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Can an HDMI Splitter Extend the Display to Multiple Screens? Check Right Now!

Last Updated: November 07, 2023

Are you wondering if can an HDMI splitter extend the display to 2 monitors? Then you are at the right spot. Dual monitors can significantly improve your computer’s viewing experience, but with only one HDMI port on your computer, how can you extend the display to an additional monitor?

You may want to increase your computer’s display to an additional monitor using an HDMI splitter. If that is your first thought, it’s time to think again. Fortunately, this article is here to help you out, so keep reading!

Can an HDMI Splitter Extend the Display To 2 Monitors

Can Most HDMI Splitters Extend the Display to 2 Monitors? Will an HDMI Splitter Work for Dual Monitors?

An HDMI splitter is designed to duplicate or mirror an image onto other displays, and will not work to extend your display to additional monitors. A splitter will send the HDMI signal to two displays. For dual monitors, a second video output or HDMI adapter is needed.

Can Most HDMI Splitters Extend the Display to 2 Monitors

A splitter may appear to be the ideal solution for extending your display, but it isn’t. Splitters do have their purpose and are excellent for duplicating displays. For example, churches use them to project the same image on multiple projectors.

Fortunately, most modern computers, both desktops and laptops, will support a minimum of two displays. Some, such as those with dedicated graphics cards, can support even more.

Read Also: Roku vs Smart TV: Which One You Should Buy For Better Entertainment?

How Do I Use Two Monitors With One HDMI Port?

With two monitors you can view more information at once and finish tasks faster. Additionally, some people find that the extra screen space makes them feel less stressed or overwhelmed because they are not constantly switching between windows on one monitor. 

How Do I Use Two Monitors With One HDMI Port?

How do you set up dual monitors with only one HDMI port?

Four ways to add a display when you only have one HDMI port:

  1. If available, use another display port on your computer (such as VGA, DVI, or Display Port);
  2. Add a graphics card;
  3. Use a USB display adapter;
  4. Try a docking station.

1. Additional Display Ports

Your computer may only have one HDMI output, but it almost certainly has another output that may be used at the same time.

  • VGA: An older computer’s VGA port may work at the same time as the HDMI one. Some monitors lack VGA ports, so you’ll need a VGA to HDMI adapter or converter to connect them. 
  • DVI: A modern computer may have a DVI or DisplayPort connection in addition to an HDMI port. You’ll need a DVI or DisplayPort to HDMI converter or cable to connect them.
Additional Display Ports

2. Graphics Card

If your desktop only supports a single display, you may add a graphics card. Even the cheapest graphics cards these days can handle two displays. Higher-end cards can even drive four or more monitors.

Graphics Card

Laptops can also have two displays. However, one of the displays is built-in, so they typically only support one external display.

  • That’s true even if the laptop has more than one display port.
  • VGA and HDMI used to be a popular combination, but unless your computer has a dedicated GPU, you won’t be able to utilize both at the same time.
  • A laptop with a discrete GPU can usually support multiple external displays.

My computer has a USB-C output which drives my dual monitors, in addition to my laptop monitor for a total of three screens.

Note: DisplayPort is a special case where, if you have the right cable, a single DisplayPort output may support two monitors. 

3. Use a USB Display Adapter

You can add an additional display adapter via USB. USB 2.0 will have a noticeable log since it cannot handle the bandwidth that video requires, but USB 3.0 and beyond should be fine.

Use a USB Display Adapter

4. Extending the Display with a USB Docking Station or Hub

A docking station is what I use while I’m at my desk. I plug it into my USB-C port, and it drives my dual monitors, as well as my keyboard. If you have a permanent setup for your dual displays, you might want to invest in a USB docking station. 

The USB docking station will probably stay close to your monitor setup, but they are small enough to be portable if needed. They connect to your computer’s USB port and handle multiple types of connections and ports.

  • A USB dock, for example, will have more USB connections, a 3.5 mm audio output, Display ports, USB-C ports, and a maybe few other features such as a power button.
  • While a USB adapter may solve the problem, I find a docking station to be useful for more than just dual monitors. They include all of the necessary HDMI ports and come with a variety of other connections that I use often.

Extending the Display with a USB Docking Station or Hub

There are a plethora of simple and trustworthy HDMI adapters on the market. Adapters are simple to install and operate, and they require no setup. There are a lot of options that can be found on Amazon.

What this means in practice is a straightforward solution for your issue. If you don’t have enough USB ports available, consider getting a USB hub. Those can also be found on Amazon.

It’s also a more viable option if your system is mostly stationary. A USB hub may be placed on your desk and used with a laptop when required. If you are constantly on the go, a USB adapter may be more practical.

Pro tip: One word of advice though is to not have a lot of data-intensive devices running at the same time if you are not using USB 3.0. Sending video takes a lot of data, and you will run into issues trying to use other devices.

