11 of The Best HDMI Splitters for Multiple Devices
Switch seamlessly between 4K and HD with one of these great HDMI splitters and switchers
The most convenient way to view various devices with only one screen is to buy yourself one of these best HDMI switchers, because you won’t find better value for money anywhere else. Our selection ranges from simple a three slot splitter all the way up to professional 8 port adaptors that advertisers and corporations use, to suit the needs of both home and business use. If you need an HDMI splitter or switch we’ve got the best of both on our list just to make sure you won’t miss out.
Comparison of the Top HDMI Switchers & Splitters
|Picture||Model||Max Resolution||Ports||Our Rating|
|Kinivo 501BN 5 Port HDMI Switch||1920 x 1080 (HD)||5||5|
|Monoprice 5X1 Enhanced HDMI Switch||1920 x 1080 (HD)||5||4.99|
|Etekcity 4K 4 Port High Speed HDMI Splitter||4096 x 2160 (4K)||4||4.97|
|OREI HD-501 5x1 5-Port HDMI Powered Splitter||1920 x 1080 (HD)||5||4.96|
|IOGEAR 3-Port HD Audio/Video Switch||1920 x 1080 (HD)||3||4.95|
|MASSCOOL HS-MA103 Mini HDMI Amplifier Splitter||1920 x 1080 (HD)||3||4.92|
|J-Tech Digital JTD-PRO-4x8 Switch & Splitter||4096 x 2160 (4K)||8||4.90|
|Fosmon HD1832 Intelligent 5-Port HDMI Switch||1920 x 1080 (HD)||5||4.88|
|Sewell 3x1 HDMI Switch||1920 x 1080 (HD)||3||4.87|
|AV Access HDMI Extender||4096 x 2160 (4K)||1||4.84|
|C&E Ultra High Performance HDMI Splitter||1920 x 1080 (HD)||3||4.80|
Table of Contents
- 1. Kinivo 501BN Premium 5 Port HDMI Splitter
- 2. Monoprice 5X1 Enhanced HDMI Switch
- 3. Etekcity 4K 4 Port High Speed HDMI Splitter
- 4. OREI HD-501 5×1 5-Port HDMI Powered Splitter
- 5. IOGEAR 3-Port HD Audio/Video HDMI Switch
- 6. MASSCOOL HS-MA103 Mini HDMI Amplifier Splitter
- 7. J-Tech Digital JTD-PRO-4×8 Switch & Splitter
- 8. Fosmon HD1832 Intelligent 5 Port HDMI Switch
- 9. Sewell 3×1 HDMI Switch
- 10. AV Access HDMI Extender
- 11. C&E Ultra High Performance HDMI Splitter
- What are HDMI Switchers Used For?
- What is the difference between HDMI Switchers and Splitters?
- Do All HDMI Switchers Need Power?
- Understanding HDCP & HDMI Switchers
What are HDMI Switchers Used For?
HMDI switchers are used to view various products working with only one screen, one at a time. There are various reasons why you would want to apply one of these items, for all manner of work and pleasure, but owning an switcher is all about convenience. Less hassle and more free time spend relaxing in front of your favourite shows! Below are a few applications of HDMI switchers:
Multiple PCs: when you are working with two or more computers you might want to utilize of of the items mentioned, instead of buying fully kitted computers, so that you can spare costs on the screen and other products. The HDMI switch will allow you to seamlessly shift from working on one computer to another without having to leave your seat; for example, if you run a dedicated server from one PC you probably won’t have to access it that often, but when you do it would be better to not have to scramble underneath your desk to connect your screen to it.
Instead of buying a brand new keyboard, mouse and other peripheral products, you can simply work from a wireless set that you change from one computer to another as often as you need to. This can save time because you aren’t having to change cables over, it can save space and money because you won’t have to find a place for an extra monitor.
Streaming: if you want to be able to watch streamed content from a media devices such as a Roku box, you might have a compatibility problem with your T.V. screen, and this is where a HDMI switcher comes in handy. You can plug your T.V. in to the switch, and plug the product into the Roku device, and this bypasses the HD-CP limitations on either of your devices. You can change between watching regular wired television and your favourite streaming sites similar to Netflix with just the touch of a button.
