HDMI cables are now an irreplaceable technology standard in our lives, the most reliable method to transmit audio and video signals from a device to a screen. For those of us who use HDMI, there is a question that has been plaguing the internet recently- Should we use a HDMI splitter or a HDMI switch?
It is crucial to understand the difference between a splitter and a switch so you can make a better-informed decision about purchasing one for your setup.
What is a HDMI splitter?
A HDMI splitter is a device that takes in the video from a single source and then puts it up on different screens based on the number of outputs that the splitter has. The source in question could be anything from a DVD player to a gaming device like PS4, XBOX, set top box (or cable box), etc. The advantage of using a splitter is you can have a combination of devices as a source, the only condition being they have to have the same interface as the splitter.
What is a HDMI switch?
A HDMI switch lets you connect two video sources to one screen so you can view content from multiple sources and project it on a single screen, whether it is a projector or a TV screen. Again the video source could be anything from a gaming device to a set top box. Using a switch is beneficial if you want to put up more than one kind of content on the same screen, for easier comparison and better analysis.
Difference between HDMI splitter and switch
- HDMI splitters are not at all bulky and save a lot of space. You can also cut down on the number of items you need for the other devices, all thanks to a tiny box that holds the HDMI splitter. HDMI switches are relatively bigger and need more space to work. The number of wires required for other devices still remains the same, and can sometimes increase as well.
- A HDMI splitter can be classified on the basis of the number of outputs available, signal travel distance, and additional features. Depending on your requirements you can select a splitter that fulfills one or more criteria. A HDMI switch can be segregated on the basis of the number of input ports, the HDTV resolutions available (720p, 1080p, etc.), the length of the cables included with the switch, etc.
- HDMI splitters are named as 1×2, 1×4, 1×8, and so on. The ratio denotes the number of input screen (one) and the number of output screens (two, four, eight, and so on). Usually, splitters that are 1×4 and 1×8 are used in classrooms, conference rooms, and other large public networks. HDMI switchers are named in the opposite manner, ie, 3×1, 4×1, and higher. This ratio clearly shows the number of input devices that can be connected to the output screen using the switcher (three, four, etc.). Switchers with a larger ratio are also used for larger networks.
- Another difference in HDMI splitter vs switch is if there are two output devices with different resolutions, a HDMI splitter can only support the lower resolution. This a very important point to keep in mind because you need to consider if all your output devices operate on the same resolution. This factor is not present in HDMI switchers because the output device is singular, so the resolution of the video will be the resolution of the screen.
- While using HDMI cable splitter, if you send signals to too many devices through the splitter, there might be overlapping between signals, and the quality of the transmitted signals drop drastically, even if only one screen is being used at that moment. On the other hand, when using a HDMI switcher, signal quality will never go down because you have only a single output screen.
After going through the features and differences listed above, you should consider the requirements of your setup and come to a decision about whether you need a splitter or a switcher. A HDMI switcher is more useful when it comes to connecting multiple gaming systems to a single screen because it is not very likely that you will use more than one system at a time. Splitters are more suited for sending the same content to different screens from the same source, like connecting a Blu-Ray to different TVs.