Best HDMI Switchers For UK TV In 2020

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When the HDMI port first came out, almost 20 years ago, TVs that had one were an advanced novelty. But now, with so many streaming devices, set-top boxes, gaming consoles and more – we keep running out of ports. That’s where an HDMI switcher comes in handy.

A small box that sits next to your telly, an HDMI switcher connects to an available port on your TV. Then, you connect all your other HDMI-based devices to the switcher itself, and by pressing a button (or using a remote control, on some switchers), you can switch between the devices without connecting and disconnecting their cables over and over again.

But even though these devices are simple, finding the best HDMI switcher isn’t always easy. In this review, I take a look at the better ones out there (starting with our Editor’s Choice, the UGREEN 3 Port HDMI Switch) as well as explain what you need to consider before you buy.

Best HDMI Switchers 2020

Editor's Choice
5/5

An excellent HDMI switcher with a remote and 4K support, at a good price.

UGREEN 3 Port HDMI Switch, HDMI Input Cable Splitter Box Support 4K 3D 1080P with Wireless Remote Control compatible with PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Blu-ray Player, DVD Player, TV, etc

Our Rating
4.5/5

Great HDMI switcher if you need more ports and top quality, but a bit more expensive.

Kinivo 550BN 4K@60Hz Premium 5-Port HDMI Switch With Remote - Supports 4K 60Hz UltraHD, High Speed(18Gbps), HDR, HDCP 2.2 & 3D

Best Value
4/5

Very good HDMI switcher at a decent price, but doesn’t have a remote.

4K@60Hz HDMI Switch,New Updated【HDMI Switcher 2.0】,Supports 4K 60hz,3 in 1 out,Full HD1080P 3D,HDCP2.2,HDR for Apple TV 4K, Fire Stick TV,PS4, PS3,Sky Box,X BOX One,DVD,PC Etc,Come with a HDMI Cable

Our Rating
3.5/5

A cheap 3-port HDMI switcher that works well but has no 4K support and no remote.

HDMI Switch, GANA Gold Plated 3-Port HDMI Switcher | HDMI Splitter | Supports Full HD1080p/3D with High Speed Cable

Our Rating
3.5/5

A simple 2-port HDMI switch that can also be used as an HDMI splitter.

HDMI Splitter, Techole Aluminum HDMI Switch Bi-direction 1 In 2 Out or 2 Input to 1 Output Manual HDMI Switcher, Support 4K 3D 1080P, Plug and Play for Xbox, PS4, PS3, Blu-Ray player, DVD, HDTV

What Is An HDMI Switcher?

In the olden days, our video and set-top boxes had a variety of connectors – RCA (Red/Yellow/White), SCART, S-VHS, etc’. These days, however, almost all the digital video devices (such as DVD players, Blu-ray, streaming devices and others) have an HDMI plug. 

And while, in the past, we only had one or two devices connected to our tellies (such as a VCR and a gaming console), these days each living room might have a full tower of devices – a streaming device (like the Amazon Fire TV or Roku Stick), a PS4 or XBOX, a soundbar / an amplifier, a Freeview recorder, and the list goes on and on.

And yet, some TVs come with a very small number of HDMI ports. Some of the older ones even have just… one. So, how would you connect several HDMI-based devices with just one or two ports available on your telly? An HDMI switch is the answer. 

An HDMI switcher is a small box that comes with several HDMI input ports, and one HDMI output port. So if the switcher has 3 “in” ports, you can connect three devices to it – let’s say a streamer, a PS4 and a Freeview recorder. Then, with one cable, you connect the “out” side of the switcher to your TV’s available HDMI port – and voila – you have three devices connected to the same port on your TV.

But how will you switch between these three devices? There are three options, depending on the HDMI switcher you buy:

  • Automatic switching: The switcher senses which device is active at the moment (your Fire TV is sending a video signal, for example), so it automatically switches the output on your TV screen to that active device. While it sounds convenient, this automatic switching is far from perfect, and the switcher will often get confused with devices that “snatch” the port even when they’re seemingly idle.
  • Manual Switching: You switch between the HDMI input ports by pressing a button on the switcher itself.
  • Manual Switching with a Remote: You still have to manually switch between the connected input ports, but at least you don’t have to get up from the sofa, as you have an IR remote that controls the switcher.

