Whether you have an older or newer TV, there are still many different ways to connect your equipment for the perfect setup to stream your preferred media.
Still, you might be curious if you can add HDMI ports to your older TV that does not have one or more ports to your TV that does.
The Best Way to Add HDMI Ports to an Old TV
HDMI ports can be added to an old TV with an HDMI to RCA converter. To add additional HDMI ports to a TV with an existing HDMI port, use an HDMI Switch (different from an HDMI Splitter) to add various inputs such as game consoles, BluRay players, speakers, and more.
Also read: How Many HDMI Cables do you Need (for Home Theater?
Of course, choosing the right HDMI Switch to add HDMI porta to your TV can come with quite a variety of options. Still, there is sure to be an option that can work for you.
And, if you are working with an older TV and want to be able to connect your devices with an HDMI cable, you can use the RCA converter option to make this a simple transition. Let’s take a closer look.
What is the Difference Between an HDMI Switch and an HDMI Splitter?
Before we go any further, it is incredibly important to clarify that an HDMI Switch and an HDMI Splitter are not the same things. In fact, if you think that you can plug all of your devices into an HDMI Splitter and then plug that into the TV, then you are mistaken. This will not provide the desired result you are likely looking for.
An HDMI Switch is used to add more ports to a TV that has an existing HDMI port. It takes various inputs (game consoles, laptops, etc.) and displays them on the output (TV). Alternatively, an HDMI Splitter takes one input (ex. a laptop) and displays this on multiple outputs (ex. multiple TVs).
This means that if you are trying to plug in more than one device into your TV’s HDMI port and are constantly running out of room with the existing ports on your TV, you need to use an HDMI Switch. This device can help your TV to “switch” (physically or automatically) between the various inputs that are plugged into it.
If you were to use an HDMI Splitter, on the other hand, this would multiply your capabilities in the opposite direction and would give too many outputs instead of adding additional input options.
However, an HDMI Splitter can still come in handy for other purposes such as if you are preparing a presentation and need to display your laptop screen on multiple TV screens in one room.
Still, if you are not sure if you would prefer to use an HDMI Switch or an HDMI Splitter and could see yourself using both functions, you can opt for an HDMI Switch with bidirectional features.
This will mean you can change the direction of the input/output options and, in essence, convert the device between an HDMI Switch and an HDMI Splitter all in one.
What Should You Look for in an HDMI Switch?
Now that we can recognize that an HDMI Switch is the appropriate device to use if you want to add more HDMI ports to your TV that has an existing HDMI port, it is important to take the time to know the differences in what types of HDMI Switch devices are out there.
While there are many acceptable models, it is important to choose the device that will work best to meet your specific needs within your home.
Consider the following categories when selecting the right HDMI Switch to add HDMI ports to your newer TV with an existing HDMI port:
Automatic Switch or Physical Switch
When choosing which type of HDMI Switch device that you would like to use to add more HDMI ports to your newer TV, you will want to pay attention to the automatic or physical switch options.
What this means is that your HDMI Switch device will either automatically detect which device was most recently used/has been turned on and will switch to the input option, or you will need to use a remote or press a button on the HDMI Switch itself to transfer the input source.
Realistically, using an automatic switch is much more user-friendly because you do not have to remember to transfer the HDMI input option each time you use a new device.
If your family member uses the game console and then you come down to finish up your BluRay movie, the HDMI automatic switch detection will be able to tell which device is being turned on and can change this for you, appropriately displaying it on your screen.
Otherwise, you will be using a physical switch option in which you will either have to stand up and go press the correct button on your HDMI Switch device, or you can use a remote. It is important to note that the most ideal option is to find an automatic switch option that also includes a remote- just in case you need the manual backup.
Number of HDMI Ports
Considering you have arrived at this search query, it is safe to assume that you are looking for an easy and effective way to add a few additional HDMI ports to your TV.
Interestingly, to do this using an HDMI Switch, you can choose the right number of HDMI ports that best meets your needs. While some HDMI Switch options provide between 6-8 additional HDMI ports, others are a bit smaller (and yet sufficient for many users) with 3-5 additional HDMI ports.
Whatever option you choose, you really cannot go wrong here. It is all about personal preference and how much you choose to use these types of connections.
If you are on the edge between one HDMI Switch and another and the number of HDMI ports is a questionable debate, it is almost always safer to go with an HDMI Switch that has more ports available.
Even if you do not end up using them, it will be nice to know that you do not have to disconnect your entire device setup if you do choose to add more connections. Still, you can choose the HDMI Switch with the right number of HDMI ports when adding HDMI ports to your TV.
The power source for your HDMI Switch should not be an overly complicated decision, but you will simply need to ensure that your current setup will be able to support the device by supplying it with power.
Otherwise, it will just sit on your media stand collecting dust. So, you can be on the lookout for charging options like USB and AC/DC as these can both be found.
Audio Output Extraction
Audio output extraction is not a required feature on most HDMI Switch devices. However, if you are someone that is plugging your HDMI Switch into your TV in your home theater room, then you might want to consider finding one with audio output extraction to work best with your speaker system.
What this feature does is that it will take the audio signals and extract them (send them) to the external speakers in your surround sound system.
This is not required if you are not using external speakers, but if you are, it will help to ensure that a clear and high-quality audio experience is ready to go.
Digital Support Specifications
While many HDMI Switch devices can run most standard types of media, it is important to ensure that the device you are choosing is capable of streaming the type of media that you are looking to stream.
For example, if you plan on using the HDMI Switch to connect a device that will stream in 4K, you need to ensure that the HDMI Switch supports this option. Otherwise, you might be disappointed to find this out when you begin to see issues streaming your media with a non-compatible device.
Now, while aesthetic appeal might not be on the top of your mind when you are looking at all of the other practical features you will need to consider for adding HDMI ports to your TV using an HDMI Switch, it is still an important feature to consider.
For example, if you have a smaller media stand and would prefer the ports to be on the back of the HDMI Switch so that the cables are not all running in front of your system, then this is an important feature to consider.
Additionally, if you are someone who has taken the time to design your home theater space, you want to ensure that the HDMI Switch that you are planning to use fits in with the rest of your design.
Otherwise, all of those connections that you have sought to establish could become rather cumbersome to have to look at. This category will be a highly personal decision.
Can You Connect a Device with HDMI on an Older TV?
If you are looking to add an HDMI port to your older TV that does not have one, you are in luck. Fortunately, this connection is not overly complicated and should not take you too much time to make work.
You can connect a device with HDMI on an older TV by using an HDMI to RCA converter. Plug one end of the HDMI cable into the device and the other end into the converter. Then, take the RCA cables from the opposite end of the converter and plug them into your TV.
From here, be sure to select the RCA input source in your TV’s settings. Then, your older TV will read the input coming from the left, right, and center channels and be able to read the HDMI signal sent through the converter. In no time, your older TV without an HDMI port now has one ready to be used with all of your HDMI-compatible devices.
Jason is a home theater expert with over 10 years of experience in setting up home cinema rooms and systems. What started out as a hobby soon transformed him into an authority in the audio-visual field. He is passionate about providing readers with accurate and up-to-date information on the latest audiovisual technologies and their applications for home theaters. Read more about Jason.