Hubs for MAC and PC

It’s worth noting that most USB hubs are universal, working with both Macs and PCs. A couple of great options for the Mac and PC are the Lention USB-C Multi-Port Hub (on Amazon) as well as the Plugable USB 3.0 Docking Station (on Amazon). Look for the kind of USB ports your computer has. You will need to Identify if your computer has USB 3.0 ports.

Hubs for MAC and PC
Pro tip: Take a close look at your computer’s physical ports. A USB 3.0 port will be marked with either a blue color on the port or markings next to it, which indicates “SS” (SuperSpeed) or “3.0.” Alternatively, it will be a USB Type-C port, which is a small one with rounded edges.

Configuring Dual Monitors On Different Operating Systems

Configuring dual monitors using a HDMI splitter can be a challenge for many users. In the guide below, I will help you to set up dual monitors on the most widely used operating systems such as Mac, Windows (PC), and Linux. Let’s read on!

Dual Monitors On Apple/MAC Using HDMI Splitters

The method below will help you to set up multiple displays on your MAC. Check it out!

  • Step 1: Connect External Monitors to Your Mac: Use an HDMI cable or adapter, if necessary, to connect your external monitors to your Mac.
  • Step 2: Access System Preferences: Now, you have to open the Apple menu. Next, select System Preferences.
  • Step 3: Configure Display Settings: Click on Displays. Then, navigate to the Arrangement tab.
  • Step 4: Arrange Monitors and Adjust Settings: Drag the monitors to your preferred positions. Next, fine-tune the resolution and scaling to suit your needs.
  • Step 5: Extend Your Working Area: Ensure the “Mirror Displays” box is unchecked. You likely want to extend your display for a larger workspace.
  • Step 6: Apply Your Changes: Click the Apply button to save the adjusted display settings.

Check out this video for additional guidance!

Using HDMI Splitter to Setup Dual Monitors On Windows/PC

Listed below are the handy steps to set up dual monitors through Windows. Read below:

  • Step 1: Connect External Monitors to Your PC: Use HDMI splitters and HDMI cables if needed to connect your external monitor to your PC.
  • Step 2: Access Display Settings: Right-click on your desktop. Then choose Display Settings.
  • Step 3: Set Up Extended Desktop: In Display Settings, click the “Multiple displays” dropdown menu. Select “Extend desktop.”
  • Step 4: Arrange Monitors and Adjust Settings: Drag the monitors to your preferred positions. Fine-tune the resolution and scaling according to your requirements.
  • Step 5: Save Your Changes: Click the Apply button to confirm and save the modified display settings.

For more insights check out this helpful video.

Dual Monitors On Linux via HDMI Splitter

Here are the helpful steps to configure the dual monitors. Let’s get started!

  • Step 1: Connect an External Monitor to Your Linux Machine: Use HDMI splitters or HDMI cables to connect your monitors to your Linux machine.
  • Step 2: Access Terminal and List Displays: Start, by opening the terminal. Next, enter this command “xrandr” to list the available “displays”.
  • Step 3: Configuring the Displays: Carefully choose the names of the “displays” you want to assign. Now, you need to enter the command “xrandr–output [display name] –auto –right-of [other display name]” to configure the displays.
  • Step 4: Adjust Resolution and Scaling: Fine-tune resolution and scaling using the same command with additional arguments as necessary.
  • Step 5: Save Changes Permanently: Save the changes to your xorg.conf file to make them permanent.

Here is a video link that will help you out!

If you are interested in a splitter for dual monitors, check out this USB C Docking station. It has a 4K support and a 100W power delivery option.

FAQs

What does an HDMI splitter do?

A splitter duplicates an HDMI signal and transmits it through multiple displays.

Can I extend my display with HDMI?

Yes, you can extend your display with the HDMI allowing you to set up multiple monitors.

Can you run 2 monitors off 1 DisplayPort?

Yes, multiple monitors can be connected keeping in mind that the graphics card and monitor have this feature for the configuration. To do this, you need a DisplayPort MST (Multi-Stream Transport) hub.

Does An HDMI splitter reduce quality?

An HDMI splitter will not reduce quality to a noticeable level. They copy a signal so it is less likely to happen but using a low-quality device can result in unexpected results.

Can you extend displays with a HDMI splitter?

No, you cannot extend displays using a basic HDMI splitter alone. It just duplicates the same content on multiple displays.

Conclusion

To sum it up, unfortunately, you can’t use an HDMI splitter to extend the display to 2 monitors. But if you’re looking for an easy way to add a second display to your computer, there are plenty of options available. You can use a graphics card, USB adapter or docking station, or even multiple displays connected via USB. Whichever route you choose, be sure to do your research first to make sure you get the best product for your needs.

My recommended option would be to consider using a USB docking station or hub. They are simple to use and provide all the port connections you might need. Make sure your computer has USB 3.0 ports before purchasing, as this is required for some of the higher-bandwidth activities such as video streaming.

There are a variety of great options when it comes to using a USB docking station or hub for extending your display. They are simple to install and use, making them a great choice for those who want an easy way to add a second screen. If you’re looking for an adapter that can handle multiple port connections, a USB docking station is the way to go.

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