HDMI splitters can be a quick solution to connect more than one audio device. The question is: Can you connect multiple devices to a soundbar using an HDMI Splitter?
You can use an HDMI splitter to connect a limited amount of devices to a soundbar. For splitting the video and audio from a DVD player, use the splitter’s output to connect a soundbar and TV. The input port will connect to the video player. This won’t work for the HDMI input needing an ARC signal.
Luckily, there are more efficient ways to set up a home theater – you can connect multiple devices to the soundbar. Turn your TV into a switcher and toggle between the TV’s HDMI inputs to switch between devices while ensuring the TV’s audio output is connected to the soundbar. To learn the process in detail, make sure to read the article all the way through.
How To Connect Multiple HDMI Devices to a Soundbar?
It will come as no surprise if you prefer soundbars over your usual TV speakers. The audio coming from these external audio devices can significantly heighten sound quality.
Because of this, you’d likely like to connect multiple devices to your soundbar. Who wouldn’t like the idea of playing games with immersive audio effects or DVDs with surround sound?
Fortunately, there are a few ways to configure your devices so that they all connect to the soundbar.
Turn Your TV Into an Intermediary
The simplest out of all these options is turning your TV into an intermediary. You can achieve this by plugging all your devices into the TV that connects directly to the soundbar.
There are a few perks of using this technique. First, it’s a complex job to connect a Soundbar to multiple devices at once. This is because most of these audio devices only have one HDMI input port.
Use Your Wifi to Connect Devices
Also, when streaming using a Smart TV, it’s possible to use the Wifi signal to connect all devices to your big display. Not only is the process easy, but you can also eliminate the need for clumsy wires and cables. It would make your space much tidier.
Use the HDMI Splitter
Another way is to use the HDMI Splitter. However, this may increase the complexity of the connection (this is discussed later in the article).
Does a Soundbar Work With a HDMI Splitter?
Yes, but the setup is a bit confusing. Usually, we’d like to use an HDMI splitter when wanting to connect a video player to the Soundbar and TV at the same time. Typically, the TV connects with the soundbar via an HDMI input or an optical input port.
Understanding that the HDMI input is reserved for the video player, in this case, we must look for the latter option.
But what if the TV does not feature a spare optical port to connect with the soundbar? Or, even worse, soundbars often lack the HDMI outport to connect with the TV. If you have a soundbar at home, you may be familiar with that struggle.
This is when an HDMI splitter works best for soundbars. You can connect the HDMI input port of the splitter to the video player. And use the two output ports to connect with the Soundbar and the TV.
However, here is a catch. This setup will only work if your HDMI input port does not require the ARC signal. In such a case, get an HDMI optical splitter. The device will split out the audio via the optical cable that will go to your soundbar while the HDMI outport connects to your TV.
Does Using an HDMI Splitter Reduce Quality?
No, HDMI splitters basically work by copying the signal from one device and transferring it to multiple devices. So, what you transmit is what you receive.
However, if you have lower-quality hardware, you may not get a great result. The same is the case with a non-powered HDMI Splitter.
Apart from that, avoid using long cables with Splitters. This can also reduce the signal quality to some extent.
Here are some of the facts you must know about HDMI splitters before getting one.
4K Quality Restrictions
With technological advancements, it’s now possible to experience cinematic effects at home. 4k is proof of that.
People streaming 4k videos in their homes has become more common. All you need is a TV panel supporting the technology and an HDMI cable that could carry the 4k video.
However, using an HDMI splitter means you will be intruding on the current configuration to manage videos. So, if you get a 1080p splitter, it will downgrade the 4k video quality down to 1080.
Thankfully, you can avoid this problem. There are splitters supporting the output you expect. So, when streaming 4k to two 4k monitors, the splitter has to be rated for 4k for it all to work.
Make sure you are using a powered option. Doing so will avoid any probable quality issues and provide the best streaming experience.
Note: If you use a splitter to send signals to two different screens, it might happen that the screens differ in resolution. Splitters are designed to downgrade themselves based on the screen with the lowest resolution. When trying to stream video to a 4k TV alongside a 1080p TV, using a splitter will result in 1080 resolution to both screens.
Some believe that HDMI Splitters bring significant lag when streaming. Typically, this happens with a non-powered unit. Hence, consider spending a little extra money on powered HDMI splitters (on Amazon), the one that connects to a power source.
