HDMI Splitters ( What HDMI splitters are and how they work)

HDMI splitters are an integral accessory widely used to take digital signals from a single source and distributively broadcast them to multiple HDMI enabled displays.

HDMI splitters can be used to take HDMI audio and video signals and distribute them to many HDMI monitors for use in meetings and presentations, or they can also be used for everyday applications such as taking HDMI signals from your home entertainment system and distributing them over a set of televisions throughout the house.

HDMI splitters are most typically used in commercial applications because HDMI is quickly becoming the standard for audio and video delivery. HDMI splitters are widely used in meeting rooms, conference centers, sports bars, restaurants, arenas, and many more public spaces where dual monitor HDMI splitters as vital.

HDMI splitters can also be very useful at home when you wish to view HDMI content on two or more televisions. HDMI splitters commonly support HDMI high-resolution video up to 1080p, multi-channel digital audio, HDMI 1.3 features and are backward compatible with older HDMI versions.

Splitters are available in many configurations based upon the number of outputs supported by the splitter, HDMI version support, integrated amplification or not, cable type (copper or fiber), HDMI type support (HDCP, HDMI 1.3a, HDMI 1.4), and other features.

HDMI Splitters are also available in many forms, including rack mountable HDMI splitters, HDMI over IP splitters, HDMI matrix switch/switchers with multiple inputs to multiple outputs configurations using fiber optic HDMI cables.

Multiple HDMI monitors for presentations and meetings

One HDMI source distributed to multiple HDMI displays can also be achieved with HDMI switches as HDMI switches typically offer the same functionality as HDMI splitters, but HDMI splitters are more commonly used due to their lower cost and ease of use.

The main advantage HDMI Splitters have over HDMI Switches is that they do not require HDMI display devices to be manually turned on in order for the HDMI signal source to work. HDMI splitters are “hot pluggable”, which makes them more convenient than HDMI switches when used in applications where HDMI cables need to be swapped or connections require frequent changes .

HDMI splitters also do not require an external power supply, while HDMI switches do – HDMI splitters are powered by the HDMI signal source. HDMI switches can also switch or distribute HDMI signals to more than two outputs, as many as the HDMI switch contains inputs. HDMI Splitters distribute one HDMI signal source to two or more HDMI displays .

How HDMI Splitters work

HDMI splitters use a process called “electronic distribution” to distribute HDMI signals. HDMI signals are transmitted using TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signaling) technology which sends pixel data as a transition minimized differential signal over HDMI cables, and HDMI splitters will not alter these data transfers in any way .

HDMI sources have internal processing systems that communicate with each other via the HDMI cables to perform functions such as HDMI audio and video signal format conversions, HDMI CEC channel communications, HDMI HDCP decryptions and encrytpions, etc. HDMI splitters simply “pass through” the HDMI signal from the HDMI source to HDMI displays without altering this data in any way .

Electronic distribution is a process where digital signals are converted from a HDMI source to a electrical signal, transmitted as HDMI signals over HDMI cables, and then reconverted back into digital signals which are identical to the original HDMI data before it was converted into an HDMI signal .

HDMI splitters use HDMI switch ICs to perform this “pass through” process for HDMI signals.

For example: HDMI signals are passed through HDMI splitters unchanged because HDMI splitters “pass through” HDMI signals without altering the signal in any way .

An HDMI source sends HDMI signals to an HDMI splitter which converts (electronically distributes) these HDMI signals into data that can be transmitted over HDMI cables. This data consists of pixel values for video images and changes in values for HDMI audio signals .

These HDMI signals are then transmitted from the HDMI splitter to HDMI display devices using HDMI cables. When these HDMI signals reach HDMI displays, they are reconverted back into digital signals which consist of pixel data and HDMI audio data .

The HDMI displays use this digital signal information to recreate the image sent by the HDMI source on the HDMI display screen, and HDMI audio (if available) is reproduced by the HDMI display .

To summarize: HDMI splitters use HDMI switch ICs to allow one HDMI signal source to be distributed to multiple HDMI displays without altering the HDMI signal in any way.

