Are 2 HDMI ports enough in TV?

When shopping for a new TV, one of the specifications you’ll see is the number of HDMI ports included. Most TVs these days have between 2-4 HDMI ports, which begs the question – are 2 HDMI ports enough for the average user?

The short answer is that for most people, 2 HDMI ports are probably sufficient on a new TV. However, there are some cases where you might want more inputs, so it really depends on your specific needs and setup.

What are HDMI ports used for?

HDMI ports allow you to connect devices like Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, streaming sticks, and cable/satellite boxes to your TV. They carry both audio and video signals via one cable, making them convenient compared to older connections like component or composite video.

HDMI has become the standard for most AV equipment over the past decade. Chances are any modern device you want to hook up to your TV will require an HDMI connection.

Why do TVs have multiple HDMI ports?

TV manufacturers include multiple HDMI ports on most models for a few reasons:

  • Allow you to connect multiple devices – For example, you might have a Blu-ray player, a gaming console, and a streaming stick you want to use with the TV. Each one will need its own HDMI port.
  • Future-proofing – Even if you only need to plug in a couple devices now, you may add more down the road. Additional HDMI ports give you that flexibility.
  • Convenience – With extra ports, you don’t have to constantly unplug and switch cables every time you want to use a different device.

Are 2 HDMI ports enough?

For many users, 2 HDMI ports will be perfectly adequate. Here are some examples of setups that would work with just 2 ports:

  • A Blu-ray player + a streaming media stick or cable/satellite box
  • A gaming console + a streaming stick or cable/satellite box
  • A soundbar or AV receiver + one additional device

As you can see, 2 HDMI ports allows you to connect a primary entertainment device, plus another secondary source. This is sufficient for casual TV watching.

When 2 ports may not be enough

There are some cases where you may need more than 2 HDMI inputs:

  • Multiple gaming consoles – If you own an Xbox, Playstation, and Nintendo Switch for example, you’ll need 3 ports minimum to hook them all up.
  • AV receiver setup – If you have a surround sound system, you’ll need 1 port for the AV receiver, plus additional ports for your video sources.
  • Lots of streaming/media devices – If you have an Apple TV, Roku, Chromecast, Fire Stick etc. you’ll need a port for each.
  • Live TV – If you use an antenna or cable/satellite box for live television, that’s another 1-2 ports used up.

As you can see, home theater enthusiasts or people with many entertainment devices will benefit from having 4 or more available HDMI inputs. But for simpler, more basic setups, 2 ports is ample.

Workarounds if you need more HDMI ports

What can you do if your TV only has 2 HDMI ports, but you need to connect more devices? Here are a few options:

HDMI switch

An HDMI switch is a small device that lets you toggle between multiple HDMI sources on a single TV input. For example, you could plug 3 devices into an HDMI switch, then connect the switch to 1 port on your TV. By pressing a button on the switch, you can change which device’s signal is passed to the TV.

HDMI switches are inexpensive and easy to use. Just be aware that you’ll have to switch inputs manually since the TV can’t detect what’s plugged into the switch.

HDMI splitter

Unlike a switch, an HDMI splitter takes a single input source and splits it into 2 outputs. For example, you could plug your Blu-ray player into the splitter, then connect both outputs to 2 different TVs. This allows you to watch one source on multiple displays.

Splitters can work around limited HDMI ports by letting you view the same device on different TVs without unplugging and swapping cables. Just keep in mind the viewing experience needs to be the same on both displays.

HDMI over Cat6 extender

If you have in-wall Cat6 cabling, you can use HDMI extenders to transmit video/audio signals over longer distances. For example, you could place devices in another room, then extend their connections to your TV over Cat6.

Extenders work well for clutter control and situating equipment racks out-of-sight. Just know that very long extension runs can sometimes degrade signal quality.

Things to consider when evaluating HDMI ports

When looking at the number of HDMI ports on a new TV, here are some helpful considerations:

  • How many devices will you need to connect now and in the near future?
  • Do you plan on getting a soundbar, AV receiver, or surround system?
  • Will this TV be used for gaming with multiple consoles?
  • Do you need to extend cables long distance from another room?
  • Are you OK with adding an external switch or splitter if needed?

Answering questions like these will help you determine if 2 ports are really enough for your situation. It comes down to carefully evaluating your current and future needs.

TV brands and models with 4+ HDMI ports

If you’ve determined you’ll need more than 2 HDMI inputs, there are plenty of TV models that offer 4 or more ports. Here are some examples from popular brands:

Brand Model HDMI Ports
Samsung QN90B Neo QLED 4K 4
Sony X90K 4K LED 4
Vizio P-Series Quantum 4K 5
TCL 6-Series 4K QLED 4

As you can see, most modern mid-range and high-end TVs now include at least 4 HDMI ports. However, cheaper budget models may still only have 2 or 3 ports. If HDMI inputs are a priority for you, double check this specification before buying.

Using an AV receiver to expand HDMI ports

Another option if you need more HDMI ports is to connect an AV receiver. AV receivers are the heart of home theater systems – they process surround sound signals and output video to your TV.

Most quality AV receivers have at least 4 HDMI inputs. So by running your devices through the receiver, then connecting it to your TV via just one cable, you can effectively expand your number of available ports.

For example, a TV with 2 HDMI ports paired with a 4 port AV receiver would give you a total of 6 inputs. Just be aware that using an AV receiver adds cost and complexity. But it’s great for home theater buffs.


To summarize, 2 HDMI ports are probably enough for the average television user. But people with multiple gaming consoles, lots of streaming devices, or an advanced home theater setup may require more inputs.

If you need more than 2 ports, consider an external HDMI switch/splitter, upgrade to a TV model with 4+ ports, or connect devices through an AV receiver. Carefully evaluating your current and future needs will ensure you choose a TV with adequate HDMI inputs.

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