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HDMI Splitter Vs HDMI Switch (The Difference Explained)

hdmi splitter vs hdmi switch


The main difference between a HDMI splitter and HDMI switch is that a HDMI splitter takes the signal from one source and splits it across multiple channels. A HDMI switch instead, takes audio and visual signals from one source to another source.

Both HDMI splitter and HDMI switch come in the category of HDMI distribution equipment. They look very similar but are used entirely for different reasons. Both these differ in their functions.

  • An HDMI splitter takes the signal from one source. These signals are sent to multiple channels simultaneously. An HDMI switch is responsible for sending numerous audio-visual signals from one source to another. The receiver is usually an electronic device like a computer, laptop, and television, to name a few.
  • A splitter splits the signals. This splitting is done into different outputs. They amplify the signals evenly distributed across all the outputs. A switch does almost the same job, but it can be controlled manually.
  • There are two types of HDMI splitters. The cable splitter, which is the most common one, is used in almost all applications. The second one is a network cable splitter, which is used for transmission of signals for long-distance. There is no such difference among switches.
  • An HDMI allows gear setups to a certain level. This may or may not be possible with an HDMI switch.
  • An HDMI splitter is simpler to use and understand than a switch. Although there are some cases where having a switch for your device is more suitable than having a splitter.
  • The HDMI switches come in different sizes, and the most popular one is four inputs with one output. One can easily connect four devices with it. The most popular version of an HDMI splitter preferred by people is one input with two outputs.
  • You can connect 1 HDMI device with two different computers or televisions.
  • Example- If you have a DVD player always connected and occasionally connect a camcorder, you need to have an HDMI splitter.

  • Example- If you want to connect the Blu-Ray player with your projector and television, use an HDMI switch. You can use the HDMI switch to switch between the player, laptop and the camcorder.



A device that can easily connect different devices with a single source is an HDMI splitter. The audio and visual graphics are separated into two different streams. These signals are passed to the television or computer/laptop through different channels at the same time.

It is important to make sure that the HDMI splitter is compatible with your electronic device so that the signal transmission is accurate.

The design of an HDMI splitter is fundamental. It takes an incoming signal in an HDMI form. These are then passed to the outputs in the same frequency at the same time.

Additional cables are required for each of your electronic devices to receive the output from the splitter. An active and passive HDMI splitter work on this basic rule (though their functions slightly vary).

There are 19 wire pairs in an HDMI cable of a splitter. These terminate at 19 different pins on the plug of HDMI. Every wire has the function of transmitting different data electronically through digital signals.

These signals include audio and visual data plus information on certain devices that one may find in a remote controlling device.

The function of an HDMI splitter is to split or duplicate these 19 pairs of wire. The result of the same is simple: you have more than two sets of wires of the 19 initial wires. They feed the data into the HDMI jacks of the devices connected by you.

A passive HDMI splitter works in this way. They usually do not have more than twosplitters, since the power is technically cut off from the signal output.

Here is where an active HDMI splitter comes into play. It adds power to the HDMI signal using an active splitter. This assures the quality of audio and visual without compromising in any way.



A device that allows you to connect many HDMI sources to your projector or television is an HDMI switch. You can make the connection easily.

You just have to connect the input system of the HDMI switch to the output cable. This output cable then connects to the external device/s. Most of these switches come with two output ports. 

It is quite possible to separate the signal transmission of two or more different displays of videos at the same time. A simple HDMI switch has two LED lights indicating which source you are using.

For example, if you have X-Box fitted in the first port, then light no. One will blink up.

The select button helps to choose between the sources, as and when required. The other side of the port goes to the back of your monitor or your television.

The distribution amp of an HDMI switch is a useful feature. The display and streaming of a video can be viewed in high definition because of this.

Many more displays can be supported by the distribution amp. The connections have to be made properly to achieve the best results. It mirrors the display only on one source of the video.

One can also purchase an HDMI switch with multiple input and output ports. High definition games can be played by plugging them into Blu-ray, PS4 or X-Box. It is capable of sharing data from at most five HDMI sources.