Remember, however, that you can’t use the devices connected to the HDMI switcher simultaneously. So connecting a streaming device and a soundbar via the switcher, for example, is not a good idea – as you’ll always have to choose BETWEEN either the soundbar or the streaming device working at the same time. 

Belfen HDMI Switcher 3 port

What’s The Difference Between An HDMI Switcher And HDMI Splitter?

When you search to buy the best HDMI switcher, you’ll see devices called “HDMI Switch”, devices called “HDMI Splitter”, and those that mix it up and say they’re a Switcher AND a Splitter.

But be careful, as these are two very different devices, that serve an opposite function:

An HDMI Switcher is meant to connect two or more devices to ONE TV.

An HDMI Splitter is meant to connect ONE DEVICE to two or more TVs (or other screens/projectors).

So a switcher lets you switch between different HDMI signals, while a splitter lets you split one HDMI signal out to several screens. 

There are, however, a few products that can serve as BOTH an HDMI Switcher and Splitter, meaning their HDMI ports can serve as either Input or Output. But to keep things simple, it’s usually best to buy a product that fits your specific need. In this article – we’re looking at HDMI Switchers (and one that does both).

If you do need a splitter, check our guide on the Best HDMI Splitters in the UK.

Best HDMI Switchers UK

Buying The Best HDMI Switch: Things To Consider

Getting the perfect HDMI switcher for your needs, is not just a question of quality or even price – it also depends on which features you want, and what exactly you’re planning to connect to your TV – now and in the future.

So use these points as your buying guide:

How Many HDMI Ports Do I Need?

The main reason for buying an HDMI switcher is because you no longer have enough ports on your TV. Therefore, it would be annoying to run into the same exact problem two months after you buy the switcher…

So the first step is to obviously look at the number of HDMI devices you want to connect to your TV now. But then, I would recommend you add at least one (or even two) free HDMI ports, to future-proof your switcher.

Most HDMI switchers have three ports, which should be enough for most (as the TV itself – if it’s a modern one – will have two or three ports as well). But if you already have several HDMI devices, AND your TV has only one or two ports – think about getting a switcher with 5 available input ports.

4K TV screen sizes

HDMI Switchers With 4K/HDR Support

4K (and HDR) are becoming more and more popular, so TVs and streaming devices with 4K support are becoming very common.

But if you want to connect 4K devices to your 4K TV – your HDMI switcher has to support 4K, otherwise you’ll just get Full HD (1080p).

This also comes down to the HDMI version on the switcher. All switchers will support HDMI 1.4, but if you want 4K, you need the switcher to support HDMI 2.0a, or preferably HDMI 2.1.

If you don’t have a 4K TV and you’re not planning to get one anytime soon, there’s no need for a 4K HDMI Switch – but otherwise, you should get one that does.

Should I Get An Automatic HDMI Switcher?

As mentioned above, some HDMI switchers can automatically switch between your HDMI devices, by detecting which “feed” is active.

Manual ones will have a manual button that switches between the connected devices – or a remote control that is used for the same purpose.

While switching automatically sounds good on paper – in my experience, it often doesn’t work very well. Some video devices have a tendency to “steal” the feed by sending signals even when they’re supposed to be idle. (The Google Chromecast is notorious for that!)

So even though that can still happen with a manual switcher, at least you have the power to decide on the fly which device should be in the front – while an automatic switcher might drive you crazy by constantly jumping between the wrong devices.

The best workaround is to get an HDMI switcher with a remote control – you still have manual control, but you don’t have to get up and reach the button which is near your TV… 

How Is The HDMI Switcher Powered?

Some HDMI switchers come without a separate power supply – instead, they get their power from the HDMI devices you connect (which are usually connected to either the wall outlet, or to your TV’s USB port).

This is actually enough for most devices. However, some of the more sophisticated switchers (especially those that come with a remote control) need additional power – so they have a 5V port that you need to connect to a power outlet. 

HDMI Switching And HDCP Support

High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (or HDCP) is a copyright protection mechanism that’s built into all modern HDMI-based video devices. 

It’s a technology that encrypts the signal that comes out of your video device (Blu-ray, streaming stick, etc’), with your telly decrypting it on the other side. 

