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HDMI video signal manipulations: switchers and splitters

As 2021 draws to an end, your content goes through your projector and onto your outdoor movie screen through an HDMI cable.

For starters, what is HDMI? 

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is a digital replacement for analog video standards. As of early this year, about 10 billion HDMI devices have been sold all over the world. When necessary, HDMI devices can control each other letting you operate multiple devices with one handheld remote control device.

We gathered here some tips for those in our outdoor movie community who might find themselves needing to switch or split your HDMI signal.

Which projector to choose: laser, LED or a lamp one?

Let's start with the basics. What does an HDMI splitter labeled 1x3 actually tell you?

1x3 = 1 source input, 3 outputs. Available on the market are HDMI 16x16 splitters/switches. Though most of you -- especially the backyard-movie-night folks -- won't need those commercial-grade devices.

A splitter comes in handy when you have one source, and want to send that source's signal to multiple screens. Think for example of a situation when you want to have a preview of the show before your eyes only, to make sure your event's audience gets to watch the right content once you send it to the big screen.

Picture a situation before the sunset -- as your audience slowly gathers for the big movie night under the stars. Since because of the sun light you cannot use the projected image yet, using a small LCD battery-powered screen and an HDMI splitter is the way to go in that situation.

Options are aplenty when it comes to HDMI splitters. On Amazon, you can find them for as little as $10. Some HDMI splitters are unpowered. But consider getting a powered one -- to make sure your outdoor projection setup operates without connectivity issues or dropouts.

Some splitters are designed to also serve as switches, with multiple "ins" and "outs." HDMI switches are a smart way to reduce the wear and tear on your cables and outdoor movie gear.

Say you have several playback sources that you use along with your inflatable movie screen: for example, a Bluray player and Chromecast. To avoid the trouble of manually switching between these devices, you can use an inexpensive HDMI switch to switch the signal from these two gadgets with a click of a button

Another possible use for an HDMI switch is when -- during a commercial outdoor movie screening -- you need to switch from the event sponsor content to the feature movie.

We recommend using HDMI 2.0 switches which work with both 1080p resolution and the more advanced 4K sources (read our article about 1080P vs. 4K projectors for outdoor movies).

Consider getting an HDMI switch that comes with a remote. And -- one last thought -- make sure you get more inputs than you think you currently need.

If any questions or comments -- please get in touch with us below!

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