Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between HDMI Switching and Repeating

HDMI Switching vs Repeating

Whenever you have cables, there would always be the need to connect more than two devices together and the need to locate them further from each other. This is also true even for HDMI, especially with its rapid appearance on more and more devices in the market today. To make all this possible, you would need to employ switching and repeating. The difference between them is that repeating is possible with just one input and one output while switching would usually involve more than one input, output, or both.

The most common usage of repeating so far is to extend the reach of HDMI cables. Currently, HDMI is unable to reach beyond 15m due to the loss of the signal. A repeater can almost double that range as it simply receives the signal and then repeats it on the other side at a much stronger power level. Multiple repeaters can also be employed to extend the range even further. A switch is basically a device that lets you route the input to the output. You could have multiple sources (game console, DVD player, cable box) but your TV only has one HDMI input. A switch can have multiple inputs and one output and where you connect them and a selector that lets you choose which source would display on the TV. It could also be the other way around where you have multiple TVs and one input source.

Although most people consider switches and repeaters as very different devices, they are quite similar. An HDMI switch can also be qualified as an HDMI repeater as it still repeats the signal on the other side. A repeater with only one input and output does not provide the ability to choose and is therefore considered as just a repeater.

Be not confused as there are mechanical switches which simply reroute the cable connections from one to the other in order to allow the signal to ‘pass through’. These have no active components and does not repeat the signal in any way and are thus limited to the maximum cable length of HDMI from the source to the TV.


1. HDMI Switching provides the ability to easily choosing between input or output devices while repeating simply means retransmitting the signal
2. Switching is often used to connect all HDMI devices together while repeating is typically used to extend the range of the cable
3. An active HDMI switch is always an HDMI repeater while an HDMI repeater may not always be a switch
4. There are mechanical switches that do not have repeaters in them

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