This process occurs when an HDMI source sends its signals through HDMI splitters, HDMI switches in HDMI splitters then convert HDMI signal data into a different type of data that can be transmitted over HDMI cables .

This HDMI signal data is transmitted from the HDMI splitter to HDMI displays using HDMI cables. When this HDMI signal data reaches HDMI displays, it is reconverted back into digital signals which consist of pixel data and HDMI audio data .

The HDMI displays use this digital signal information to recreate the image sent by the HDMI source on the HDMI display screen, and HDMI audio (if available) is reproduced by the HDMI display.

To recap: HDMI splitters transmit one HDMI signal source to multiple HDMI displays, without altering any of the original data in any way, and HDMI splitters do this by using HDMI switches to electronically distribute HDMI signals.

This “electronic distribution” process occurs when an HDMI source sends its HDMI signals through HDMI splitters, HDMI switches in HDMI splitters then convert the HDMI signal data into a different type of data that can be transmitted over HDMI cables.

Why use an HDMI Splitter?

The main reason why most people use HDMI Splitters is because HDMI Splitters allow HDMI signals to be distributed to multiple HDMI displays without losing any HDMI signal information in the signal transmission. HDMI splitters also simplify the process of connecting HDMI sources and HDMI displays, especially when an HDMI source is located far away from an HDMI display .

Since there are no conversions or alterations made to HDMI signals while they are being transmitted through HDMI splitters, HDMI signals are not interrupted when they are being sent to HDMI displays .

Another benefit of HDMI Splitters is that HDMI Splitters are very easy to set up. There is no need for any special equipment or technical expertise in order to use HDMI Splitters.

For example, HDMI Splitters can be used to connect HDMI sources and HDMI displays that are located very far away from each other (this usually occurs when there is only one HDMI source located too far away from multiple HDMI displays).

HDMI Splitters can also be used to connect multiple HDMI sources to a single HDMI display; HDMI Splitter capabilities make this possible because they allow multiple HDMI signal sources to be connected to a single HDMI display. HDMI Splitters also have the ability to connect HDMI displays to HDMI sources that are offline, such as HDMI displays located on separate floors of a building from HDMI sources.

Overall, HDMI splitters allow HDMI signals to be distributed without losing any signal information from the original HDMI source, and this is done by using HDMI switches to distribute HDMI signals through HDMI splitters.

HDMI Splitters are very easy to set up, and HDMI Splitters can also connect HDMI displays to HDMI sources that are offline (like video game consoles); they can do this because HDMI splitters allow multiple HDMI signal sources to be connected to a single HDMI display.

What are the benefits of using a splitter (and what are the limitations)?

The benefits to using HDMI Splitters are that HDMI Splitters allow HDMI signals to be distributed without losing any HDMI signal information. HDMI splitters do this by using HDMI switches to distribute HDMI signals through HDMI splitters, and HDMI splitter capabilities make this possible because they allow multiple HDMI signal sources to be connected to a single HDMI display.

HDMI Splitters are also very easy to set up, HDMI Splitters can connect HDMI displays to HDMI sources that are offline (like video game consoles); HDMI splitters allow multiple HDMI signal sources to be connected to a single HDMI display.

Limitations of HDMI splitters are usually related to distance limitations between the HDMI source equipment and the HDMI displays. There is no capability for longer cable runs between HDMI sources and HDMI displays when HDMI splitters are used.

This is because HDMI Splitters must be located within 3 feet of an HDMI display to function properly. HDMI Splitters can also not be used with devices that do not use HDMI outputs, such as DVI or RCA connections without adapters.

The more HDMI Splitters that are used, the more HDMI signal splitting that occurs, which often results in a weaker HDMI signal being sent to HDMI displays after HDMI Splitters are used.

If HDMI Splitters are used too close to HDMI signal sources, then the HDMI signals being distributed may not be strong enough for HDMI displays to display an image. The quality of the HDMI Splitter is also important, HDMI Splitters that are of poorer quality may not be able to distribute HDMI signals without losing HDMI signal information.

