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Do HDMI Splitters Need Power?

Do HDMI Splitters Need Power?

HDMI splitters are useful devices that help you connect more than one display to a single video source.

But with the number of devices you can split the video source signal to, don’t you need more electricity to transmit the video?

Do HDMI splitters need an external power source?

We have found that there are two types of HDMI splitters: passive and active.

Passive HDMI splitters don’t need any external power, while active HDMI splitters do, especially if you’re connecting to more than two displays. 

If you have long wires in your set-up or have many displays, an active HDMI splitter is better.

What Is an HDMI Splitter?

a hand holding a black HDMI splitter with 4 output port

An HDMI splitter is a device that allows you to take one input source and send the HDMI source signal to more than one display. 

It typically maintains the quality of the source signal, but if one of your displays has a lower resolution, then all displays will be matched to that resolution.

There are two main categories for HDMI splitters: passive HDMI splitters and active HDMI splitters.

  • Passive HDMI splitters consist of three main parts: an HDMI input port, HDMI output ports, and a body that splits the HDMI signal.
    They split the HDMI signal without any external power, which limits them in terms of protection against signal degradation, but can typically do the trick when you’re using short wires or splitting to only two devices.
  • Active HDMI splitters consist of four main parts: an HDMI input port, HDMI output ports, the splitter body, and a power input port.
    They split the HDMI signal with external power (either through a USB or 5-volt plug), which allows them to boost the signal and keep the quality.
    They’re better for when you’re using long wires or splitting to more than two devices.

Do HDMI Splitters Need Power?

It depends!

If you have a passive HDMI splitter, you won’t need to add power from an external source. 

If you have an active HDMI splitter, then you’ll need to add power from an external source.

Depending on your model, you’ll need to use either a USB power source or a plugged power source.

an active black HDMI splitter

Device specifications aside, the more important question is:

Do You Need an Active HDMI Splitter?

It depends on what you want to use the HDMI splitter for!

Active HDMI splitters are usually more expensive than passive ones, so you may be wondering why there’s even a need for a power source.

One factor to consider is how long your wires are.

HDMI signals degrade as they travel through wires, with the maximum distance for a high-quality HDMI signal being around 15 to 20 feet.

So, if you’re using wires that are 15 feet or longer, an active HDMI splitter will boost the signal, maintaining the quality of the original input and letting you transmit the signal for even longer distances.

Another factor to consider is how many devices you’re connecting to.

When an HDMI splitter splits the original input, it also splits the amount of electricity.

So if the original signal had the power of five volts, and you’re transmitting to five displays, each display will receive a signal with a power of one Volt.

Because of this, the split signal may not be strong enough to reach your displays, even if your wires are short.

So if you’d like to use an HDMI splitter to set up connections all over your house, an active HDMI splitter would be a better purchase.

How Do You Use an HDMI Splitter?

Now that we’ve covered the basics of HDMI splitters, let’s get into how you can use them.

If you want to use a passive HDMI splitter, you can follow these easy steps:

  1. Plug your video source into the HDMI input port with an HDMI cable. 
  2. Plug your displays into the HDMI output ports with HDMI cables.
  3. Turn on your displays, and they should display your video.
What is a HDMI Splitter

If you want to use an active HDMI splitter, you can follow these simple steps:

  1. Plug your video source into the HDMI input port with an HDMI cable.
  2. Connect your HDMI splitter to a power source with the provided cable.
  3. Plug your displays into the HDMI output ports.
  4. Turn on your displays.

3 High-Quality HDMI Splitters

If you’re set on buying an HDMI splitter but not sure about which models to buy, then we’ve got you covered!

Sale
HDMI Switch [email protected] Splitter, GANA Aluminum Bidirectional HDMI Switcher 2 in 1 Out, Manual HDMI Hub Supports HD Compatible with Xbox PS5/4/3 Blu-Ray...
  • 【Bidirectional HDMI Switcher】This HDMI Switch offer 3 HDMI Ports, so you could connect two HDMI...
  • 【4K High Resolution】Support [email protected] and backward compatible with 2k/1080p. Enjoy 3D visual and...
  • 【Fast and Stable Transmission】This aluminum HDMI AB Switcher not only support high bandwidth...

Last update on 2022-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The GANA 2-Port HDMI splitter is a passive HDMI splitter that can connect to 2 displays. With a Switch mode, it can also work as an HDMI switch.

KELIIYO HDMI Splitter 1 in 4 Out V1.4b Powered HDMI Video Splitter with AC Adaptor Duplicate/Mirror Screen Monitor Supports Ultra HD 1080P 2K [email protected]
  • 【1x4 Hdmi Splitter】This Hdmi splitter 1 input 4 output duplicate 1 HDMI input signal to 4...
  • 【High Compability】Keliiyo 4 way Hdmi Splitter supports full HD 1080P and 3D resolutions, it can...
  • 【Material& Transmission】Keliiyo hdmi audio splitter made of tough metal material, anti-oxidation...

Last update on 2022-12-06 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The KELIIYO HDMI splitter is an active HDMI splitter that can connect to up to 4 displays.

Sale
4K 1 in 2 Out HDMI Splitter by OREI - Ultra HD 4K @ 30 Hz 1x2 V. 1.4 HDCP, Power HDMI Supports 3D Full HD 1080P for Xbox, PS4 PS3 Fire Stick Blu Ray...
  • Hdmi Splitter 1 in 2 out - ability to distribute Audio and video signal from a single source to 2...
  • 4K @ 30Hz - crystal clear picture - This unit will not allow you to extend PC monitors. It will only...
  • Support Ultra HD 3840 x 2160 resolution & 3D, deep Color 30bit, 36bit, Blu-ray 24/50/60FS/xvycc....

Last update on 2022-12-05 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API.

The OREI 2-Port HDMI splitter is an active HDMI splitter that can connect to up to 2 displays.

Why Isn’t My Active HDMI Splitter Working?

If you bought a quality product and set it up properly only to find that your active HDMI splitter isn’t working, your problem might be HDCP.

HDCP stands for “High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection”.

This is a type of technology that double-checks the video going through the splitter to make sure it’s not copyrighted.

If it is, splitting the source into 2 or more displays is considered digital piracy, and many HDMI splitters are built to prevent this.

The way that HDCP knows a video is copyrighted is if it’s encrypted in some way.

A TV opening Netflix and a cup of hot coffee

This is common on paid platforms like cable boxes or streaming sites like Netflix. 

So if you want to use an HDMI splitter, you may need to find one without HDCP, or use a video source that isn’t encrypted.

Conclusion

An HDMI splitter allows you to split a video source and send it to several displays.

Passive HDMI splitters don’t need power, whereas active HDMI splitters do.

If you have a complex setup with long wires or many displays, you will need an active HDMI splitter to prevent signal degradation.

To use an HDMI splitter, simply plug in the input, the outputs, and the power source, if needed.

If your active HDMI splitter isn’t working, HDCP might be blocking your video source.

We hope this article helped you learn more about HDMI splitters!

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