Sometimes the HDMI has an optical port dedicated to audio. This port enhances the audio capabilities and also converts them into digital or optical output.

The component system is completed with this because it provides a port for audio and a separate port for the video displays. This ensures maximum and excellent quality in both audio and videos.



The advantages of using HDMI splitters are:

  • Higher Quality
  • Improved Signals
  • Encryption
  • Ease of use
  • Allows for two way communication


An HDMI splitter transmits the excellent quality of digital data without compromising the audio and visual data. These are visible even in low light. It supports higher-resolution displays due to which you can easily enjoy the best results on your screen.



The signals are perfectly synced and integrated by an HDMI splitter. The HDMI cables are capable of storing, transmitting, and viewing the digital signals. All this is done without altering the original data of the input.

The splitter is not involved in the conversion of signals from analog to digital. This makes it an amazing choice for transmission.



Data safety is a major requirement expected by everyone using any kind of device. An HDMI splitter conveniently fulfills the same. One cannot copy-paste any data running through it.

The devices which are authorized and connected to the HDMI splitter can receive and display the data.



An HDMI splitter is one cable handling all the transmission of audio and video signals. This implies there are fewer complexities involved while using it. You won’t find yourself tangled in a mess of wires ever. It carries signals with much ease, with a thickness of just a few millimeters.



Two-way communication is made possible by an HDMI splitter. It does this with the help of EDID or Extended Display Identification Data. The sources of audio and video formats can communicate easily without the use of any external sources.



The disadvantages of using HDMI splitters are:

  • Displays inconsistent resolutions
  • Uneven displays can create low resolution graphics
  • HDMI splitters can be more expensive than HDMI switches
  • Certain displays of the HDMI splitters are visible in different resolutions. It may not keep the same resolution on every device. For example, a graphic may be produced at a 720p resolution on one display and a 1080p resolution on another display.
  • The EDID or Extended Display Identification Data detects signals if they are identical. If the splitter receives a 1080p resolution, it may extend the same for devices having a 720p resolution.
  • The uneven display can be frustrating and problematic for some people. You may end up having low-resolution video graphics on your expensive television or computer.
  • Certain times you may be greeted with a blank screen. This occurs when authentication fails or delays.
  • The HDMI splitters are quite expensive. Some people may find cheaper alternatives with the same amount of functions.



The advantages of using HDMI switches are:

  • Excellent audio and video quality
  • Allows for easy connections
  • Improved colors
  • Compatible across multiple formats



The quality of data should not be compromised during the transmission of data. An HDMI switch makes sure of that while transferring any type of audio or video displays. Even if some data is to be lost, it is meager. The video quality is crystal clear, and the audio is very sharp.



Easy connections can be established, and communications made simpler between two sources using an HDMI switch. This configuration is automatic and is achieved by EDID or Extended Display Identification Data. You hardly require any external source for a two-way transfer of any type of data.



Deep and true colors are displayed with the help of an HDMI switch. The color combination is not blurred out at all, and it contrasts up well. An HDMI switch can support color depths 10 bit, 16 bit, and sometimes 12 bits. This is either RGB or YCbCr color combination. More than one billion colors are displayed in excellent detail.



A DVI enabled computer can easily send and receive HD content between the display devices. The backward compatibility of an HDMI switch is excellent.

The switch supports the video and audio data of multiple formats. For example, 720p, 1080p, PAL, standard stereo, etc.



A good communication link is required, which allows the devices to connect via the HDMI switch. This is made possible by CEC or Consumer Electronics Control. This mechanism is perfectly available and easily functional in an HDMI switch.



