Last updated: August 12, 2021

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Welcome to our big HDMI splitter test 2022. Here we present all the HDMI splitters that we have tested in detail. We have compiled detailed background information for you and also added a summary of the customer reviews on the Internet.

We would like to make your purchase decision easier and help you find the best HDMI splitter for you.

You will also find answers to frequently asked questions in our guide. If available, we also offer interesting test videos. Furthermore, you will also find some important information on this page that you should definitely pay attention to if you want to buy an HDMI splitter.




Summary

  • An HDMI splitter is a useful tool that allows you to duplicate the HDMI signal. In many cases, it can make sense to have an additional output. For example, this makes it possible to output video content on the TV and on a projector at the same time.
  • For a beginner, the choice of a suitable HDMI splitter can prove to be too complex, as many specifications require specialist knowledge.
  • Communication using HDMI brings with it a number of obstacles. In particular, the different HDMI versions make the purchase more difficult for beginners, as the devices should work perfectly with each other and there should be no unpleasant surprises.

The Best HDMI Splitters: Our Picks

Guide: Questions you should ask yourself before buying an HDMI splitter

What is an HDMI splitter?

An HDMI splitter is a useful electronic device that allows you to split an HDMI signal to multiple outputs.

An HDMI splitter is therefore also called an HDMI distributor.

HDMI splitters make it possible to duplicate HDMI signals and output the picture on several monitors. (Image source: unsplash.com / Nikolay Tarashchenko)

An HDMI splitter has many uses and will find an application in many multimedia setups.

The HDMI splitter often consists of three connections. One HDMI IN connection for the input signal and two HDMI OUT connections for two output signals.

The two output signals are identical or the output devices that receive the HDMI signal receive the same input.

HDMI signal transmission is intended to make it easier for the consumer to connect the many different multimedia devices with each other. HDMI transmits not only the picture, but also the audio signals.

The HDMI splitter therefore transmits all the information that a device needs to be able to play back the content accordingly.

The actual function of the HDMI splitter is to decode, amplify, re-encode and finally forward the received signal.

The amplification of the signal is necessary in order to guarantee a constant quality of the signal.

Why do I need an HDMI splitter?

HDMI splitters can be used in many ways. A simple application would be, for example, to display the image of the computer on the monitor and the TV (or beamer) at the same time.

The HDMI splitter supplies both end devices with the required information and elegantly solves this problem.

If you want to record your gaming experiences from the PS4 with a capture card (for private use), then an HDMI splitter can help you.

You want to upgrade an Ambilight to experience dynamic background lighting on your TV, then an HDMI splitter is just the right choice for you.The HDMI splitter supplies the TV and the Ambilight controller with the signals they need.Do I need an HDMI switch or an HDMI splitter? And what alternatives are there?

Beginners in particular often have problems with these two terms and often use them as synonyms, although they have completely different applications.

As mentioned above, the main task of an HDMI splitter is to multiply the signals, but the task of the HDMI switch is to switch between the different input signals.

Suppose we had two different computers sharing a screen.The HDMI switch could switch between the two inputs and display the picture of one computer or the other depending on the switch position (switch position).

A suitable example would be a presentation setup where we want to allow the presenter to either use their own laptop or use the computer on site.

The switch allows either the signal from the laptop to be transmitted or the signal from the stationary computer to be used.

The switch can therefore be thought of as an "or": Either use signal source 1 or use signal source 2.

A switch can be interpreted as a reverse splitter.

The splitter distributes a signal to many outputs, whereas a switch provides a logic where many inputs point to one output.

Some switches can even be controlled with a remote control. This makes it possible, for example, to switch between the individual sources comfortably from the sofa.

In addition to these two variants, there is a third type, the so-called matrix.

An HDMI matrix makes it possible to either multiply the signals or to switch between the individual signals.

It is therefore a real all-rounder, but usually more expensive than the simpler variants.

Can I use an HDMI splitter despite HDCP?

One question that comes up very often in connection with HDMI splitters is that of HDCP.

"High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection" is a special encryption system intended for protected transmission of audio and video data. It is a copy protection integrated into HDMI.

Sources of video and audio data, such as Blu-Ray or streaming providers, have the option of encrypting the data via HDCP.

This encrypted data is forwarded to the connected devices.

In our case, the HDMI splitter now acts as a middleman between the two devices. The functioning of HDCP can be simplified as follows:

The two devices, which are connected to each other via an HDMI cable, check whether the opposite device supports the compliance requirement for the HDCP version.

If the receiver of the signal does not support HDCP, either no picture can be transmitted or only one in a lower resolution.

