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 here if you are not familiar with the jargon involved.

One such confusion is regarding what does 2x 3x 4x HDMI mean. Well, these numbers simply mean the amount of HDMI ports on the display device. It is as simple as that.

In the following text, I will talk in detail about 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 3x 4x in front of HDMI ports on the specsheets for monitors and TVs. Basically, these numbers tell you the amount of HDMI ports your device has.

Take for instance the specsheet for Dell 24 Monitor S2421HN.

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

You can see here that the specsheet for this monitor says it has 2 x HDMI (HDCP 1.4). This line basically 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 clearly see here that this monitor has TWO HDMI ports as stipulated in the specsheet.Some display device can even have four HDMI ports.

Take 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

Meaning, it has two HDMI ports conforming to version HDMI 2.1 and two conforming 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 specsheer for LG B1 4K Smart OLED. You can see that this TV has four HDMI ports 2 on the side and 2 on the rear.

In addition to that, the specsheet also specifies which HDMI ports are suitable for 4K @ 120 Hz (HDMI 2.1) which are ports number 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 very important 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) as well as on the input device (TV/monitor).

The following table summarizes this:

HDMI VersionMax ResolutionMax Refresh RateMax Bandwidth
(Gbit/s)
Effective Bandwidth
(Gbit/s)
HDR?Audio Technology
Supported
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
- ARC
- Dolby TrueHD
- DTS-HD
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 specsheets refers to the version of the ports.

That is not the case.

The version follow a different nomenclature and the most 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 4 x 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 one for set-top box / TV console, yet another one for your gaming console and perhaps one for Chromecast/Roku.

This gives you the flexibility of switching between the devices easily. If you have a TV you can switch between them with a switch of a button.

HDMI is one of the, if not the, most popular interface for connecting multimedia devices. Here is a short list of all the devices that use the HDMI port.

  • 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)

Due to the fact that HDMI is found on almost all multimedia devices, the more input ports you have the merrier

2. To Avail the Picture in Picture Function

Many mid to high end TVs and PC monitors feature the Picture-in-Picture functionality. This functionality basically allows you to see the source of multiple inputs onto the screen at the same time.

So you can have the video of your PC running in 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 that can be causes through repeatedly taking the HDMI in and out of the device.

For instance, if you have a single monitor and two devices that you often use such as a PC and a gaming console, then you will need to repeatedly take one out and plug the other one in.

Repeatedly doing this greatly shorten the life of the HDMI port on the monitor.

Also Read: Does HDMI Carry Power?

Final Words

Here I answered a very simple yet confusing question “What does 2x 3x 4x HDMI mean?” These number basically tell you the amount of HDMI ports you have.

They do not tell you the version. The version of HDMI ports uses a different nomenclature. The version 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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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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