The disadvantages of using HDMI switches are:

  • The maximum distance of a HDMI switch is only 98 feet (38 meters)
  • Prone to flashing blank screens
  • A separate cable is required to connect the audio
  • Difficult to run multiple applications at once
  • Can be costly to purchase
  • The maximum distance of an HDMI switch is 30 meters. This can be an issue for some people. You’ll require the use of extenders beyond this distance. But again, this extension comes with its own limitations.
  • Flashing of the screen and/or blank screens are visible when there are some connectivity issues or delays.
  • It is difficult to run multiple applications using an HDMI switch if the devices are placed at different locations. The more the distance more will be the limitations.
  • A separate cable for audio is required as the DVI interface; an HDMI switch is compatible with transmitting video signals.
  • It is expensive




The answer is NO. In most cases, you cannot use an HDMI switch as a splitter. The concept is simple: Can you make use of a light switch as a distribution board? No, again.

  • An HDMI switch allows you to change between different HDMI inputs and transmit them to one or more ports of output. On the other hand, an HDMI splitter splits an input signal into two or more ports of output.
  • A switch can easily transmit the signal from the input to the output port. But this transmission is not actually ‘splitting.’ A switch cannot do the splitting work of an HDMI splitter as it isn’t workable for transmitting digital video signals. Also, unsplit voltages are required in a specific quantity.

ADVICE – In some cases, an HDMI switch can be used as a splitter. But such switches that can perform multiple tasks are very expensive.



Yes, you can conveniently daisy chain an HDMI switch. It is supported by the HDCP and HDMI specifications. An HDCP specifically allows daisy-chaining of up to 7 layers.

  • The image takes a couple of seconds to minutes to load. This is because each of these seven layers has to be authenticated in a proper series. Once the authentication is successful, it works perfectly.
  • Most of the time, you can daisy chain the HDMI switches to the only device. It can support up to 5 devices in the display port.

ADVICE- Almost every device is capable of handling a daisy chain. Check if your device supports it by transferring a small amount of data. Also, the power-up can be a little delayed. Wait patiently.



It depends on the HDMI splitter that you’re using. In most cases, it is possible, though. An HDCP specification present along with the splitter allows the daisy-chaining.

  • It is important to know about the amplifier/booster which you’re using. Also, an HDMI splitter with a long and strong cable does the work easily (if supported by your device).
  • If the daisy chaining is possible, it has to be set up in a row. This simplifies a complex wiring system.

ADVICE- Check the daisy-chaining by using two splitters at a time. Allow the transmission of small data. If it’s successful, you can connect up to 5 HDMI splitters to simplify your work.



You may or may not be able to use an HDMI switch in the reverse direction. It is not bi-directional. You may require the use of an HDMI splitter to use an HDMI switch in the reverse motion.

  • The switch cannot be reversed on its own. An HDMI makes use of a hardware handshake. The switch can not detect it alone. For the detection, it is important to make use of a splitter or a signal distribution block.
  • A simple and identical signal is produced on both devices if the switch can be reversed.

ADVICE- It is important to ensure that the connected device supports the resolution produced by the reverse switch.



Anyone can conveniently set up and use an HDMI splitter on a laptop. It takes the input or source signal from the laptop. These signals are split into two identical signal streams and produce on the targeted output displays.

  • The encryption is properly managed between the HDMI splitter and the laptop. This way, the signals are decoded in the correct and exact sequence.
  • An HDMI splitter takes and makes a mirror image of the display and duplicates the video output perfectly on the laptop.


ADVICE- It is important to notice certain details before using a splitter for a laptop. Make yourself aware of the resistance and voltage required by the splitter for the current work.



Yes, you can. An HDMI splitter duplicates the signals and passes it to the connected devices. This transmission is without the loss of data in any form. So if you connect two monitors to an HDMI splitter, it’ll show the exact same thing on both screens.

  • The HDMI splitter and the dual monitors can decode the signals in a proper format. They should be properly connected for the same to happen.
  • The mirror visual graphics on both the screens are duplicated the exact way. You won’t find any difference at all.

ADVICE- Be extra careful if you’re using the splitter for extending the desktop. The split display may vary if the monitors have different resolutions.

Ernie Lo

Ernie Lo is a qualified web designer and web developer. He works as an IT support technician and website manager at Benleigh Vending, and he also fixes vending machines.

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