Looking at the specs of display devices such as TVs or monitors for the initiated can be confusing. Even the simplest of specs may confuse you here if you are unfamiliar with the jargon.
One such confusion is regarding what 2x 3x 4x HDMI means. These numbers mean the amount of HDMI ports on the display device. It is as simple as that.
In the following text, I will discuss these numbers, why devices such as TVs and monitors feature multiple HDMI ports, and how to figure out how many HDMI ports you have.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
So What Does 2x 3x 4x HDMI Mean?
You may have seen numbers such as 2x and 3x 4x in front of HDMI ports on the spec sheets for monitors and TVs. These numbers tell you the amount of HDMI ports your device has.
Take, for instance, the spec sheet for Dell 24 Monitor S2421HN.
You can see here that the spec sheet for this monitor says it has 2 x HDMI (HDCP 1.4). This line tells you that this monitor has TWO HDMI ports, both conforming to version 1.4.
Here you can see the input array for this monitor. You can see here that this monitor has TWO HDMI ports, as stipulated in the spec sheet. Some display devices can even have four HDMI ports.
Take the ASUS Tuf Gaming VG28UQL1A monitor, for instance:
This monitor has four HDMI ports in total, as identified by the line
- HDMI(v2.1) x 2
- HDMI(v2.0) x 2
It means it has two HDMI ports conforming to version HDMI 2.1 and two to HDMI 2.0.
While monitors often only have a single HDMI port, TVs almost always feature multiple HDMI ports.
The image above shows an excerpt from the LG B1 4K Smart OLED spec sheet. You can see that this TV has four HDMI ports, 2 on the side and 2 on the rear.
In addition to that, the spec sheet also specifies which HDMI ports are suitable for 4K @ 120 Hz (HDMI 2.1), which are ports 3 and 4.
Also Read: How Many HDMI Ports Do I Need?
The Version of the HDMI Ports is Very Important
The version of the HDMI ports is essential as it defines the maximum resolution and refresh rate it can carry.
For instance, to run a 4K display at 60Hz, you need at least an HDMI 2.0 on both the output device (PC/console) and the input device (TV/monitor).
The following table summarizes this:
|HDMI Version||Max Resolution||Max Refresh Rate||Max Bandwidth|
|HDMI 1.0||1080p||1080p @ 60 Hz||4.95||3.96||No||– 8 Audio Channels|
|HDMI 1.1/1.2||1440p||1440p @ 30 Hz||4.95||3.96||No||– 8 Audio Channels
-Super Audio CDs
|HDMI 1.3/1.4||4096 x 2160 (4K)||120 Hz @ FHD Resolution|
30 Hz @ 4k Resolution
24 Hz @ 4k Resolution
|10.2||8.16||No||– 8 Audio Channels
– Dolby TrueHD
|HDMI 2.0||4096 x 2160 (4K)||60 Hz @ 4K Resolution||18||14.40||Yes||– 32 audio channels,
– Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA)
– High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC)
|HDMI 2.1||Upto 10240 x 4320 (10K)||Upto 120Hz @ 10K||48||42.67||Yes||– 32 audio channels
Read in Detail: How to Check HDMI Port Version on Your Device
2x 3x 4x 5x HDMI is Often Confused with Version
Often people think that 2x, 3x, 4x 5x in front of HDMI on the spec sheets refer to the version of the ports.
That is not the case.
The version follows a different vocabulary; the current version is 2.1, as mentioned earlier.
Why Do TVs or Monitors have Dual or Multiple HDMI Ports?
There are many reasons why TVs or PC monitors may feature multiple HDMI ports:
1. Gives You the Flexibility to Connect Multiple Devices
TVs and mid-range PC monitors often feature multiple 2x, 3x, or even 4x HDMI ports so that you may connect multiple devices to them.
For instance, you can use one HDMI port for your home theater system, another for a set-top box / TV console, another for your gaming console, and perhaps one for Chromecast/Roku.
