There has been an increase in the amount of products coming to market with dual HDMI outputs. Mostly, these are AV receivers and select Blu-ray players that seek to distribute video to second zones or in special room configurations. There are really only two reasons you might need a device with dual HDMI outputs. Either you are using both a projector screen and a television in the same room, or you want to extend HDMI with audio and video to a second zone. Let’s look at each in a bit more detail.
Using Dual HDMI Outputs to Handle Two Displays in One Room
This may seem like a rare or even an odd occurrence, but it makes a lot of sense and occurs a lot in theater rooms where you want a standard display for daytime viewing, and you want a projector screen for larger format viewing at night. Think this is unusual or out of budget? Many 1080p projectors today can be purchased for under $800 and an electric drop-down projector screen can be had for under $200. Together that’s less than the cost of many 60″ flat panel displays on the market.
With an electric drop-down screen, you can literally drop the screen down in front of your flat panel display and view the big game on a 100″ screen instead of that smaller panel hanging on the wall. The are some challenges to accomplishing this, but all of those can be overcome. Here are some basic guidelines:
- You’ll need to run a longer HDMI cable to the projector, which will likely be located towards the back of the room.
- This HDMI cable will need to be an active High Speed technology cable in order to stand up to the rigors of the new HDMI 2.0 specification and to offer reliable video with no dropouts.
- Electricity needs to be run to the electric projector screen and you’ll need a means of controlling it, or you may need to add it into your remote control system.
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Using Dual HDMI Outputs to Send Audio and Video to Another Room or Zone
If your av receiver has dual HDMI outputs, another thing you may be able to do is send video and audio to a second zone in your home. That means you can enjoy watching movies in a bedroom without having to do anything other than run an additional active HDMI cable to the television. That is a potentially inexpensive way to get a second system equipped in your home that can take input from any source in your main theater room.
When You May Not Want to Utilize Dual HDMI Outputs
It’s only fair to point out cases where dual HDMI outputs simply aren’t a great benefit to you. A good example of this is when the cost for running an active HDMI cable exceeds the cost of a second source. If you just want the ability to have a second home theater, the are times when a difficult or long cable run makes it mo practical to simply buy another Blu-ray player or lease a second DVR box. You also may not want to utilize dual HDMI outputs for a second zone if you don’t have any desire to duplicate content to the second zone. For example, I throw an annual Superbowl party and having dual HDMI outputs is integral for allowing that to take place. If I wasn’t intent on duplicating content, however, then setting up a discrete source locally to my second display would be the preferred thing to do.