A powered unit won’t delay the content to more than a few milliseconds (ms). So, watching videos with a difference of 2ms would not even be noticeable.
Those looking to connect their gaming consoles to the splitters must get the splitter that mentions the refresh rate.
How to Connect Multiple Devices to Soundbar Without an HDMI Splitter?
There are soundbars that host a few inputs, sometimes limited to a single digital and analog audio input. That said, it becomes impossible to configure the device with the latest home theatre gear.
Wouldn’t it have been easy to use multiple inputs to suffice the need for a game console, DVD player, Blu-ray player, as well as streaming devices?
Well, you are in luck. Regardless of your soundbar’s single input port, there is a way to manage all the gears at once. Just turn your TV into a switcher. Most often, TVs are packed with different connector support. Plus, there is often more than one HDMI port.
Setting your TV as a switcher will simplify the overall process of input selection. So, how do you do that?
Connect the Different Devices to Your TV
To start, connect your different devices such as game consoles, Blue-ray players, and others to your TV directly.
Simply use the HDMI input port on your television to add as many devices as the TV supports. In case any of the devices need analog video support, such as Nintendo Wii, use the analog input on your TV to complete the connection. Usually, every TV has at least one analog input port.
Use the TV’s Audio Output to Connect to the Soundbar
Usually, TVs can handle a few audio output options. It is no surprise to find more than one way to connect your soundbar to the TV’s audio output. For instance, you can either connect with the digital optical cable, an analog RCA cable, or even the HDMI output port.
Depending on what your soundbar supports, you can pick any of these choices as you please.
The idea here is to connect any one of your TV’s audio output to your soundbar’s input. If your soundbar supports the digital audio output, it will be a better choice than the analog cable.
Make Soundbar the Preferred Speaker
In case you hear sound from your TV as well as the speaker, there is still some tinkering needed to be done. In short, you must disable the TV’s native speakers to enhance the clarity of the sound.
To change the speaker preference, visit the settings on your TV. Look for the “Sound” options and select “External Speaker” under “Speaker.”
The process of changing the preferred speaker may change as per your TV’s make and model. So, if you have any trouble finding the setting options, check the TV’s manual. Or else, you can always choose to Google your questions mentioning your TV model.
Switch Between Different Devices
After completing the entire setup, you can switch between different inputs on the TV using its remote. Depending on what you select, the same audio will play from the soundbar.
Select “Input” on your TV’s remote and choose between different HDMI input choices, often listed as HDMI 1, HDMI 2, and so on.
The fun part is that you won’t need to change inputs on the soundbar. Also, you can configure the TV’s remote to take care of the soundbar’s volume control. That said, there is no need to manage multiple remotes to access your devices.
Best HDMI Splitter for Your Soundbar
Never compromise with your non-powered HDMI splitters. You can find cheap ones, but those won’t guarantee a long life. In addition, you won’t get the sound and video quality you are expecting.
Not just that, this hardware crashes when used for long hours continuously. Plus, you can operate only one screen at a time.
On the other hand, buying a little more expensive powered HDMI splitter will offer better value for your spending. These host-integrated circuits perfectly match the needed resolution.
If you are not sure which one to buy, here are a few recommendations:
HDMI Splitter 1 in 4 Out by KELIIYO
The splitter hosts single HDMI input with four similar HDMI outputs. Using the Keliiyo HDMI Splitter (on Amazon), you can connect at most four different devices at a time. It supports various devices such as Xbox, DVB receivers, Apple TV, Blu-Ray player, laptop, and more.
Make sure to restrict the device distance to 30 feet to enjoy the best results. In terms of resolution, the splitter is highly versatile. Compatible with full HD 1080P along with 3D resolutions, the splitter can extend its support to 4K@30Hz resolutions as well.
4K HDMI Splitter 1 In 2 Out
Another high-quality HDMI splitter, the OREI 4K HDMI Splitter 1 In 2 Out (on Amazon), supports two HDMI out ports. You can enjoy the resolutions up to 4K@30Hz along with a 48-bit deep color.
The audio support is also versatile. It can handle uncompressed audio codecs (such as LPCM) along with compressed audio formats. For instance, these include Dolby Digital, DTS Digital, DTS-HD, and Dolby TrueHD.
Configuration is a breeze too. Just connect your devices using the HDMI ports and plug in the splitter to the power source. And you can switch between different devices without any hassle.