is distributed in only one place. Such as one cable box. These services charge you for a second set-top box. And so simply splitting that signal in two can save you literally hundreds of dollars in hardware and subscription costs.

But unlike other cables, HDMI splitters have a hard job to do. HDMI signals carry audio and video … sometimes very high quality audio and video. What’s more, they also provide two-way communication between the screen and the content source. This is achieved through EDID related signals.

In short, there are some things that need to be done correctly in order for HDMI splitting to work. It’s no surprise that powered HDMI splitters exist, such as the HDMI 4k 1 x 2 OREI Splitter (on Amazon). These are really small specialized computers that need to play the HDMI signal (high definition, EDID, and everything else) before sending it to two devices.

Pros and Cons of HDMI Splitters

Pros of HDMI splitters

Cost savings

HDMI splitters allow you to take a signal from a content provider you paid for. Such as a cable company, and split it across multiple screens. This means you only need one subscription and cable box to broadcast a big soccer game on TV in the main room as well as in the bedroom. For example, For a device that can easily cost less than a hundred dollars, HDMI splitters can pay off very quickly if they help you avoid re-contract or subscription costs over time.

More simplicity and control

if you’re here because you control more than one big, beautiful screen in your home, then you know how hassle it can be to hook up home theater systems in general. When it comes to putting all the content in the right place, that’s enough for one main screen, which might require a surround system, receiver, and other equipment.

With an HDMI splitter in the mix, you now have a new tool that lets you do some very interesting things. Consider connecting your splitter to multiple HDMI wireless devices. With these tools, you can now launch all of your content in one place, for example, in the same closet with all of your equipment that simply transmits HDMI signals wirelessly.

Cons of HDMI splitters

Resolution Limits

One of the drawbacks of using HDMI splitters is that the splitter itself limits the use of HDMI EDID information. and this is also mentioned above, but without going into details, the basic idea is that the screen you are connected to, phones with an HDMI source to tell it what resolution is. If you are using a splitter and sending a signal to two screens, it is obvious that they may have different resolutions! Even active HDMI splitters stumble at this step.

When reporting two different EDID resolutions, the splitter should reduce the resolution to match the lowest one. This means that a splitter connected to a 4K TV and a 1080p TV will send 1080p to both of them.

Cable interference

Since you are using a splitter specifically to transmit video somewhere, at least some distance from the source, you are probably using very long HDMI cables. The maximum effective length for HDMI cables is about fifty feet, and after that, the length of the cable itself can start to interfere with the signal. If you plan to split the signal and run it around the house, those fifty feet add up quickly.

Common Question Answered

Do HDMI splitters really work?

HDMI splitters definitely do what they say by splitting a single HDMI source across multiple screens in a way that you can save hundreds on additional equipment and content subscriptions.

HDMI splitter reduces quality?

HDMI splitters do not automatically degrade as they copy digital signals. However, using inferior quality equipment or HDMI splitter without power is not a guarantee. Splitters used with very long HDMI cables may have signal quality problems due to the length of the cable.

HDMI splitters add latency?

HDMI splitters will add some lag, but it’s on the order of milliseconds. You may have a latency of, say, 2ms, but it is so short that you will not notice it. Just remember to use a powered HDMI splitter to make splitting happen so quickly.

Do I need a powered HDMI splitter?

We definitely recommend using a powered HDMI splitter because this not only guarantees high-quality copying of digital signals, but generally also amplifies that signal, reducing the chance of interference due to the longer cable length.

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