The best HDMI switcher can expand your TV's HDMI port offering while still managing to deliver the highest quality streaming and beyond. The key to finding the best HDMI switcher for you is to hit that sweet spot between a decent price and a great performance. From the number of ports to the ease of use, there are a few factors you'll want to think about. Do you need a remote? Is auto-switching important to you? Here are the best HDMI switchers currently available.
Supports 4K resolution
The J-Tech Digital is the best HDMI switcher overall base on our hands-on testing. It is super easy to set up all devices. When switching between inputs, this switcher performs very fast. This is also good for a 4K feed, helping to make this a more long term investment. This switcher is compatible with HDMI sources version 1.4b and lower and is also compliant with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection) version 1.4.
Affordable 4K HDMI switcher
The Gana HDMI switch features a very basic setup, with an HDMI cable on one end to connect to the TV and then three ports on the hook-up at the other end. Simple. This is a positive for those that want an easy setup. Each of the three ports is 4K resolution capable. You don't get a remote with this, which means you need to switch between the port inputs using a physical switch.
Connect everything at once
The Univivi 7-port HDMI Switch is perfect for anyone that has a whole bunch of devices that need to be connected at once. It has an impressive seven ports. Smart switching is built-in so an active port will automatically be routed through to the TV. While that does mean you don't have to do anything, there is also a remote control included so you can manually switch too. This is ideal if there are more than one input powered up at the same time.
Supports game consoles
The TOTU HDMI Switch 4 Port is one of the best options for gamers. There are four HDMI ports but unlike a lot of other switchers, this supports 4K, HDR, and 60Hz refresh rates. This makes the TOTU ideal for lag-free, high-quality images and why it is so well suited for gaming. This comes with a remote control but there is also auto-switching so you don't have to do anything but power up a device and this will send that signal.
External IR sensor
The Fosmon HD1832 is a super affordable HDMI switcher with five ports and an infrared remote to switch between them. It features auto-switching and works perfectly with Apple TV, Chromecast Ultra, and laptops. It does struggle with some TVs. This switcher has an external IR sensor so you can hide the switcher behind your TV and still use the remote. The Fosmon Intelligent switcher supports resolutions up to 1080p as well as 3D. It supports HDMI version 1.3b and HDCP 1.1.
Important Things to Consider When Choosing an HDMI Switcher
HDMI switchers are essentially HDMI hubs that let you plug your HDMI devices into the switcher and then connect a single HDMI cord to your TV. If you’re running out of HDMI ports on your TV, or you have an older TV with just a few HDMI ports, an HDMI switcher can give you more ports for less money than an expensive AV receiver.
Automatic, Manual & Remote Switching
HDMI switches feature either automatic or manual switching. The difference between the switching styles is straightforward: Manual switchers have a physical button or switch to toggle between your preferred input, while automatic switchers have sensors that detect what input is currently active and automatically send that input information to the output device. Most of the HDMI switches we tested have automatic switching, and some allow you to turn off this feature if you prefer manual.
Some HDMI switches have an infrared sensor and come with a small remote, so you can manually switch between inputs without getting up. We preferred products with an external infrared sensor as opposed to a built-in sensor, as they keep the switch itself out of sight without losing the remote function. Both automatic and manual HDMI switches can support remote switching.
HDMI Switcher vs. HDMI Splitter
Though the names are similar, HDMI switchers and HDMI splitters perform very different tasks. An HDMI switch takes multiple inputs and a single output. A switch allows you to connect a video games console, Blu-ray player, and a streaming device to the same television and choose which of the three inputs to display.
An HDMI splitter does the opposite – it takes a single input and directs it to multiple outputs to allow a single device, like a Roku, to deliver content to multiple devices.
HDMI and HDCP Versions
It’s important to understand that different versions of HDMI may not be compatible with one another. While HDMI cables come in only two versions, high-speed and normal, devices that use HDMI can have different versions. The latest HDMI version is 2.0, and TVs or switchers that use this version are compatible with earlier versions like 1.4 and 1.3. However, a TV that supports only HDMI 1.3 won’t be able to play content from an HDMI 2.0 Blu-ray player.
HDCP is closely tied to HDMI and is a digital “handshake” protocol that ensures you’re not playing pirated content. Similar to HDMI, HDCP versions need to match up for content to be played correctly. The newest version of HDCP is 2.2, and not all devices will support pass-through from all versions of HDCP.
It is possible the HDMI switcher you want may not come with an HDMI cord, so you’ll have to purchase at least one to connect the switcher to your TV. Don’t pay attention to HDMI cords that advertise support for various HDMI versions or HDCP. HDMI cords are simply pipes that stream data, so you just need to purchase an HDMI cord that is labeled high-speed.