So: Yes, you can definitely use an HDMI splitter despite HDCP. However, you should make sure that it supports the HDCP version of the signal source.

Does an HDMI splitter have a negative effect on picture quality?

No. HDMI splitters should not have any negative effects on the picture.

HDMI is a digital signal and digital signals can be duplicated without problems.

With the large selection of different HDMI splitters on the market, it is not easy to keep track of them all. We explain what you should pay special attention to. (Picture source: pixabay.com / stux)

Decision: What types of HDMI splitters are there and which is right for you?

The number of different HDMI splitters is enormous. Choosing a suitable HDMI splitter is not that easy.

In principle, the choice is much more about the intended use of the HDMI splitter.

Basically, however, all HDMI splitters work in a similar way: Receive an input signal, amplify it and forward it.

However, some HDMI splitters have special features that can be a deciding factor depending on the application.

These features are:

  • With EDID manipulation and downscaler
  • With audio extraction

The different types each come with advantages and disadvantages. Depending on what you prefer, a different type is suitable for you. The following section is designed to help you decide.

What distinguishes an HDMI splitter with EDID manipulation and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

First, let's talk about EDID itself and the communication between a playback device and a source.

EDID stands for "Extended Display Identification Data" and it describes the display capabilities of a display.

This means, for example, information about the supported resolutions, the supported aspect ratios, the hertz number, etc.

This data describes all the important information that a source needs to send the correct data to the display.

Advantages
  • The displays receive the appropriate resolutions
  • Additional control over functionalities
Disadvantages
  • Increased power consumption due to conversion within the HDMI splitter

Now what happens if we connect display devices with a different resolution to our HDMI splitter?

The two display devices would send different EDID data to our source and it would not know in which resolution to send the data.

In such a case, our source would choose the lower resolution in order to display the data correctly on both devices.

However, with the help of EDID manipulation, we can tell our source exactly which signals we want to receive.

So we can request a higher resolution image and process the signal within our HDMI splitter using a controller.

In this way, our device with a higher resolution receives the optimal picture and our device with a lower resolution also receives a suitable picture corresponding to its resolution.

The picture is downscaled within the HDMI splitter with the help of the downscaler.

EDID manipulation can also be applied to audio data. For example, we can explicitly request a special audio format and forward it to other devices.

What distinguishes an HDMI splitter with audio extraction and what are the advantages and disadvantages?

Some HDMI splitters offer integrated audio extraction. This audio extraction can take place, for example, after TOSLINK or Cinch.

In concrete terms, this means that the HDMI splitter receives a signal via HDMI and only forwards the picture information to the HDMI outputs.

For the audio data, it provides a separate connection via TOSLINK or Cinch, which only contains the filtered audio data.

Advantages
  • The possibility to get different connections
  • The integration of devices that do not have an HDMI connection
Disadvantages
  • More cables are needed

This form of HDMI splitter allows different information to be sent to different devices.

For example, the audio signal can be sent directly to an external sound system, whereas the beamer and television receive only the pure image data.

These models are particularly interesting if the playback device does not support ARC (Audio Return Channel) and the sound is not to be output directly on the playback device.

Cinch supports a maximum of 7.1 sound and TOSLINK 5.1 sound.

Purchase criteria: You can use these factors to compare and evaluate HDMI splitters

In the following, we will show you which aspects you can use to decide between the many possible HDMI splitters.

The criteria you can use to compare HDMI splitters include:

  • Input/Output
  • HDMI version
  • UHD (4K), Full-HD, SD
  • Supported resolutions
  • Supported sound formats and audio encodings
  • Other HDMI functions (ARC, CEC, HEC)
  • HDCP

In the following paragraphs, we will explain to you what is important in the individual criteria in order to make your purchase decision easier.

Input/Output

An essential feature of HDMI splitters is the number of inputs and outputs.

Some dealers mistakenly call their products splitters, although they are actually switches.

An HDMI splitter has one input and several outputs, whereas a switch often has several inputs and only one output.

The optimal number of outputs depends strongly on the intended use. In principle, the more connections the better.

If the setup changes, there are still enough outputs available from the HDMI splitter.

Instead of buying a new device, you can continue to use the one you have already purchased.

HDMI version

Another important purchase criterion is that of the HDMI version. This criterion provides information about the data rate of the signal.

For example, HDMI 1.4b, with a data rate of 8.16 Gbit/s, can already transmit the popular 4K resolution, but only at 24 Hz.

For comparison: the HDMI 2.1 version can reproduce an 8K resolution at 60 Hz or also a 4K resolution for a 3D television. This corresponds to a data rate of 42 Gbit/s.

