The High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) standard offers stunning high resolution video, alongside uncompressed audio. The convenience of using one cable to achieve this level of performance is undeniable. However, there are things you must observe to ensure that the cable you choose is appropriate for the task, as well as being ready for future technological improvements. HDMI cables need not be expensive to achieve this.
HDMI speed is important to observe when wiring HDMI cables in the wall or inaccessible areas. High speed versions of these cables operates up to 10.2 gigabits per second, close to five times that of their standard speed cousins. High speed supports 1080p and above resolutions, while standard speed is designed for 720p and 1080i. For shorter lengths less than six feet, speed is normally not a big concern. However, when adding that short length of cable to a switch or receiver, then adding on 20-30 feet to a television or projector, the length is increasingly relevant. In most cases, the cost of a high speed cable is incremental over a standard speed option.
HDMI cables are made by many companies, some of which you may not have heard of. To that end, it is important that regardless of the brand, you choose certified cables. These cables are sent to independent testing bodies for certification of performance and build standards. The "eye pattern" test is used by these groups to test cable performance in normal use environments to determine the circumstances under which the cable fails to pass signal. Of course, sticking to major, recognized brands is a good way to ensure that the cables meet these rigorous requirements, although this is not always essential.
HDMI cables offer three connector sizes, chosen based on the equipment you need to connect. In addition to the standard HDMI connector, micro and mini connectors exist to connect camcorders and portable devices directly to televisions. Like standard HDMI cables, these smaller iterations pass audio and video at the highest capability the hardware can support. Remember to examine the smaller electronic device to choose the right HDMI interconnect, since these are rarely included in the box.
Projector users or anyone with centrally-located equipment should evaluate the total HDMI cable run length, determining if a repeater is required. Remember to include the total length, from source to switch/receiver, on to the display device. Any total run over 75 feet probably should have a repeater, regenerating the signal and ensuring a consistent level of performance. All wires suffer loss due to distance; repeaters use either the five volts present on the HDMI line, or a separate AC-powered box.
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