Connect more than one game system to a TV with one HDMI port

Last Updated on December 10, 2016 by Dave Farquhar

I was reading reviews of televisions and found several televisions had negative reviews because they only had a single HDMI port. The guy who bought it had wanted to connect two game systems to it. But you usually can connect more than one game system to a TV with one HDMI port.

I’m not sure who buys a television without first making sure it has all of the inputs you’ll need in order to connect stuff to it. But this problem has a solution other than buying a more expensive TV with two HDMI ports.

In addition to HDMI, virtually every TV on the market has a set of component inputs. Unlike HDMI, component is an analog signal, but it does separate the various colors, unlike old-school composite. So you get a pretty good picture out of it. It’s comparable to a VGA cable in quality. There’s a difference between HDMI and component, and if I pointed it out, most people probably would notice it. But not everyone will care.

Most game consoles have component cables available for them because the console makers can’t know in advance what they’ll be sharing a TV with. Connect the newer of the two systems via HDMI so it will look its best. Connect the older system via component. If the two systems are from the same generation and have comparable graphics capability, connect the one you expect to use more via HDMI. You’re not sure whether they have comparable graphics capability? This may help. Microsoft and Sony consoles tend to outpace Nintendo consoles of the same generation, generally speaking.

And in a pinch, you can connect a system via composite and/or s-video. Most TVs still have one or the other of those ports too.

It may not be an optimal solution, but sub-$150 televisions aren’t designed to be optimal. They’re designed to meet a price point. But if you need to connect more than one game system to a TV with one HDMI port, now you know how.

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One thought on “Connect more than one game system to a TV with one HDMI port

  • March 5, 2015 at 8:52 am

    Another solution is to get a cheap HDMI switch. I got a 3-port switch for under $12 on Amazon and it works beautifully.

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