As the number of devices underneath TVs continues to grow, many viewers and gamers find themselves running out of connections on their TV.
A few years back it was possible to alleviate the problem by resorting to using a SCART lead for less important devices and the TV’s HDMI connections for your main equipment.
But the move to High Definition and, more recently, Ultra High Definition TV and gaming has seen devices such as streaming boxes, games consoles and set top boxes, go HDMI-only. Added to which, some soundbars also need connecting to a HDMI port if you want to use all their features, such as controlling your TV by voice.
And yet despite this, many newer TVs only include two or three HDMI ports, meaning owners either need to sacrifice one of their gadgets or keep switching cables.
The good news is there’s a quick and easy solution for the problem – a HDMI switch.
First off, it’s important to stress that an HDMI switch isn’t the same thing as an HDMI splitter, even though the two terms are often used interchangeably.
A HDMI splitter is a device which splits the signal from a device into two (sometimes more) streams so that you can connect, for example, a single set-top box to two TVs and show the same picture on both.
A HDMI switch works in a similar way to an extension lead you might use to plug several devices into the same electric socket and allows you to feed signals from, for example, a Blu-ray player, games console and set-top box into the same HDMI port on your TV and then switch between those devices without having to keep pulling out cables.
Switches come in two variants – unpowered and powered.
Unpowered models tend to be cheaper, but you’ll get better reliability from a powered version which is also likely to come with a remote control so you can switch between devices from the comfort of your armchair.
Some unpowered models claim to auto-switch between devices when you turn them on, but be careful – many devices, such most popular streaming sticks, don’t fully power off which can prevent the auto-switching from taking place. If you choose an unpowered model, ensure it contains a manual override so you can toggle between all your devices.
You’ll also want to ensure your chosen model supports the resolution and HDMI resolution of your TV and devices – a model supporting HDMI 1.4 will be limited to High Definition pictures, so if you’re planning on watching or playing in 4K (Ultra High Definition), you’ll need a HDMI 2.0 compliant model.
A wide range of HDMI switch and HDMI splitter models are available on Amazon.co.uk*.
*As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases.