How Many HDMI Inputs Do I Want on an HDTV?

You may need more HDMI inputs than you realize

HDMI connector

 AlesVeluscek / Getty Images

High-Definition Media Interface (HDMI) delivers high-speed, uncompressed digital audio and video signals to an HD television. HDMI is the preferred connection method to use when connecting a Blu-ray Disc player, gaming system, or cable or satellite set-top box to your HDTV.

It’s important to consider the number of HDMI inputs you need when you buy a new HDTV.

This information applies to televisions from a variety of manufacturers, including but not limited to LG, Samsung, Panasonic, Sony, and Vizio.

How Many HDMI Inputs Do You Need?

Before you buy a TV, count the number of devices you plan to connect to it, then add one or two that number. In most cases, you should look for an HDTV that has at least three HDMI.

No matter the setup, the number of HDMI inputs should at least equal the number of devices you have. You don't want to spend time switching devices on and off to route them to your TV's few HDMI inputs.

If you have an incoming cable or satellite set-top box, use the main HDMI input for the best quality picture. Although you can buy an HDMI splitter or switch, some switches can cause syncing issues with the audio and video. A direct connection is always preferred.

Two HDMI inputs are better than one, but with the number of devices on the market that use HDMI connections, having only two connections eventually puts you in the same boat as having only one input—either not being able to use HDMI when you need to or relying on an HDMI switcher.

Three or more HDMI inputs allow you to connect three or more components to the HDTV with HDMI cables—a video game system, Blu-ray Disc player, and cable or satellite set-top box, for example. If you use an HDMI stick or box to give your TV access to streaming content and apps, you'll need an HDMI port for it, as well as one for any HDMI speakers for your home entertainment center. Make a list of your HDMI devices and check it twice before you shop.

Other HDMI Buying Advice

Consider buying an HDTV that has a side HDMI input, which is a useful interface to have when you connect an HDMI digital video camcorder to the TV. It is also convenient when you mount your new TV on the wall, which makes the ports on the back of the TV difficult to reach.

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