HDMI Switch Vs. HDMI Splitter – Which is better?

HDMI switches and HDMI splitters are different means of data transfer to the TV or other display devices. They facilitate connecting multiple displays with a single HDMI source or connecting multiple sources for one TV. If you have purchased the latest gaming console or PC and your television input sport is already occupied, then you need to either buy an HDMI splitter or an HDMI switch depending upon your requirements.

There are functional differences between both HDMI splitter and switch. These differences get more noticeable when we analyze the HDMI switch vs. the HDMI splitter application. Both these technologies are cheap and make your TV set or monitor helpful in working in various possibilities. But the primary question is still there that which of them to choose.

This article will answer the above query and explain the difference between HDMI switch and HDMI splitter. You will also learn to differentiate between their application and usage.

What Are HDMI Switches?

An HDMI switch allows connecting multiple HDMI sources to a single port on the TV or monitor. Thus, you can easily switch between the devices and use the source of your need. For example, you can set a monitor/TV to display the content from PC, gaming console, TV, and Blu-ray player with HDMI switch and can switch between the displays at any time.

hdmi switch

Types of HDMI Switch

While there are numerous types of HDMI switch available in the market, they slightly differ from each other by the number of devices they can be connected to. Some support two device support, and some can support more. The most famous HDMI switch can connect three devices at a time with the input of the TV. However, you can select the switch according to your need. We recommend buying the switch from a trusted manufacturer as they impact the video quality and connectivity.

How HDMI Switch Works

It is very straightforward to set up the HDMI switch with the TV and source. You need to plug the switch into the power outlet first before connecting to the TV. After plugging into the outlet, tag it to the TV HDMI port. Make sure that the switch is close to your source. After setting up the HDMI switch and plugging it into the power outlet, connect your devices by connecting their cables into the ports given on the switch.

how hdmi switch work

Some HDMI switch does have already labeled ports for a gaming console, Blu-ray players, and PC. If your switch also has pre-labeled ports, then make sure to those devices in the corresponding ports to avoid any issues regarding connectivity. Now connect the cable from the HDMI switch to the TV. For each device, set up a channel so that when you connect the corresponding channel, you get the input from that device in the TV. After a complete setup, you can enjoy crystal clear audio and video from your desired device on the TV/monitor.

When to Use an HDMI Switch

The application of the HDMI switch is very simple. If you want to connect multiple devices on a single monitor or TV, an HDMI switch is the best option.  You get several ports to connect the devices into the switch and enjoy uninterrupted gaming or movie watching. Connecting the devices in this way also ensures good picture and sound quality while preserving the display from any interference.

hdmi switch with remote

The HDMI switch is technology-proof for now in most cases. If any update happens in the technology or you get a new device, you won’t have to replace the HDMI switch. Once you get a new device, you need to set it up according to the instructions and enjoy better graphics and sound quality. The HDMI switch also helps provide a better picture and perfect for blocking interference that gives clear and sharp visuals.

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What Are HDMI Splitter

An HDMI splitter is a device that takes the signal from any HDMI source and then sends that signal to multiple HMDI outputs. It is the best piece of technology for accessibility while featuring a reasonably simple design. HDMI splitters are best suited for graphic designers and gamers who like to work on multiple monitors to get the best out of their display.

hdmi splitter

Types of HDMI Splitter

There are two types of HDMI splitter: active and passive. Each of these splitter work on the same principle except few functional differences. You need to add a cable for connecting the output sources to get the job done. Active HDMI splitter has a certain advantage over passive splitter. When the length of the output cables is long or multiple devices are supposed to connect with a single HDMI source; then an active splitter is the best. They derive extra power to provide a perfect display on the output TV or monitor.

With longer cables, additional power is needed to transfer the data. Active HDMI splitter does add more power to transmit the signal. It generates power from a power outlet. There is the involvement of transistors to transfer the original signal to all output devices. There are two benefits of using an active splitter. First, it increases the power that is somehow lost when we split the main HDMI interface. Secondly, it also helps in the reduction of interference.

