HDMI Cable Length: Does the length of cables matter?

HDMI Cable Length

HDMI cable length has a negative impact on signal quality. So manufacturers generally do not recommend cables longer than 20 feet. Most people won’t need more than 6 feet of cable at a time. But if you need to use HDMI further than that. There are options to extend the length while maintaining signal quality.

What is the maximum optimum HDMI cable length?

You should be aware that there are many answers to this question, and they are all a little fuzzy. Without going into details that would be helpful, just know that the term itself, HDMI, actually refers to a cable specification. And that specification has a specific set of tests that you can use to see if a cable passes or fails. certification for cable specification. So, you can take any cable, run these tests, and see if it meets the specification.

In general, what can cause a cable to fail specification tests? The longer the cable, the more the signal changes during transmission. It is normal for the signal to degrade as it travels through the cable, and the shorter the cable, the less noticeable the degradation is. So we know that short cables are good and arbitrarily long cables are bad, but what about intermediate cables?

In short, many manufacturers sell HDMI cables up to 50 feet in length. This may mean that 50 feet are the “maximum” length, but that simply isn’t the case. When the signal gets worse, it doesn’t mean the cable stops working. It just gets worse and worse on the other end. Most manufacturers recommend not climbing above 20 feet without some form of power solution (more on that below). So, while there is no maximum length per se, you should think of 20 feet as the maximum optimal length.

How to Solve HDMI Cable Length Issues

Powered HDMI Cable Solutions

So what if you need a longer cable? Well, if the quality isn’t an issue. For example, if you’re not trying to use a cable to transfer 4k video to a high-quality projector or TV. Then you can probably be able to use a longer cable. without any side effects. Just like Apple’s earbuds are not of the highest quality but get the job done. A 50ft HDMI cable will likely do the job for you without any extra effort.

However, if signal quality matters a lot. Ten you may want to consider a powered HDMI kit that properly expands the signal, amplifies it, or completely converts it to another format. The most common methods are signal conversion and amplification with a balun, or completely wireless and disconnecting the cable completely.

HDMI Balun Kits – Easily extend HDMI cables

extend HDMI cables

One category of HDMI cable extenders is known as the HDMI Balun Kit. Which converts an HDMI signal into something that can run over a CAT 5 cable that doesn’t have the same length limitations. On the other end of the CAT 5 cable, it is converted to HDMI again.

CAT 5 cable has a “maximum” length of 100 meters or 328 feet. So using an HDMI balancing kit can exponentially lengthen your HDMI connection and get it where you need it.

However, keep in mind that not all HDMI balun kits are great. If you skimp on the balun kit, you probably run into the same problems as using a very long HDMI cable.

HDMI Wireless Kits – Another Solution for Cable Length Issues

HDMI Wireless Kits

You may also want to consider using an HDMI wireless kit. Which not only expands the range but also removes some of the long cables completely. This approach has its drawbacks – it’s very expensive if you need to send 4k videos. But very affordable if you’re only using the 1080p setting. It also has some refresh rate and latency limitations that make it harder to use for gaming.

Best HDMI Cables for Long Distance Use

Best HDMI Cables for Long Distance Use

If you just want to use a long cable and not worry about other converters or try out wireless connectivity. There are cables that specialize in delivering a clear signal. The prices are not as low as one might hope, but they are affordable, most of them under $ 100.

For example, the HDMI BJC Series-FE Bonded-Pair Cable (on Amazon) is 25 feet in length for about $ 75. There are many sellers selling snake oil in this category. So if you shop around look for details on shielding cables and look for sellers who specifically call their cable “certified (category 1)” which means they pass all of the tests. required by the HDMI standard mentioned earlier in the article.

At the other end of the spectrum, products like this BlueRigger High-Speed ​​HDMI Cable (on Amazon) will give you 50 feet for just $ 28. So, if you’re not entirely sure if you need the higher quality BJC series. You can get one for a lot cheaper and just test it out. It would even be nice to order both of them and test side by side, and if you don’t see the difference, send it back dear.

What matters when buying cables

As you dive into the world of HDMI cables with a quick search on Amazon, you will very quickly notice that there seem to be more acronyms than words in descriptions. And marketing in this niche is a quick train of “features” that you don’t understand. necessity.

Make sure the seller charges a premium for “gold connectors” or “braided cords”; none of them matter to the signal, and they are used to drive up the price. Vendors usually use the word “advanced” in their cables or “high speed”. Which is not a technical description, but rather buzzwords to try and differentiate their product.

The ‘HD’ markings that manufacturers add are also redundant: all HDMI HD cables … that’s what their name says. What’s important is to look for “4K” tags if that’s what you need and any link for shielded cables. In general, they are better than unshielded ones. But this is also a bit confusing because all cables are technically shielded, just some manufacturers add additional shielding.

Does HDMI quality matter?

If you just want a long and simple HDMI cable, there is at least a chance you don’t need to worry about any of this. It all comes down to quality. Sure, the signal has degraded, but if you’re playing 720p or 1080p videos and streaming from Netflix, it just might not matter.
However, if you bought the best 4k projector, you owe it to yourself to make sure the video quality really reaches it. So, as always, the answer here comes down to how you are going to use your system. There are always more expensive options that will provide you with higher quality, but be sure to pause and consider if you really need them.

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