Although it is not strictly legal, you can also link up your changer to a computer and record live television through the HCP workaround. You could have a laptop, desktop pc, cable television, Roku device and a PlayStation all plugged in to the same product, and this will be far easier than having to get behind your T.V. each time you want to change the display to a separate source.
Gaming / Live Streaming: some people dream of making a living from showing off their gaming expertise and sense of humour to the online community, but there is one problem that often stands in the way. The large issue that console gamers and YouTubers have is not being able to link their PlayStation or Xbox up to the television with an HDMI cable because the gadgets are not compatible with one another.
This oversight can be accounted for the streaming problem, although the video feed is being blocked from exporting signal rather than importing it. Instead of not being able to get your game to display on the screen, you will not be able to get your video to stream live out to a site similar to YouTube or Twitch.
This gadget changer allows you to get around the problem and stream right from your PlayStation or Xbox while you play, so that you can give live commentary instead of having to add recorded voice later on during editing. This will make your content more genuine, and you can react to game-play in real time!
Image / Video Editing: if you work on creative or commercial content in the imaging or cinematographic world, working on two computers can be very useful. Having an HDMI switch that you can utilize to refer back to your source imagery or a previous run of your video will save you a lot of free time and energy that you would be utilizing between windows on a single PC.
Another advantage of having two computers in these lines of work is that you have more free processing energy devoted to single tasks. Instead of having one computer take on the load of all your programs, you can have two less powerful computers that you assign several uses for. One can be for creating a database of your content, and the other can be for editing it, or simply as a backup should anything go wrong with your core files.
Surveillance: keeping security camera footage is a big job in the modern world, and working with a whole system of cameras and computers can often get messy. Especially if you have hq surveillance equipment and want to install your own private system, having a changer will let you automatically run through the displays of these various cameras. If you are ever unsure about how to get a surveillance system to work you can always go through a company, but the less people you grant access to your footage and your security the better!
As you can see there are lots of varied uses for the HDMI switcher, so no matter who you are, this is an essential tool for the digital age.
What is the difference between HDMI Switchers and Splitters?
The HDMI switcher as we described above is intended to change between various unique inputs, for example from watching regular television to your Xbox One when you want to play games, to your laptop when you want to watch your family holiday movie. Using a switcher is helpful in that you don’t have to get up and change the HDMI cable between your screen and the various gadgets each time, and this saves you a lot of extra effort.
Key feature: many inputs, one output.
A HDMI control works nearly the exact opposite way around – it takes a single input, and splits that feed up into several outputs. When you want to have a lot of screens showing the same video or image, you would utilize an HDMI splitter instead of a switch.
Key feature: one input, various outputs.
So now that you know what these two bits of technology do, you may be wondering where one of these would be useful if it can only duplicate one single data feed. There are three main areas that we can imagine.
Home – having a T.V. screen in your lounge and your bedroom might be a reason to get an adaptor, because it will save you from doubling the cost of your subscription to whichever satellite company you are with. Say you have a teenage child who wants to be able to watch the same television programmes as you, but they would rather have the comfort of their own bed. This application can give them their personal space without much extra cost to you, but be prepared for nagging if you’re watching something they find ‘totally boring’.
Business – think of a conference room that you want to fill with various screens all playing a company video. Instead of setting up a complex Local Area Network (LAN) to computers that would have to be linked up to the monitors, you could simply feed a single input into an HDMI hub. That way you would have all of the screens synchronised perfectly to one another, and you could make the IT department’s life much easier.
Mass Advertising – have you ever been in a mall where there are endless screens playing the same adverts all day long in perfect harmony? They’re probably using a great splitter, because it simply wouldn’t be cost effective to dedicate a media player to each screen when nobody will be maintaining them day after day. Having a streamlined product makes streaming advertising at large locations including malls and public attractions a much more manageable task.
If you can think of another application for a hub why not let us know in the comments below? We’d be interested to have your take on where else they could be put to use.