Before buying, it is important to make sure that the HDMI version of the HDMI splitter is not a bottleneck, so that otherwise expensive purchases were not in vain.

Below is a list of important features. It is advisable to skim through these briefly to get a feel for the various values.

HDMI version Added video formats
HDMI 1.0 1920 × 1080 pixels at 60 Hz
HDMI 1.3 2560 × 1440 pixels at 60 Hz
HDMI 1.4 3840 × 2160 pixels at 24 Hz
1920 × 1080 pixels at 24 Hz (3D)
HDMI 1.4b 4096 × 2160 pixels at 24 Hz
3840 × 2160 pixels at 30 Hz
2560 × 1600 pixels at 60 Hz
HDMI 2.0 3840 × 2160 pixels at 60 Hz
1920 × 1080 pixels at 48 Hz (3D)
HDMI 2.1 7680 × 4320 pixels at 60 Hz
3840 × 2160 pixels with 120 Hz (3D)

UHD (4K), Full-HD, SD

Instead of specifying a resolution in numbers, such as 3840 x 2160, it makes sense to assign it to a designation.

The terms UHD, Full-HD and SD should give you a quick overview of the performance of the HDMI splitter.

The term UHD (Ultra High Definition) is a small variation of the popular 4K resolution with at least 3840 x 2160 pixels.

UHD delivers razor-sharp images and channels such as Sky or Netflix offer the option of streaming via 4K.

However, UHD differs from True-4K because the width ratio does not exceed 4000 pixels.

True-4K resolution is 4096 × 2160 pixels, whereas UHD is 3840 x 2160 pixels.

So there is no serious difference and both variants are often referred to as 4K.

Full HD and SD are older resolutions that describe milestones in picture quality.

Full-HD describes a resolution of at least 1920 x 1080 pixels, whereas SD (Standard Definition) describes a resolution of 720 x 576 pixels.

4K video content is becoming increasingly popular!

Supported resolutions

In addition to the information about the resolution standards and the HDMI version, the dealer often specifies the supported video formats.

The information is given in the following form: 2160p, 1080p, 720p, 480p and 360p.

Similar to the information on UHD and Full HD, these values provide information on the supported resolutions of the HDMI splitter.

The 'p' stands for progressive image transmission and this value provides information about the vertical resolution of the image.

It is therefore independent of the width and thus the aspect ratio of your screen.

Usually these values are superfluous, as they can be derived from terms such as 4K and 2K.

Rather, the dealers explicitly give you the assurance that this resolution is supported.

The following list gives you a rough overview:

  • UHD = 3840x2160 = 2160p
  • Full-HD = 1920x1080Pixel = 1080p
  • HD = 1080x720pixel = 720p

Supported sound formats and audio encodings

Similar to the supported resolutions, the dealers give you explicit assurance that this audio format is also supported.

Since not only picture information but also audio information is transmitted via HDMI, this information can give you a quick overview of supported audio formats.

However, this information is usually superfluous, as the supported audio formats are determined by the HDMI version.

The actual purchase criterion is again the corresponding HDMI version of the splitter.

Before buying, make sure that the HDMI version also supports your audio format.

An HDMI version of 1.4a or higher should cover most audio formats.

HDMI version 1.4a was introduced at the beginning of 2010. The HDMI version of a new HDMI splitter should therefore almost certainly be above version 1.4.

Below we provide you with a list of the HDMI versions from which audio formats have been added.

Of course, higher HDMI versions also support the older formats and are backwards compatible.

HDMI version Added audio formats
HDMI 1.0 MPEG, Dolby Digital, DTS (Digital Theater System)
HDMI 1.1 DVD-Audio
HDMI 1.2 SACD
HDMI 1.3 Dolby Digital Plus, TrueHD, dts-HD (Digital Theater System- High Definition)

Other HDMI functions (ARC, CEC, HEC)

HDMI is not only used to transmit picture and sound, but also other information.

HDMI thus provides the user with additional functions that are intended to simplify control or also to reduce the cabling effort.

These functions are ARC, CEC and HEC.

ARC: The "Audio Return Channel" is intended to make it easier to connect external audio devices.

The way it works is relatively simple. The HDMI splitter forwards the picture and sound signals to the playback device.

The playback device, for example a television, uses the picture data and sends the sound signals back to the HDMI splitter - with the appropriate setting in the menu.

These audio signals can now be tapped from the HDMI splitter, for example with the help of a coaxial cable, and provide an interface for an external audio device.

CEC: The "Consumer Electronics Control" function provides an interface so that the various end devices can communicate with each other.

The basic idea behind this is not to control each device separately, but to enable universal control.

For example, if the picture is output via a TV and the sound via an external system, we could still use the TV's remote control to adjust the volume.