This gives you the flexibility to switch between devices easily. If you have a TV, you can switch between them with a switch button.
HDMI is one of the, if not the, most popular interfaces for connecting multimedia devices. Here is a short list of all the HDMI port devices.
- TVs (Input)
- Monitors (Input)
- Projectors (Input)
- Soundbar (Input)
- Desktop PCs (Output)
- Laptop PCs (Output)
- Gaming Consoles (Output)
- Blu-Ray Players (Output)
- Set-top Boxes (Output)
- Cameras (mini HDMI) (Output)
- DVD/ Blu-ray Players (Output)
- Streaming Devices such as Chromecast or Roku (Output)
Because HDMI is found on almost all multimedia devices, the more input ports you have, the merrier
2. To Avail of the Picture-in-Picture Function
Many mid to high-end TVs and PC monitors feature Picture-in-Picture functionality. This functionality allows you to see the source of multiple inputs on the screen simultaneously.
So you can have the video of your PC running on one half of the screen while your TV in the other.
3. Saves from Wear and Tear
Having multiple HDMI ports saves you from the issues of wear and tear caused by repeatedly taking the HDMI in and out of the device.
For instance, if you have a single monitor and two devices you often use, such as a PC and a gaming console, you must take one out and plug the other in repeatedly.
Repeatedly doing this considerably shorten the life of the HDMI port on the monitor.
Also Read: Does HDMI Carry Power?
I answered a straightforward yet confusing question “What does 2x 3x 4x HDMI mean?” These numbers tell you the amount of HDMI ports you have.
They do not tell you the version. The version of HDMI ports uses a different vocabulary. The performance is represented with a decimal point, i.e., HDMI 1.4, HDMI 2.0, or HDMI 2.1.
Also Read: Do Monitors Come with HDMI Cables?
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
1. Can I use a 2x HDMI cable with a 4x HDMI device, or do I need to match the cable and device HDMI versions?
Yes, you can use a 2x HDMI cable with a 4x HDMI device, but the maximum resolution and refresh rate will be limited to the capabilities of the 2x HDMI cable. It’s recommended to use a 4x HDMI cable for optimal performance if your device supports it.
2. How do I know which HDMI version my device supports, and what’s the maximum resolution I can achieve with each HDMI version?
You can check the HDMI version supported by your device by looking at the specifications in the manual or on the manufacturer’s website.
The maximum resolution and refresh rate supported by each HDMI version are as follows: 2x HDMI supports up to 1080p at 60Hz, 3x HDMI supports up to 1440p at 60Hz, and 4x HDMI supports up to 4K at 60Hz.
3. Can I connect multiple devices to a single 2x, 3x, or 4x HDMI port using an HDMI splitter or switch?
Yes, you can connect multiple devices to a single HDMI port using an HDMI splitter or switch.
An HDMI splitter allows you to split one HDMI port into multiple outputs, while an HDMI switch lets you switch between multiple inputs on one output.
Be sure to use a splitter or switch that supports the HDMI version and resolution of your devices.
4. What are the benefits of upgrading to a higher HDMI version, and when should I consider doing so?
Upgrading to a higher HDMI version allows you to achieve higher resolutions and faster refresh rates, which can improve the quality of your video and gaming experience.
You should consider upgrading if you have a device that supports a higher HDMI version, such as a 4K TV or a gaming console with high refresh rates.
5. Can I use an HDMI adapter or converter to connect a device with a different video output port, such as VGA or DisplayPort, to an HDMI port on my TV or monitor?
Yes, you can use an HDMI adapter or converter to connect a device with a different video output port to an HDMI port on your TV or monitor.
However, you may experience a loss in video quality or a reduction in resolution if the device’s output port doesn’t support the same resolution and refresh rate as the HDMI port.
Be sure to use an adapter or converter that’s compatible with your device and supports the desired resolution and refresh rate.