Best answer: If you have enough HDMI ports on your display, you should connect it directly. But an HDMI switch is incredibly useful when you have a lot of devices and not enough HDMI ports built into your television.
- For multiple consoles: StarTech 4-Port 4K HDMI Switch ($54 at Amazon)
- For 4K gaming: AmazonBasics High-Speed HDMI Cable ($7 at Amazon)
What exactly is an HDMI switch?
Also known as HDMI switchers, an HDMI switch is a device that allows you to plug in multiple electronics via HDMI inputs and then output them all through one HDMI cord connected to your television. In more simple terms, multiple inputs can be redirected to one output. This effectively "adds" HDMI inputs to your television without physically adding new ports to your television.
How does this differ from an HDMI splitter?
An HDMI splitter is like the opposite of an HDMI switch. Instead of switching between multiple signals and redirecting the one you want to use through its output, an HDMI splitter takes one signal and splits it to multiple devices. For example, you could split the signal of a Blu-ray player between two televisions.
How is an HDMI switch useful?
If your television only has two HDMI inputs but you need to connect three devices, instead of plugging and unplugging your cords, you can plug all three into an HDMI switch and then plug your HDMI switch into your television using one HDMI output to consolidate your input usage. If your HDMI switch does not automatically detect which signal is currently in use, you can switch between HDMI signals through a remote or manually on the device itself.
If you're an avid gamer and have a PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch in addition to your cable box, you'll likely need to pick up an HDMI Switch for the convenience.
Do HDMI switches cause lag or other problems?
So long as you get a good, active HDMI switch (which tend to be more expensive) there should not be any noticeable lag. Active switches, as opposed to passive, run on an external power supply through an AC adapter. If you have a PlayStation 4 Pro, you'll also want an HDMI switch that supports 4K resolution and HDR through HDMI 2.0.
Efficient and affordable
StarTech's 4-Port 4K HDMI Switch is exactly the type of active switch you'll need to get your gaming on at the highest possible quality without sacrificing performance.
Plug in your consoles
To complement your brand new HDMI Switch, pick up a high-speed HDMI cable that supports 4K video at 60FPS. It's exactly what you'll need to play your favorite games.
Be an expert in 5 minutes
Get the latest news from Android Central, your trusted companion in the world of Android
Jennifer Locke has been playing video games nearly her entire life. You can find her posting pictures of her dog and obsessing over PlayStation and Xbox, Star Wars, and other geeky things.