The TV sends a signal via the HDMI port to the audio system and tells it that the sound should be amplified or reduced.

HEC: The "HDMI Ethernet Channel" supplies the end devices with Internet. It thus provides a way to get Internet via HDMI instead of an Ethernet connection.

This is supposed to further reduce the cabling effort for the end user. HEC was introduced in HDMI version 1.4.

HDCP

In order to be able to play back copy-protected content properly, it is mandatory to support the HDCP version.

For example, to enjoy Netflix in 4K, the display must support at least an HDCP version of 2.2.

This also applies to the splitter used within the HDMI connection chain.

We therefore recommend that you buy an HDMI splitter with a version of at least HDCP 2.2 in order to be able to use it sustainably.

Facts worth knowing about HDMI splitters

How does the HDCP authentication process work?

HDCP authentication is necessary to determine whether a playback device is authorised to play HDCP-protected content.

Only if the authentication was successful will the data from a signal source be transmitted.

A distinction is made between the following device types:

  • Source, which sends the data.
  • Data sink, which processes the data
  • Repeater, which forwards the data.

The signal source sends a request, asking a data sink for its identification number.

The data sink responds to this request by sending its identification number back to the source.

The source then checks whether the number is valid and whether the data sink is authorised to receive the data.

If this is the case, the two devices exchange their keys, whereby the authentication process must also be carried out by the data sink.

Afterwards, the protected data can be transmitted between the devices as desired.

If sound or picture problems occur, a failed HDCP authentication process could be responsible.

My devices support HDMI version X, yet only a lower HDMI version is used. What is the problem?

In order to take advantage of a higher HDMI version, not only the devices must support the HDMI version, but also the HDMI cable.

The cable is responsible for the actual data transmission and it is imperative that the HDMI version of the cable is not a bottleneck.

It is therefore advisable to pay attention to the HDMI cable when connecting and to upgrade if necessary.

So which HDMI splitter is suitable for my setup?

As already described above, this question cannot be answered universally.

The choice of the right HDMI splitter depends very much on the application scenario.

We would like to give you an overview of what is important when buying an HDMI splitter.

An important feature to look for when buying an HDMI splitter is the compatibility between the different devices.

A chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the same applies to HDMI signals.

Care should be taken to ensure that the HDMI splitter is not a bottleneck.

This means that the versions of HDMI and HDCP should at least be the same for the signal source and the playback device, otherwise we would have to sacrifice quality.

In the worst case, the signal transmission fails completely and only a black picture can be seen.

This happens, for example, if we have a data source with HDCP 2.2 encryption and connect it to a device with an HDCP version of 1.X. The signal is then lost.

Cheap HDMI splitters usually have such a shortcoming, so that the possible use of these devices is considerably limited.

Generally speaking, the higher the individual values, the better the HDMI splitter.

The problem is, however, that the higher the values, the more expensive the device usually is.

In our opinion, an HDMI splitter should be a long-term investment and it makes perfect sense to upgrade it at relatively long intervals.

However, if the components used do not change, it may make sense to fall back on a cheaper, low-dimensioned splitter.

When buying an HDMI splitter, there are a number of things to consider. For example, the HDMI version provides information about the data rate. (Image source: pixabay.com / seagul)

What else do I need for my setup?

To create a perfect home cinema system, a great gaming setup or other projects, more components are logically needed than an HDMI splitter.

At this point, we would like to discuss other products that may be of interest to you:

HDMI Extender

This useful tool is able to amplify the HDMI signal. The signal that the HDMI cable transports gets worse with longer distances.

This effect occurs because the cable has a conductor resistance. If the signal is to be transported over longer distances, it is necessary to renew the signal.

The HDMI extender is connected between two HDMI cables and renews the signal.

For more complex setups that cannot be connected by, for example, a 10 m HDMI cable, an HDMI extender is recommended to ensure transmission between the two devices.

HDMI cable

Not all HDMI cables are the same. There are also many differences in HDMI cables that should be considered before buying, be it the length, the supported HDMI version, the material of the connector or the connector type.

An important criterion, although often neglected by beginners, is the HDMI version. It provides information about the data rate at which the data can be transported.

HDMI adapter

It can happen that older devices do not have a connection for HDMI or that we want to use the HDMI signal for another connection.

In this case, we can fall back on an HDMI adapter. This accepts the HDMI signal and provides another connection.

For example, we can connect a DVI input to an HDMI cable by using an HDMI-DVI adapter.

Of course, other types of adapters also exist, which find their application depending on the need. It is thus possible to make devices without an HDMI connection still usable.

Image source: Shinji / flickr.com

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