In addition to enjoying the high-resolution signals supported by HDMI cables, you must have confronted the ambiguity around their length. From building a connection between your home devices to connecting large multiple large LCD/LED displays at workstations, length surely makes an important factor. The longer the length of your HDMI cable, the more it will impact your audiovisual signal quality.
The length of the HDMI cable simply depends on its dynamics and the resolution of your content. Thin HDMI cables cannot transmit high-resolution signals as far as they can transmit normal ones. Thicker HDMI cables are better equipped and have less electrical impedance to run these high-quality signals. In longer cables, the signals have to cover a long path. This devitalizes them, and the result is a degraded quality.
Ideal Length: Most vendors advise clients to buy a cable that covers a distance of 50 feet. It's important to know that longer cables don't stop working. It's just that the quality of signals keeps on deteriorating as the length goes up. Therefore, in any case, you must not go above 50 feet while purchasing an HDMI cable.
Options to Extend Length of HDMI Cables
An HDMI signal extender device runs on 5V DC and receives it either from the HDMI source or any external source. HDMI extenders add value to the distance coverage of HDMI cables between two devices.
Let's consider an example. Suppose you want to connect your Blu-ray DVD player with television in another room. Without an extender, you would require a Fiber optic HDMI cable or another Blu-ray player to bridge the distance. Using HDMI extenders not only eliminates the need to manage multiple devices but also saves considerable cost.
HDMI extenders are available in a pair, including one extender and one receiver. However, some variants come with one unit and are called repeaters. They can help you transmit signals to up to 90 meters of additional distance without compromising on quality. For example, the HDMI 2.0 extender can transmit HDR and high-quality 4K resolution data to up to 50 meters. They work by reconstructing the signals that they receive from the source device. However, you need to place them where the signal quality is above average. They encounter problems in boosting low-quality signals to high quality. HDMI extenders also come in wireless variants.
Fiber Optic HDMI Cables:
Another way to connect your devices at larger distances is by using Fiber optic HDMI cables. These cables use light sparks to move signals from the source to the receiver. The speed of conducting signals is as high as 200,000 km/sec. They come with a bandwidth capacity as high as 48GBPS (in version 2.1), which allows you to transmit ultra HD 4K to 8K data without any issues.
Since the signals here are in the form of light, they can endure degradations and are fit to be remitted over distances of up to 120 feet. They are the perfect fit for scenarios like connecting projectors or building home theaters where displays are not near the source. You can also route them through walls since they are protected with multiple layers.
Use Cat 6 Adapters:
You can also use a cat6 balun to address the distance problem. You are required to place the balun near the source. This box receives signals from your HDMI cable. Then by using cat6, cat5 cables transmit the same to another balun that is placed near the receiver. Finally, this box accepts the signals and delivers it back to the HDMI cable, which eventually passes them to the receiving display.
Wireless HDMI Devices:
Having to deal with wires can be an arduous task, especially in cases of relocating and renovating. Also, you might just want to permanently fix up the issue of the length of the cable. Technological advancements have made it possible to transmit HD video signals through wireless channels.
The devices involved in the process of sending and receiving include a transmitter and a receiver, respectively. However, when it comes to distance, these systems do not provide as much leverage as others. The maximum distance they can operate from effectively is about 20 meters.
Furthermore, the signals may be subjected to slow transmission because of interruptions. In some cases, while using these devices, you may end up receiving low-quality images. Another disadvantage is the cost incurred on these setups. A decent wireless channel(a set of wireless HDMI devices) may cost you anywhere around $350-$400.
Why go For HDMI?
Now that you know the ideal length of an HDMI cable and how to effectively extend them, the next question is, why should you always choose an HDMI cable? Let's explore the answer.
Signal Integrity: HDMI cables minimize the chances of tweaking of signals. There is no conversion, and signals are sent as they are. This results in minimum signal degradation.
One Solution: HDMI carries high-quality audio as well as video signals. This reduces the need to arrange separate cables, and you get a single solution for every connection.
Compression-less: Suitable for transferring high-resolution audio and video data, these cables do not allow for data compression. This gives you the purest quality of audio and video.
Color Support: HDMI cables enhance the color experience with their ability to support 10 to 16-bit color depths. You can enjoy almost a billion colors in fine quality and details.
Versatile Compatibility: From standard stereo surround sound to multi-channel surround sound, From 720P to 1080P, HDMI is the go-to cable in all these aspects. This ability to support so many audiovisual forms is what separates HDMI from other cables.
Cat Cable Match: You can easily comprehend HDMI cables with ethernet cables like cat5 or cat6 with the help of adapters.
High Speed: Some HDMI variants can perform with a pixel speed of up to 340MHZ. They are called high-speed HDMI cables and are capable of handling 1440p resolutions.
If you need to build a connection between devices, an HDMI cable hardly needs any second thoughts. However, consider the length of the connection. If you wish to increase the length but don't want to deal with matching compatible extenders or Cat6 adopters, it is advisable to go for an optical fiber HDMI cable.
That being said, optical HDMI cables do not always come cheap.