How Many HDMI Inputs Do I Want on an HDTV?

You may need more HDMI inputs than you realize

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 essential to consider the number of HDMI inputs you need when buying one of the best TVs for your needs.

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

How Many HDMI Inputs Do You Need?

Before buying a TV, count the number of devices you plan to connect to it, then add one or two to that number. In most cases, you should look for an HDTV that has at least three HDMI inputs, but four is preferred for additional flexibility.

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

If you have an incoming cable or satellite set-top box, use the primary 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. Therefore, a direct connection is always preferred.

Two HDMI inputs are better than one. However, with the number of HDMI devices out there, having only two connections puts you in the same boat as having only one input. So either you can't use HDMI when you need to or must rely on an HDMI switcher.

Three or more HDMI inputs allow you to connect three or more components to the HDTV with HDMI cables, including a video game console, Blu-ray Disc player, soundbars, and cable or satellite set-top box. If you use a streaming stick or box to give your TV access to streaming content and apps, you'll need an HDMI port for it. You'll also need one for HDMI speakers for your home entertainment center.

Make a list of your HDMI devices and check it twice before shopping.

What HDMI Formats Should I Consider?

Along with the number of HDMI ports on your HDTV, you'll also need to consider the HDMI formats it supports. You'll likely encounter HDTVs with:

  • HDMI 1.4
  • HDMI 2.0
  • HDMI 2.1

Fortunately, the newer HDMI formats are backward-compatible, so transmitting video and sound will likely work fine. The HDMI 2.1 format includes expanded bandwidth and supports higher resolutions and frame rates, so if you go with this format, ensure your HDMI cables match the ports for the best results.

Your best bet for quality is to stick with at least HDMI 2.0. If you're debating between HDMI 2.0 vs. HDMI 2.1, note that gamers and other high-octane users should go all out for the latest HDMI 2.1 TVs and cables that match.

Other HDMI Buying Advice

Consider buying an HDTV with a side HDMI input, which is convenient when you mount your TV on the wall, making the ports on the back of the TV easier to reach.

  • How do I add more HDMI ports to my TV?

    While you can't add additional ports to your TV, you can gain additional port space by using an HDMI switch. An HDMI switch connects to one of your TV's HDMI ports and splits the single channel into multiple channels. The best HDMI switchers allow you to plug in up to four devices on one HDMI port.

  • Where is the HDMI port on an LG TV?

    You can find the HDMI port or ports on the back of an LG TV, often below or next to the USB port, VGA input, and audio input. Newer LG TVs, such as LG's QNED MiniLED 99 series smart TVs, have an HDMI port on the side of the TV for easier access. The number of HDMI ports varies by LG TV model.

  • Which HDMI port is ARC on a Samsung TV?

    On a Samsung TV, you'll see an HDMI port clearly labeled ARC on the back of the TV or One Connect box. ARC (Audio Return Channel) is a specialized HDMI cable feature that lets the audio signal travel to and from the speakers.

Was this page helpful?