The HDMI splitter is a new invention that allows multiple TVs to show the same video signal by splitting and replicating the video signal on two or more TVs.
One of the reasons why the HDMI splitter has grown popular in households with numerous TVs is the vast list of functions that HDMI-enabled devices provide.
When using an HDMI splitter, you could worry if the quality is being compromised.
You can even believe that the splitter is replicating the signal and lowering the visual quality.
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HDMI Splitters: What Are They?
HDMI splitters are small technical devices that duplicate a single HDMI signal and transmit it to many screens. The digital HDMI signal is boosted and stretched beyond the standard format’s 15-foot limit when utilized with powered HDMI splitters.
Splitters can handle the EDID handshaking and HDCP signal that HDMI sources and screens require dynamically.
An HDMI switch allows you to connect from one HDMI-connected device to another. When connected, HDMI switches give you multiple input ports for use in tandem with a splitter when establishing an HDMI matrix.
With it, you can switch from your game console to your Blu-Ray player seamlessly. A switcher and a splitter are two different HDMI connection devices or adaptors. Don’t confuse one over the other.
An HDMI splitter merely splits one HDMI connection into several connections without the toggling option while an HDMI switcher changes your media source from a set-top box to a Netflix online streaming service using one output.
The question most novices have is whether the quality of the media output degrades because of the use of an HDMI switcher?
Does HDMI splitter reduce quality?
In general, an HDMI switcher does not degrade the quality of media output. The only way HDMI switchers impact quality is if there is a signal loss that occurs because of a faulty connection and poor quality HDMI switches. Low-quality HDMI switches lead to image corruption and loss of audio quality.
HDMI uses a digital signal which means when you are using switchers, it is not supposed to degrade the quality. Every signal loss from an HDMI switch can be the result of a poorly made device.
If a switcher degrades the HDMI signal, this means the HDMI switcher is defective most of the time. It can be having input and output matters.
A switch is only a port extension that gives more number ports so that the monitor can switch from different devices. Since HDMI is a signal, it is not supposed to degrade.
How HDMI Splitters Work
HDMI Splitters, are a handy tool that can save you hundreds of dollars (or more!) There are certain situations in a commercial space like an office or restaurant where the owner may want a dozen or more screens all showing the same thing, and although HDMI Splitters can do this job (and do it well), what we’re going to discuss today is the smaller-scale of HDMI Splitting.
There are at-home uses for HDMI splitting that can save you, the normal consumer, a bundle if you simply want to get your content onto different screens.
For instance, if you have a home theater room and also a bedroom TV; if you have a rec room, a den, or living area that all have screens–any case in which you need to get the content you want on both screens at once is where an HDMI Splitter comes in handy.
This can be really convenient if you have a service like DISH Television or Cable TV that only goes to one place, for instance, one cable box.
Services like this charge you for a second cable box, and so simply splitting that signal to two places can save you literally hundreds of dollars in hardware and subscription costs.
But unlike other cables, HDMI splitters have to do some heavy lifting. HDMI signals carry audio and video…sometimes very high-quality audio and video.
And more than that, they also carry two-way communication between the screen and the content source. This is accomplished using signals referred to as EDID.
Long story short, there are some things that need to go right for HDMI splitting to work. It should be no surprise to you that there are powered HDMI splitters like the OREI 4k 1 x 2 HDMI Splitter (on Amazon).
These are really small, specialized computers that have to reproduce the HDMI signal (high resolution, EDID, and all) before sending it forward to two devices.
Pros of HDMI Splitters
- Cost Savings.
- More Simplicity and Control
Cons of HDMI Splitters
- Resolution Limits.
- Cable Interference
How HDMI Splitters Deal with Quality and Lag
If you’re considering HDMI splitting, then maybe you’ve done a lot of thinking around your home video/audio set up already, and it won’t be surprising for you to hear that the quality of each component in the chain is critical.
If you want to stream a 4k video source to your TV, your TV has to have a 4k panel, and the HDMI cable and one HDMI signal have to be able to carry 4k video. None of these are really a problem now that 4k is basically standard.
However, when you split a signal, you’re introducing another piece of hardware–another link in that chain of the video being managed. There are 1080p splitters out there and, you guessed it, they’ll downgrade your 4k video stream down to 1080 HDMI output if you use them.
This isn’t too hard to avoid: simply look for a splitter that is rated for the output that you need. Earlier in the article, we discussed how a splitter will be somewhat limited by the least capable downstream screen, but this hardware discussion is something different.
If you’re streaming 4k to two 4k monitors, the splitter has to be rated for 4k for it all to work.
Other than that, as long as you’re using a powered option there should be no other quality issues to worry about.
There may be some lag or latency that you will most likely not notice, but there aren’t any other drawbacks of splitting a signal from a video quality standpoint.
- Lag and Latency
When it comes to Lag, aka Latency, the HDMI Splitter can add significant lag, but that’s really only a problem if the unit is a non-powered HDMI splitter. If you’re using something like the best HDMI splitter Enbuer 1×4 HDMI Splitter (on Amazon), or basically any splitter that connects to a power source, you can be confident that it’s got the right internal equipment to duplicate the HDMI signal without any extra processing or funny business that would slow it down.
There’s no getting around the fact that the HDMI splitter long HDMI cables are a new link in the chain of the video signal, so it is going to add some additional delay, but with a powered unit this delay is no more than a couple milliseconds (ms). A delay like 2ms is really nothing to worry about. That’s just two frames of a 60hz signal. If these terms mean nothing to you, then don’t worry: that means that you’re exactly the type of consumer that doesn’t need to worry about any of this.
For the intense gamers out there, you’ll need to look for a splitter and HDMI cables that specifically advertise the refresh rate you’re looking to match. If you want to split to 120hz screens, that means you’ll need all the other tools to do that right, and the splitter, as discussed in the quality section, has to be as capable as all the other components in the chain.
As you can see, there are several details HDMI splitter reviews you have to get right when using an HDMI splitter, but the good rule of thumb is to use a powered unit whenever you can. If you make sure you cover that, then the other details should all fall into place. However, with the increasing number of HDMI splitters and displays, you may be wondering do HDMI splitters reduce quality are there any negative effects on the quality of your video source? So, HDMI splitters will not reduce quality by enough to notice if you use good resolution splitters