What Does 2x 3x 4x HDMI Mean?

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.

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.

what does 2x 3x 4x HDMI mean
Source: Dell

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.

Dell S2421HN monitor
Dell S2421HN monitor with 2 x HDMI ports

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:

ASUS Tuf Gaming VG28UqL1A
ASUS Tuf Gaming VG28UqL1A Specs

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.

what does 2x 3x 4x hdmi mean
LG B1 65-inch Class 4K Smart OLED TV specs. Source: LG

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 VersionMax ResolutionMax Refresh RateMax Bandwidth
Effective Bandwidth
HDR?Audio Technology
HDMI 1.01080p1080p @ 60 Hz4.953.96No- 8 Audio Channels
HDMI 1.1/1.21440p1440p @ 30 Hz4.953.96No- 8 Audio Channels
-Super Audio CDs
HDMI 1.3/1.44096 x 2160 (4K)120 Hz @ FHD Resolution
30 Hz @ 4k Resolution
24 Hz @ 4k Resolution
10.28.16No- 8 Audio Channels
- Dolby TrueHD
HDMI 2.04096 x 2160 (4K)60 Hz @ 4K Resolution1814.40Yes- 32 audio channels,
- Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA)
- High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC)
HDMI 2.1Upto 10240 x 4320 (10K)Upto 120Hz @ 10K4842.67Yes- 32 audio channels
- eARC

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.

PIP Function
PIP Function

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?

Final Words

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?

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Ojash Yadav is the lead technical writer and resident tech guru at PCGuide101. He is a computer science graduate with over 8 years of experience in the IT field and a wealth of knowledge about computer peripherals. He has a passion for breaking down complex technical concepts and his goal is to make sure that our readers understand the technical details of the products they're interested in without getting lost in jargon. Ojash has over a decade of experience writing about the latest and greatest in the tech world, his articles have been featured in many popular tech publications and he's known for his thorough and unbiased reviews. He conducts extensive research and testing on the latest products to ensure our readers always get the most reliable information possible.

1 thought on “What Does 2x 3x 4x HDMI Mean?”

  1. You have a clear explanation on the uses of ports in a tv. However, you confused me with the decimal point used in different TVs. Thank you.


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