HDMI Splitter vs Switch vs Matrix: What's the Difference?
What are you looking for today: an HDMI splitter, a switch, or a matrix? We know how tricky it can be to keep terminology straight, and that’s why we’re here to help. To us, these are similar sounding tools with very different uses.
So let’s break it down so that you can find the best HDMI solution for your particular needs.
First, all three of these devices deal with High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) cables. These are audio/video cables capable of transmitting high-definition video and sound. They are often the cable of choice for many different installations, including home theaters, places of worship, and businesses that utilize video.
HDMI signals begin at a source–a computer, BluRay player, cable box, etc., and it ends at a display–a TV, monitor, or projector. An HDMI splitter, switch, or matrix allows you to control how many sources and displays you can use.
The biggest difference is between an HDMI splitter and switch, so we’ll begin there.
What is an HDMI Splitter?
An HDMI splitter allows you to take a signal from a single source and send it to multiple displays. This might look like a video being broadcast from a computer to 5 monitors throughout a building, or like a camera feed being sent to monitors throughout a church.
It’s important to note that splitters support a single video feed. They won’t allow you to extend a computer monitor, for example, with different content on each monitor.
What is an HDMI Switch?
An HDMI switch, on the other hand, is designed to take multiple HDMI SOURCES and send them to a single display. Perhaps in your home you have a BluRay player, 2 video game consoles, and a streaming device. An HDMI switch allows you to connect all of these sources to one projector, even if your projector only has one HDMI input.
As the name implies, an HDMI switch lets you toggle between multiple sources, often with remote control, with each having a full-quality audio/video stream.
The best way to decide between an HDMI splitter vs HDMI switch is to think through their names and your needs. If you need to split one signal to multiple displays, that’s a splitter. If you need to connect multiple sources and switch back and forth between them, that’s a switch.
What is an HDMI Matrix?
But what if you want to do BOTH? What if you want to connect multiple sources, and split their signals to multiple displays? That’s where an HDMI matrix comes in.
With an HDMI matrix, you can connect multiple sources to more than one monitor. Some matrix units can even allow you to select which source goes to which monitor in the network, with different outputs on each display. You can put the computer on display 1, the BluRay on display 2, and the video games on display 3. And, with the right matrix, switch them around by remote control.
We hope that this helped clear up the differences between the HDMI splitter, switch, and matrix. What isn’t confusing is where to find the BEST ones.