The following are HDMI splitters that are available on the market today:

  • HDMI 1×2 Splitter
  • HDMI 1×4 Splitter
  • HDMI 2×1 Switcher
  • HDMI 4×1 Switcher
  • HDMI 1×8 Splitter
  • HDMI 3×1 Switcher

The HDMI 1X2 Splitter

The 1×2 HDMI splitter is the HDMI splitter with the most HDMI signal splitting capability. This HDMI Switcher can split HDMI signals four times or it can be used to output HDMI signals from one HDMI source to two HDMI displays.

The 1×4 HDMI Splitter

The 1×4 HDMI splitter is an HDMI switcher that has more than twice the amount of HDMI signal splitting capability than the HDMI 1×2 splitter. The HDMI 4×1 Switcher is HDMI switcher that splits an HDMI signal into four HDMI signals or it can be used to output HDMI signals from one HDMI source to four HDMI displays.

The 2×1 HDMI Switch

The HDMI 4×1 Switcher is an HDMI switcher that can split HDMI signals into four HDMI signals or it can output HDMI signals from one HDMI source to four HDMI displays. The HDMI 3×1 Switcher is an HDMI switch that splits HDMI signals into three HDMI signals or outputs HDMI signal from one HDMI source to three HDMI displays.

The 1×8 Splitter

The 1×8 HDMI splitter is an HDMI switcher that can split HDMI signals into eight HDMI signals or it can output HDMI signals from one HDMI source to eight HDMI displays.

The 3×1 Switcher

This HDMI switcher splits HDMI signals into three HDMI signals or outputs HDMI signals from one HDMI source to three HDMI displays.

  • Any HDMI Splitter that has HDMI 1×2 HDMI Splitting capabilities will be able to split HDMI signals into two HDMI signals
  • Any HDMI Switcher that has HDMI 4×1 HDMI splitting capabilities will be able to split HDMI signals into four HDMI signals
  • Any HDMI Switcher that has HDMI 3×1 or more than three ports for splitting will be able to split HDMI signals into three HDMI signals

The HDMI 1×2 HDMI splitter has the most HDMI signal splitting capability. This HDMI Splitter can split HDMI signals four times or it can output HDMI signals from one HDMI source to two HDMI displays. The 1×4, 3×1 Switcher and any other HDMI switchers that have HDMI 4×1 HDMI splitting capabilities can split HDMI signals into four HDMI signals. HDMI Switchers that have HDMI 1×8, 2×1, 3×1 HDMI signal splitting capabilities are all able to split HDMI signals into eight HDMI signals or output one HDMI source to eight HDMI displays.

The quality of the HDMI splitter is an important factor when HDMI Splitters are being bought. HDMI 1×4 HDMI splitters that are made with poor quality may not be able to distribute HDMI signals without losing HDMI signal information. HDMI Splitters that have an equal number of HDMI in and HDMI out ports should be used instead to ensure the best possible picture when HDMI Splitters are used, for example HDMI Splitters that have HDMI 1×2 HDMI signal splitting capabilities can be used to split HDMI signals instead of HDMI Switchers that also have four HDMI in ports and one HDMI out port.

How to set up your TV with different input sources.

To set up an HDMI Splitter, HDMI Switcher or HDMI Switch, HDMI Splitters that have HDMI 1×2 HDMI signal splitting capabilities are best used for distribution of HDMI signals. HDMI splitters can be set up by using male to female HDMI cables to extend the length of HDMI cables plugged into the HDMI ports on your HDMI splitter.

Step 1: When setting up HDMI Splitter, HDMI Switcher or HDMI Switch, first plug one end of the HDMI cable into HDMI port on your HDMI source device. Then connect the other end of this HDMI cable to HDMI input 1 on your HDMI Splitter, HDMI Switcher or HDMI switch.

Step 2: Next, use another HDMI cable and plug one end of this HDMI cable into HDMI input 2 on HDMI Switcher, HDMI Switch or HDMI splitter. Connect the other end to HDMI port 1 on your HDMI display device.

Step 3: Repeat Step 2 for all HDMI ports available on HDMI Splitter, HDMI Switcher or HDMI switch until you connect each of the HDMI ports in your HDMI source devices to an HDMI output port on HDMI Splitter, HDMI Switcher or HDMI switch.

Step 4: HDMI Splitters that have HDMI 1×2 HDMI signal splitting capabilities are best for this process because they are able to split HDMI signals into two HDMI signals. If another type of HDMI Switcher is used instead, it would be necessary to use an equal number of HDMI in and HDMI out ports available on HDMI Switcher.

For example, HDMI Switchers that have HDMI 1×4 HDMI signal splitting capabilities can split HDMI signals into four HDMI signals and it would be necessary to use four HDMI input ports for each of your HDMI source devices as well as four HDMI output ports for each of your HDMI display devices.

Questions to ask before buying an HDMI splitter.

Before buying your HDMI Splitter, there are valid questions you need to ask as a consumer. HDMI Splitters can be bought to output HDMI signals from one HDMI source device to two HDMI display devices, four HDMI display devices or eight HDMI display devices.

How many HDMI ports are available on your HDMI source devices and HDMI display devices do you need?

As different HDMI splitters offer varying HDMI ports in and out, figuring out your needs first helps. HDMI Splitters that have HDMI 1×2 HDMI signal splitting capabilities are best for one HDMI source to two HDMI display devices.

HDMI Switchers that have HDMI 1×4, 2×1, 3×1 HDMI signal splitting capabilities are all able to split HDMI signals into four HDMI signals or output one HDMI source to four HDMI display devices.

What is the quality of the HDMI cable that will be used with HDMI Splitter?

With HDMI Splitters quality is everything, so before buying yours, make sure you know what kind of quality is the HDMI and how much cable length required.

Generally, HDMI Splitters are available with HDMI cables ranging from 10 feet all the way up to 100 feet, so make sure you purchase HDMI Splitters that have HDMI cables that are long enough for your needs at home or in the office.

How many HDMI splitters do you need?

For example, if an HDMI splitter is used to output HDMI signals from one HDMI source device to four HDMI display devices, do you want the HDMI signal to be split into four HDMI signals or do you want two HDMI Splitter with HDMI 1×2.

If splitting each HDMI signal into two is desired, then purchase HDMI Splitters that have HDMI 1×2 HDMI signal splitting capabilities.

Does HDMI splitter reduce quality?

Reduction of media or picture output lag and sound quality is a huge concern for many people using HDMI splitters.

In general, HDMI splitters do not reduce picture or audio quality. They are designed to split the digital signal without converting them into a different format. Therefore, using an HDMI Splitter does not degrade the digital signal quality. The main culprit to low or reduced quality is the brand and material makeup of the HDMI Splitter you are using.

They say what you don’t pay in monetary value, you pay in quality. HDMI Splitters are no exception. HDMI Splitters can be bought for as little as $3 USD and HDMI cables included, but these HDMI splitters may not be made to last long.

Generally speaking, HDMI Splitters prices increase with the dollar amount of HDMI ports they have available so it is important to factor in your needs.

In short HDMI Splitters that have HDMI 1×2 HDMI signal splitting capabilities are best for this process because they are able to split HDMI signals into two HDMI signals.

If another type of HDMI Switcher is used instead, it would be necessary to use an equal number of HDMI in and HDMI out ports available on HDMI Switcher.

Before buying your HDMI Splitter, make sure you have your HDMI cables available and know what HDMI ports are available on HDMI source devices and HDMI Display Devices.

An HDMI Splitter splits a single HDMI signal into two or more outputs at the same time, allowing users to send one HDMI signal from a set-top box, Blu-ray player, Satellite receiver, gaming console, etc. to two HDMI displays at the same time.

HDMI Splitter is a device that either has one HDMI input and multiple HDMI outputs or has multiple HDMI inputs and one HDMI output. An HDMI splitter can also be used in reverse, when you have one HDMI source but want to connect it to more than one HDMI display.