Selecting a new TV can be a daunting task, as you need to consider various factors – ranging from resolution to panel size.
Major specifications such as resolution, refresh rate, panel type, and contrast ratio should be the primary considerations for your TV purchase.
However, once you have narrowed down your search to a few products, you must then compare their remaining specifications.
One of the most important of these is the input and output ports available on the TV, which often dictates how many devices you can connect to your TV.
The number of HDMI ports is especially important, as many modern devices use these ports to connect to your TV.
If you do not have enough ports, you may have to unplug your gaming console every time you want to watch satellite TV, for example.
Number of devices
Having too few HDMI ports for your devices can be a frustrating problem, and is not always easily solved with adapters and cable splitters.
These solutions can sometimes result in problems with video and audio sync, as well as reduced bandwidth and image quality.
The best option is to buy a TV with enough HDMI ports for all the devices you wish to connect, in addition to one more (a spare port).
This extra HDMI port can be used for connecting portable media devices or laptops for quick usage of the display, without the need to unplug other devices.
The number of ports will obviously vary depending on the number of devices you aim to connect to your TV, but at least three HDMI ports capable of supporting high-quality video and sound should be the minimum.
Devices which connect to TVs via HDMI include media players like an Apple TV or Kwese Play, gaming consoles like the PlayStation 4, Blu-ray players, DStv decoders, HDMI sticks, media PCs, and laptops.
Besides the number of ports, you must also note the specifications of the HDMI ports on your TV.
Not all HDMI ports have the same bandwidth capabilities and are able to transmit video of extremely high quality.
For example, you will need an HDMI 2.0 cable and compatible port to transmit 4K video at 60 frames-per-second.
If you plan on watching high-quality content at high frame rates or gaming in 4K, ensure the media device is prioritised and connected to the highest-bandwidth port on the TV.
HDMI 2.0 also adds support for transmission of Dolby Atmos sound.
When asking a sales assistant if the TV supports HDMI 2.0, you must also ask how many ports support the standard – as only one may do so.
4K TVs with features like UHD Colour or HDR may also only feature one HDMI port which allows a media device to access these high-end enhancements, and it is important to establish this before you make a purchase.
If the number of HDMI ports on your current TV is limited, you should prioritise certain connections over others.
Connections like set-top boxes and gaming consoles require high image quality and should be prioritised over devices like HDMI-connected speakers, especially if the “less-important” device has alternative connections and does not require an adapter to be connected to them.