It’s a common question: how to hook up multiple monitors to a security camera system? Quite often it’s necessary to display the cameras on various monitors. Let’s say one monitor in the home office, another in the living room, another in the basement, etc.
Most DVRs or NVRs come with both HDMI and VGA output. A few of these can be used simultaneously but most of them are designed to use one other. If you just want to use two monitors, you can hook them up by using the HDMI and VGA output for each of them.
The most effective way to accomplish viewing the cameras on multiple monitors is by using an HDMI splitter (or VGA splitter if your recorder is one of the older versions). We’d recommend using a splitter-amplifier that guarantees full signal strength to all the monitors without compromising the image quality.
Usually, these kinds of splitters are powered, while the other types are called passive (non-powered) which degrade the image quality.
In this article, we will show how to display DVR or NVR security cameras on multiple monitors or TVs at the same time. The method shown here is cost-effective and easily implemented.
Note: The instructions shown here are applicable if you’re using an HDMI splitter or VGA splitter, same logic, and steps.
How to hook up Multiple Monitors to your Security Camera System
Let’s talk a little bit about the benefits of using multiple monitors in security camera systems. It’s possible to connect 2, 4, 8, or even more monitors to simultaneously display your cameras’ live feed. This increases the monitoring level since you can view the cameras even in areas where there’s no internet.
In commercial installations, multiple monitors can be used to better monitor the manufacturing process, the shipping, freight and loading dock, sales floor, etc. The possibilities are endless.
In residential applications, you can check the cameras without living in the bedroom or living room. For instance, you can have one monitor in the living bedroom, one in the hall, one in the basement, one in the living room, etc.
The process is easy and affordable. Since most CCTV DVRs or NVRs have an HDMI output, we will use an HDMI splitter in this example. But the process is the same for VGA and CVBS outputs as well.
We’d recommend using the HDMI cable since the image quality will be superior and the connection actually supports audio. For VGA, it will be just the live image, without any audio transmission (if your system has any mics installed in it).
Below you can see diagrams that outline the connection configurations for hooking up multiple monitors. For example, let’s check a 4 port HDMI splitter, meaning you can clone the main “HDMI signal” into four. Other splitters offer 1 to 2, 1 to 8, 1 to 16, and so on.
- To hook up four monitors using the 4 port HDMI splitter:
- Connect the DVR’s HDMI output to the input of your HDMI Splitter. The inputs should be marked “input 1”, “input 2” and so on.
- Connect the HDMI splitter output to the inputs of each monitor/TV.
- Turn on the DVR and then select the input source on each monitor. You should be able to see the camera’s feed on each monitor at the same time.
The HDMI splitter is powered on, so you need to plug the power supply into an outlet. Another thing you need to keep in mind, the quality of the image on each monitor depends on how far away the monitor is from the splitter.
Additionally, the splitter must be of good quality in order to cast high-res images on the monitors. We’d recommend going for an HDMI 4K splitter.
What’s the maximum distance that an HDMI splitter works? It depends on the splitter that you’ve purchased. You need to check the spec sheet to ensure that you don’t exceed the distance. Usually, the distance can be 50 or 100 feet. The longer it runs, the higher the chances of having a flickering image.
Another trick you can use is to split the distance and place the splitter in the middle of the run. Let’s say the run is 100 feet. Set up this way: from the DVR/NVR to the splitter 40 feet, from the splitter to the monitors around 60 feet.
Also, make sure the HDMI cables are reliable. For short distances, all HDMI cables are good enough, but for longer runs such as over 50 feet, you need a high-end HDMI cable. Additionally, it may be cost-effective to use HDMI extenders over cat5e or cat6.
These extenders are quite reliable and much cheaper compared to long HDMI cables. Moreover, they are thinner and easier to snake in tight spaces.
Is the HDMI splitter not working?
If you did everything as instructed but still can’t see the picture on one of the monitors, check out the following tips:
- Make sure all the monitors/TVs are set to the same resolution. If one of them is 720p, set all of them to 720p.
- Make sure the HDMI splitter is getting powered on. You should see all the lights lit on the device.
Check if the distance between the splitter and the HDMI doesn’t extend to the one certified by the manufacturer. Usually, the HDMI splitter is supposed to work at 50 feet or around that. Although, it depends on the manufacturer, check out the spec sheet.
- If still no picture, restart the DVR/NVR while everything is connected properly and wait for the pictures to show up on each monitor.
- If the picture is blinking or going in and out in one of the monitors, it’s possible that the distance is simply too much. Try at a shorter distance. Additionally, make sure the HDMI cable is in good condition and not damaged.
- If your runs are long, lower the resolution of the DVR/NVR and TV to the lowest one.
- Lastly, you may need to read the user guide to ensure that the devices have been connected correctly. Or you can call the seller manufacturer for technical support.
Hooking up multiple monitors to your security camera system is quite easy when using an HDMI splitter. These splitters can split the image into 2, 4, 8, or even 16 monitors.
The image will be the same across all the monitors. If you’re looking for a new security camera system, we’d recommend checking our buying guide.