Do All HDMI Switchers Need Power?
Yes, all HDMI switchers require some power source or other in order to work, because they constantly want to feed electrical signal from the various inputs to the outputs. If there was no power provided, there could be no flow of data in the HDMI cables, and this would be beside the point. There are three main types of power that we can see in HDMI switchers, including Alternating Current (AC), Universal Serial Bus (USB) as well as battery power which is less prevalent.
AC (Wall Socket)
Benefits: these are the most reliable energy sources because they come directly from the house or business power sockets. These are perfect for long term fixtures of these hubs because they will be able to operate as long as they are plugged in, and don’t have to be near a USB port.
Drawbacks: these are slightly more space consuming, and need to continually be plugged in so that they can work. If the energy fails, a unit on AC power will immediately shut off. This may not be a problem if you have a generator that you apply in the event of an emergency, but it can put a strain on things if you have limited energy adaptors when an outage occurs.
Benefits: whenever the display has power, your switch will have power, so you won’t have to worry about forgetting to turn on the wall plug. This saves space and keeps your cable hub close to the other devices you’re pairing it with.
Drawbacks: if you have no USB ports on your television or screen, you will want to power this type of changer with a laptop or power bank, which is a big draw back in terms of convenience and cost. You will also have to keep the switch rather close to the screen if it does have a USB slot, because USB cables are traditionally rather short.
Benefits: these units are portable because they don’t want to work with a wall plug or a separate USB wire, but they will inevitably be linked to the screen and other devices you want them to work with. You can work with battery powered units when there are no wall sockets or ample extensions around (such as outdoors), and still get the convenience of splitting or switching your HDMI signal.
Drawbacks: batteries can die, and replacing them can get expensive. You could buy rechargeable batteries to reduce your cost, but you are then looking at having to rotate sets of charging batteries to make sure you have some ready when the others fail. Battery pack units are most suited being left for intermittent professional use, not home or business where you will need a more permanent solution.
Understanding HDCP & HDMI Switchers
High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection is a legal standard that prevents gadgets from pairing in order to make sure that no video or sound content is being recorded. Because many older gadgets will not be HD-CP compliant they will simply show up with an error message and not allow you to control your console or streaming.
This can even happen when both your input and out are HD-CP compliant, for example with the PlayStation 3 and Playstation 4, which prevent you from being able to live stream content directly from your television to your YouTube channel, or directly into a capture program on your computer.
The result is that you will end up with poor quality video from using a VGA cable or an external capture card in your computer, and this will be as good as trying to start up YouTube channel with a point and shoot camera. The footage will be separate from the sound that you record if you’re providing commentary, and the whole experience will be frustrating to say the least. You want to be able to have the ability to record HD and even ultra-high definition (UHD, otherwise known as 4K) to really make a splash in the market these days.
High-bandwidth Content Protection technology is in place so that piracy doesn’t occur from recording live or recorded television shows, movies and other copy-write protected content. DCP is intended to prevent people from stealing content that other people pay to watch, but as we have mentioned it can get in the way of otherwise legal activities such as streaming your console gaming to YouTube or Twitch, or even recording your own videos from your console for later playback to show your friends.
You might be wondering why you don’t have this problem when you plug your laptop into the television with your HDMI cable, and the answer is rather simple. Personal computers usually do not need to be DCP compliant because they are thought to operate largely with your own content, and because of this they are less likely to require HD-CP. The problem arises when you have external tool that can connect to televisions or monitors, because this is where the compatibility issues begin. Over at HowToAV.tv, you can learn more about the technical aspects to HD-CP and why it poses problems to users:
One topic that the guys at HowToAV do not seem to talk about as in depth as they could have done is to discuss how to bypass the HD-CP issue. A great way to overcome it is by using an appropriate changer, because these do not show up as problems. Even when you don’t require more than one connection, using the right switches can override the HD-CP protocol of a screen to allow you to record footage directly from the T.V. screen in the highest pixel rate possible. Say goodbye to bad quality recordings: with these accessories you will soon be happily streaming and creating content!