How HDMI Splitter Works

The way HDMI splitter works is very simple. There are 19 pairs of wires in a standard HDMI cable that links to the pins on the HDMI connector to transfer the signals effectively. The data that transfers through these wires contains both audio and video signals. Besides the audio and video data, HDMI wires also transmit other necessary data like remote control and commands that your send through the input devices.

HDMI splitter duplicates the wires, which increases the data transfer stream. In addition, it helps to transmit the data to multiple displays, which again transfers to the HDMI jacks on the splitter. In this way, you can connect multiple HDMI outputs to a single HDMI source even when there are not enough HDMI ports to connect.

When to Use an HDMI Splitter

HDMI splitter is the best choice for connecting several output devices with a single HDMI source. It is also useful for the connecting of the long HDMI cables to minimize interference. The management of the HDMI splitter is easy as you can easily switch the output with the input of your choice. If you want to send signals to multiple monitors or TVs, the HDMI splitter is the best. It let you synchronize the screen with the same stream. In this way, you can connect multiple TVs in different rooms and enjoy your favorite TV shows.

how hdmi splitter work

The choice is if you want to connect the HDMI splitter passive or active version. If you are dealing with long cables or multiple devices, then an active HDMI splitter is the only viable choice rather than a passive version. It ensures clean and clear audio and video data that helps to give HD output on the TVs and monitors. As we earlier explained, that active HDMI splitter is best as they amplify the signals between two devices.

HDMI Switch Vs. HDMI Splitter: Key Differences

The difference between HDMI splitter and HDMI switch is obvious. If you closely observe and understand these two devices’ functioning, you may already know the fundamental difference between them. However, if you are still looking for the hints and are unsure which one to choose, then the following differences will further elaborate and clear your doubts.

Manual Access

When we observe the manual functioning of both devices, the HDMI switch does provide complete manual control. Whereas HDMI splitter does the job by automatically distributing the stream across the output device evenly. HDMI splitter does limit user control as you see the same output on the TV or monitor.

Simple Operation

Although both HDMI splitter and switch are simple in setting up and operating, HDMI splitter is simpler and does not require any additional setup after plugging in and setting up. Even with limited knowledge about this stuff, you can still set up the HDMI splitter easily. The HDMI switch is both simple and advanced, depending on its type. If you want to connect multiple sources, then an HDMI switch is the best option.

Transmit Source

The signal source is the primary difference that we see in HDMI switch Vs. HDMI splitter discussion. HDMI splitter does take feed from one source and then evenly distribute the signal to multiple displays simultaneously. On the other hand, the HDMI switch receives and transfers the data from multiple sources in audio and video signals and then transmits the data to the TV/monitor.

Network Capabilities

There are several splitter options to choose from. With an HDMI splitter, there is an option for connecting two sources. By using a cable splitter, you can get more out of the application. Another option that you can utilize is the network cable splitter. For covering long distances, a network cable splitter is best. With the HDMI switch, networking is not a viable option.

Size Options

Both HDMI splitter and HDMI switch comes in several connectivity options. Mostly they are compact and carry minimal design. However, the HDMI splitter does have a more compact design. Contrary to this, the HDMI switch comes in various sizes and is versatile. They come in three or five port models.

HDMI Switch Vs. HDMI Splitter: Who’s the best?

The deciding factor between HDMI splitter and HDMI switch does depend on the applicability and need. For example, if you want to broadcast data from a single output device to multiple displays, then an HDMI splitter is the way to go. But if you want to combine different inputs from two or three devices and want to see them on a TV/monitor screen, then an HDMI switch is the best. But the best thing is that you can get both these devices at an affordable price as they are not costly.

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Muhammad Kashif

M. Kashif is a published author at Gaming Expert.net. He is a tech enthusiast, a passionate gamer and loves to try new gadgets and writing about games and technology events.