HDCP is there to protect video feeds from illegal copying, and you need to make sure the HDMI switcher you’re buying supports this standard, otherwise most devices you connect to it won’t be able to broadcast anything to your TV.

Most reputable HDMI switchers will already support the HDCP standard – but it’s something to keep in mind.

HDMI Switching And The PS4 Pro

Connecting a gaming console to your TV is one of the main reasons people buy an HDMI Switch. However, while there should be no issues with the original PS4, the XBOX, and most other gaming consoles – the PS4 PRO does raise some concerns.

First, you need to make sure your HDMI Switcher supports 4K and HDR (as does the PS4 Pro).

But other than that, the PS4 Pro is very finicky about the switchers (and even HDMI cables) it “agrees” to work with. I believe this is mainly due to issues with the HDCP copy-protection standard, as well as power issues. 

If possible, you should connect the PS4 Pro directly to your TV’s HDMI port, and then use a switcher for the other devices you want to connect, on a different TV port.

If that’s not possible, it’s really a matter of trial and error. In my personal testing, the Belfen 4K HDMI Switcher worked flawlessly with the PS4 Pro, and I’m assuming the two top ones will manage it as well – but you won’t know for sure until you try, unfortunately. 

Cord Busters Best HDMI Switchers 2020

 Best Overall  

UGREEN 3 Port HDMI Switch, HDMI Input Cable Splitter Box Support 4K 3D 1080P with Wireless Remote Control compatible with PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Blu-ray Player, DVD Player, TV, etc

Editor's Choice
Price
5/5
Features
5/5
Overall
5/5

Pros

  • Supports 4K
  • IR Remote control
  • Powered by HDMI, with optional external power
  • Great price

Cons

  • The IR receiver is not built in
  • Automatic switching doesn't always work
  • Device switching is a bit slow

Features and Specs

  • 4K Support: Yes
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Manual Button: Yes
  • Automatic Switching: Yes (in theory)
  • Power: Via HDMI or Mini-USB Cable

UGREEN 3 Port HDMI Switcher 4K Review

In finding a balance between a good price and a high-quality device with most of the important features – this UGREEN switcher fits the bill perfectly.

It comes with a remote control for easy switching, though the remote has a separate IR receiver which you connect to the switcher with a cable – that’s a plus for people who want to stick the switcher itself behind the TV, and a minus for those who don’t want yet another cable dangling around their TV cabinet.

UGREEN 3 Port HDMI Switch, HDMI Input Cable Splitter Box Support 4K 3D 1080P with Wireless Remote Control compatible with PS3, PS4, Xbox One, Blu-ray Player, DVD Player, TV, etc

The device is very easy to use, though switching is a bit slow (you have to wait a few seconds when you switch between the ports), and build quality is good (as the many favourable reviews from buyers attest).

All in all, if three HDMI ports are enough for you, this is an excellent piece of kit at a very decent price.

Kinivo 550BN 4K@60Hz Premium 5-Port HDMI Switch With Remote - Supports 4K 60Hz UltraHD, High Speed(18Gbps), HDR, HDCP 2.2 & 3D

Price
4/5
Features
5/5
Overall
4.5/5

Pros

  • Supports 4K, HDR / Dolby Vision
  • Five HDMI ports
  • IR Remote control
  • Excellent build quality

Cons

  • Not cheap
  • Two of the HDMI ports are on the sides

Features and Specs

  • 4K Support: Yes
  • Remote Control: Yes
  • Manual Button: Yes
  • Automatic Switching: Yes (in theory)
  • Power: Power adapter (Supplied)

Kinivo 550BN HDMI Switcher Review

If three additional HDMI ports aren’t enough for you, then the Kinivo is the best choice, with – count ’em – five HDMI inputs. 

With so many devices, a remote control becomes essential (otherwise you’ll have to keep pressing the manual switch button endlessly), and indeed the Kinivo has a remote, with the receiver built into the device itself.

The problem with 5 ports on such a small box? Two of the ports are on the sides of the box, which might make things a bit messy around your TV, with cables going in each and every direction.

Performance-wise, the Kinivo delivers great streaming, with support for 4K (at 60HZ), HDR and Dolby Vision. You can’t really go wrong with this switcher – but, as expected, it’s a bit more expensive.

