What to Consider When Extending HDMI
HDMI has become an integral part of our day to day lives. From connecting a smartphone and HDTV to connecting a laptop and projector, HDMI is there. HDMI supports some of the best video resolutions out there and delivers the highest quality audio providing a cinematic experience in your living room. But what about when the distance required to make an HDMI connection increases. After a certain length, usually 50 feet, an active HDMI extension solution is required. There are many solutions on the market that will help you make these long length connections, but how do you choose the best C2G solution? Let’s take a look at three determining factors; length, installation environment, and features required.
The first determining factor in choosing a solution is the length required for your application. At under 50 feet the choice is easy with a regular HDMI cable. For lengths from 50 to 100 feet the best choice is an HDMI extender. The best HDMI extender for your application will depend on the features required and the installation environment. For lengths from 100 to 300 feet the best choice is an HDMI over Cat5 or Coax extension solution. The best active HDMI over Cat5 or Coax extension solution for your application will depend on the features required. For lengths greater than 300 feet, C2G offers a solution with our RapidRun Optical product, which offers lengths up to 1000 feet.
Another factor that will influence which solution is the best HDMI extension solution for your application is the installation environment. Installing an extension solution in an open area through a room means that any solution may be used. The most important consideration in these applications is the aesthetics of that solution in your installation environment. If the extension solution must be installed in a wall, then it is important to ensure that the rating of the extension solution meets local building codes. Typically, an in-wall installation requires an extension solution with at least a CL2, in-wall, jacket rating. If the extension solution will be installed in a shared air-space, like in a dropped ceiling, then, typically, that extension solution must have a plenum jacket rating. Regular HDMI cables are available with no jacket rating, an in-wall jacket rating or even with a plenum jacket rating for installations in all of these environments. The HDMI over Cat5 and Coax offer the flexibility of using non-rated, in-wall rated, or plenum rated cabling. While the extenders themselves are not rated for use in-wall or in a shared air space, the flexibility of the cable types allow these solutions to fit those all applications. Lastly, C2G’s RapidRun Optical carries a plenum rated jacket allowing it to meet the needs of any of these applications. Another challenge that you may encounter when installing an HDMI extension solution is in-wall conduit. In these situations, you will want to use an HDMI over Cat5/Coax solution or a modular cabling solution like RapidRun Optical because they will be easier to install in that conduit than a standard HDMI cable or HDMI extender.
Yet another determining factor for selecting the best HDMI extension solution for your application is the HDMI features supported by the extension solution. The most common feature that will be scrutinized is the highest resolution supported. In some applications the requirement is simply that an image is displayed on the screen, meaning that high resolution support is not required. The value priced HDMI extension solutions are ideal for this type of application. Other applications have a requirement for a highly detailed, high resolution image. The advanced HDMI extension solutions provide this high resolution support, typically up to a 4k resolution, and also provide support for other HDMI features like 3D video. Another consideration when selecting an HDMI extension solution is the power required for that HDMI extension solution. Some HDMI extension solutions are able to draw power from the HDMI source device; however, other solutions will require power at the source, power at the display, or power at both the source and display. To make the best selection for your application ensure that the power required by the HDMI extension solution matches the power available.
-By Brad Shinkle