HDMI splitter not working? HDCP content protection could be why

A HDMI splitter is still one of the best ways to watch films and TV shows on multiple different television and monitors at the same time. They’re also a fantastic way to play the same Playstation or Xbox in two different rooms simultaneously too.

But like many television accessories, you can face problems with them occasionally. Even the best HDMI splitters can have problems from time to time.

It may even be the case that your HDMI splitter isn’t working at all. What can you do if this happens? Well, we’re going to run through the top ways you can fix your HDMI splitter.

HDMI splitter not working? This is probably the reason why

For most people, the reason why your HDMI splitter isn’t working properly is likely down to the HDCP regulations that are built into splitters and cables nowadays. If your splitter isn’t HDCP compliant, it’s not going to work.

That isn’t the only reason why HDMI splitters can stop working. It could come down to an issue with the splitter itself, as it could be a hardware fault. Or, it could even be an issue with the HDMI ports on the device you’re trying to connect to.

In most cases though, it’s going to be an issue with the copyright protection of the TV shows or films you’re trying to watch. But, I’ll get onto that a little but more in a minute. Let’s first look at the difference between a HDMI switch and a splitter, which are actually two different things.

Check it’s actually an HDMI splitter


So, the first thing that I want to quickly mention is that you need to be sure you’re using a HDMI splitter. If you’re 100% sure, then skip past this bit. But often, people end up buying a HDMI switch or another converting device and think that they’re actually the same thing.

The detail for these two different HDMI tools is actually in the name. A HDMI splitter is used to split the signal from only one source. So, it has one HDMI input port for you to use. It has 2 or more HDMI output ports which allow you to output the same image onto multiple different televisions or monitors.

A HDMI switch is pretty much the opposite of this. It only has one output port, which you’ll connect to your display. Then, it has multiple different HDMI inputs that you can connect all of your devices too.

When you think about your Playstation, TV Set top box, Firestick and other streaming devices, a HDMI switch make sense. Changing between them without having to take your cables in and out every time you want to switch to another device just makes sense.

HDMI splitters can be temperamental from time to time, though it’s unlikely there’s a problem with the device itself. So, if you’re sure you’ve got an HDMI splitter and it’s not functioning properly, then here’s why it may not be working.

HDCP Explained – A Splitter’s worst nightmare

Okay, the heading may be a little bit of an exaggeration. But it’s true that in the majority of cases, this is the problem with your HDMI splitter.

So, we know that the main reason why your HDMI splitter probably isn’t working is because of HDCP. This has been a problem for streaming onto different devices for a while now, especially if you’re trying to use your splitter with your gaming consoles.

HDCP quite simply stands from High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection. It is designed to work with high definition streaming, and it’s well known with the tech industry.


Essentially, HDCP is just a form of copyright that works across HDMI but also with other types of connection ports like Displayport as well. It is designed to stop you from recording your screen on another device, with its intention really to stop things like video piracy.

HDCP 1.4 refers to full HD content (1080p) and HDCP 2.2 refers to 4k content. So if you want to stream films in 4k, then you’ll need to ensure that your devices are HDCP 2.2 compatible.

HDCP for consoles – PS5

Probably the most common device that people have issues with using a HDMI splitter is their gaming console. This used to be a much bigger problem with older consoles like the PS3.

Fortunately with the PS4 and PS5, you can toggle HDCP off within your settings. All you need to do is go into your PS5 Settings, then System, then HDMI and you’ll find the Enable HDCP option.

Making sure this option is unchecked if the best way to ensure that your HDMI splitter works with your PS4 or PS5. Your splitter may be working fine, but its HDCP security is usually trigger when you try and watch a streaming service like Netflix.

HDCP and Netflix

As mentioned above, one of the main triggers for a HDCP warning are when you’re trying to stream Netflix. People often suddenly find a problem that Netflix won’t allow them to stream.

This commonly comes when you’re trying to stream 4k content. If your cable is only 1.4 HDCP compliant, then you won’t be able to stream 4k content using this cable. You’ll need to get a new one that is 2.2 HDCP compliant (frustrating, I know).

There’s also HDCP 2.3 protocol too, but you don’t really need this if you’re only looking to stream 4K. With streaming companies trying to get rid of piracy completely, it’s not surprise that they’re all on board with this content protection precaution.

HDCP means your cable and monitor too

It could also come down to your monitor not being HDCP compliant too. Even if you have the right splitter and HDMI cable, if your monitor isn’t HDMI compliant, you may have issues with watching films through Netflix.

One of the most common mistakes people make is that they don’t realise that every part of your setup needs to be HDCP compliant to work. That means the source, the receiving device and the cable that you use to connect them together.

The likelihood is that your HDMI cable will have HDCP written on the side of it if it is fully compliant. The majority of monitors out there are HDMI compliant as well, but there are a few that aren’t (mainly old monitors).


Overall, the main reason why your HDMI splitter isn’t working is likely to be that it isn’t in a fully HDCP compliant setup. It may not be a problem with your splitter itself, as it could also be with the HDMI cables that you’re using, as well as the TV or monitor you’re connecting them to as well.

Though it can be frustrating from time to time, the content privacy that’s in place for HDMI cables and our home technology has been around for a while, even back when we were using video tapes. So it’s no surprise that there are still measures in place to stop video piracy.

Avatar of Alex
About Alex

Hello, I'm Alex and this is my website, Spacehop. I started the site as a way to talk about myself, and a few years later we're now a team of 6! I still work full time at a major PC retailer in the UK, and I'm a bit of a tech whizz (self-proclaimed, unfortunately!).

3 thoughts on “HDMI splitter not working? HDCP content protection could be why”

  1. Good to know there are people out there trying to help with issues most of us know very little about, nice one Alex and your associates.

    • You should be fine, Matt. Generally this occurs with HDCP protected streams from devices like Blu-Ray players or services like Netflix, HBO, etc. Splitting a computer running Powerpoint onto 4 TV’s shouldn’t encounter any issues. Hope this helps!


Leave a Comment


Can you watch Netflix on Switch? Technically no, but..

What to do if your Now TV remote is not working