4K@60Hz HDMI Switch,New Updated【HDMI Switcher 2.0】,Supports 4K 60hz,3 in 1 out,Full HD1080P 3D,HDCP2.2,HDR for Apple TV 4K, Fire Stick TV,PS4, PS3,Sky Box,X BOX One,DVD,PC Etc,Come with a HDMI Cable

Best Value
Price
4.5/5
Features
4/5
Overall
4/5

Pros

  • Supports 4K and HDR
  • Power is supplied via the HDMI (no external power supply needed)
  • Gold plated ports and HDMI cable
  • Great price

Cons

  • No remote control
  • Automatic switching doesn't always work

Features and Specs

  • 4K Support: Yes
  • Remote Control: No
  • Manual Button: Yes
  • Automatic Switching: Sometimes
  • Power: Via HDMI

Belfen 3 Ports 4K HDMI Switcher Review

If you don’t need a remote control, this is an excellent – and rather cheap – HDMI switcher, which is why we picked it as the “Best Value” winner.

It doesn’t require an external power supply and works well with power from the HDMI devices, and it even comes with a gold-plated HDMI cable.

Auto-switching doesn’t always work (as is the case with almost all the HDMI switchers), but other than that, manual switching is very swift, although some devices – the Google Chromecast in particular – sometimes “snatch” the focus when they’re supposed to be idle.

For PS4 Pro users, this HDMI switch worked perfectly for me, which isn’t always the case – so that’s a plus, if you need it.

All in all, for the price, you get a great device that does most of what you’ll need – but without a remote.

HDMI Switch, GANA Gold Plated 3-Port HDMI Switcher | HDMI Splitter | Supports Full HD1080p/3D with High Speed Cable

Price
5/5
Features
3/5
Overall
3/5

Pros

  • Supprts Full HD
  • Excellent price
  • Power is supplied via the HDMI (no external power supply needed)
  • Gold plated ports
  • HDMI Output cable already built-in

Cons

  • No 4K Support
  • No remote control
  • Too weak for a PS4 Pro

Features and Specs

  • 4K Support: No
  • Remote Control: No
  • Manual Button: Yes
  • Automatic Switching: No
  • Power: Via HDMI

GANA Gold HDMI Switcher Review

If you don’t have a 4K TV, and have no plans to buy one in the near future, then there’s no need to pay extra for a 4K HDMI switcher. 

The GANA HDMI Switcher only supports video up to Full HD (1080p), and doesn’t come with a remote control – but it compensates with an excellent price point. 

And even though build quality might not be top-notch, it still receives a lot of excellent reviews from buyers, because it just works and does what it sets out to do.

HDMI Splitter, Techole Aluminum HDMI Switch Bi-direction 1 In 2 Out or 2 Input to 1 Output Manual HDMI Switcher, Support 4K 3D 1080P, Plug and Play for Xbox, PS4, PS3, Blu-Ray player, DVD, HDTV

Price
4.5/5
Features
3/5
Overall
3/5

Pros

  • Can work both as a Switcher and a Splitter
  • Supports 4K
  • Excellent price
  • Power is supplied via the HDMI (no external power supply needed)

Cons

  • No Remote
  • As a Splitter, can't use both screens at the same time
  • Only 2 ports
  • No HDR Support

Features and Specs

  • 4K Support: Yes (No HDR)
  • Remote Control: No
  • Manual Button: Yes
  • Automatic Switching: No
  • Power: Via HDMI

Techole HDMI Switcher / Splitter Review

As mentioned above, HDMI Switchers and Splitters serve two different purposes. But sometimes you have a setup in your house where you might need to occasionally use both – and the Techole device lets you do just that.

This means the two HDMI ports on one side can serve as either Input or Output, and the same goes for the single HDMI port on the other side. So you can connect two devices to one television, OR connect one device to TWO televisions/projectors.

However, with the switch button, you’ll have to choose which output port to use when you’re splitting – so you can’t use both televisions at the same time, unlike with most HDMI splitters.

With only two ports and no remote control, it’s a bit limited as an HDMI switcher – but if you need that flexibility, this is a good choice at a good price. 

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