Cable splitters are used to connect multiple TVs, computer monitors, or other devices to a single signal source. There are differences between the various types of splitters, but a few general rules apply to them all. Splitters only go from one input to multiple outputs; if you need to go from multiple inputs to one output, you need a switch instead.
When a signal goes through a splitter, it is divided and becomes weaker. Imagine an HDMI splitter as an example. Modern HDMI cables are capable of a 4k signal, which works fine if you are using a single HDMI cable by itself. However, say you use a 4-way HDMI splitter to run four cables to four TVs. Each signal would only have half the normal strength so none of the TVs will have 4k quality.
Because the signal is evenly divided, the signal will become weaker for bigger splitters.
Audio and video cables go hand-in-hand, often being paired together. Some cables can even transmit audio and video on just one line. Over time a lot of new audio and video cables have been introduced, so the cable you need will often depend on the age of the equipment you are using. Most TVs, computers, and other devices can use multiple types of audio and video connections, so it is good to be able to identify them and know your options.
Audio-only cables include:
- Optical Toslink
Video-only cables include:
Audio/video cables include:
HDMI: The New Standard
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cables are the new standard for audio/video cables on modern televisions, computers, video game consoles, and more. The majority of new electronics today are built with at least one HDMI port. HDMI is excellent at what does, being able to transmit digital audio and video through a single line.
While HDMI is fantastic, many older devices that predate HDMI are still around and in use. Some newer devices are also built with only alternatives to HDMI, although this is much less common. When either of these scenarios come up, the easiest solution is to use an HDMI adapter. There are different types of adapters (as well as converters) that you may need depending on what you want to convert to HDMI.