HDMI cables have transformed the entertainment experience by both increasing the number of devices that can be linked to our TVs and standardizing connections. Though they have made video watching much more enjoyable by allowing us to see 4K, 3D, and other technologies well, one major problem with HDMI is the length of the cords.
There are a number of factors that affect the maximum length for your HDMI, including how long the cord needs to be, differences in the output from your device, any interference, and any other technical requirements.
The challenge here is that once your signal’s maximum length is reached, you lose quality. Imagine buying the newest and best Ultra 4K HD TV with all the bells and whistles. You get so excited because the salesperson told you that it will feel like you can smell the sweat from the big game. You plug everything in and turn the tv on and all you get is something that looks like this.
How do HDMI signal extenders help?
The job of an HDMI extender is to solve problems caused by signal limitations like long distances so you can get the most out of your entertainment devices. It helps the information pass between multiple devices no matter where you are.
This is especially helpful for your home automation experience. Most people don’t want to have tons of boxes and cables in front of them when they’re trying to enjoy TV. No one wants to look at a ton of cords around their entertainment area.
HDMI extenders allow you to set up your entire home theater or home automation system in a closet or out of the way space. This eliminates the worry of poor experience with longer cables or other issues.
Why use a long-range extender?
HDMI extenders are used for extending the distance between your television and any HDMI-compatible device. If you look at the back of your television, you will likely see a port that looks similar to a USB port. This is where your HDMI cable connects to Blu-ray DVD, satellite receivers, or any other device that you may need.
The extender boosts the digital signal from the source to your television. Most often, when we are using something connecting directly underneath the TV, the cable may only be a few feet long. The extender allows you to span long distances and not lose quality.
This can be especially important when you choose to connect multiple televisions or devices across your home. Only being able to connect a single device at a time is fine if you only have one device. If you have more than one in your smart home or are adding home automation, it is inconvenient to have to disconnect and reconnect to different devices every time you want to switch.
The benefit of using HDMI extenders
The biggest benefit is that it lets you extend the distance between devices. If you want to watch a movie on a Blu-Ray player on the television in another room, you can use HDMI extenders with cables like Cat6 for it.
You can use a splitter extender to watch the HDMI source on several televisions at the same time. There is no need to swap devices.
How does an HDMI extender work?
The typical limit for HDMI is 50 feet. HDMI cables over 25 feet can get both expensive and hard to find.
HDMI extenders convert the HDMI signal to something that can push the high bandwidth required for high-quality video over a longer distance. One of the easiest transmission methods is serial communication over Cat 5e or 6 Ethernet cable. The HDMI Extender consists of a transmitter and a receiver. You can also extend other signals like IR remote control commands, USB, and RS-232. You can also use an HDMI splitter extender for viewing one HDMI source on several televisions.
Different types of HDMI signal extenders
There are several types of HDMI extenders, and the type you ultimately need depends on your home’s needs and personal preferences.
HDMI over Cat5 and Cat6 extenders
HDMI over Cat5 and Cat6 extenders work by connecting a video source to a small device with a short HDMI cable. This passes the HDMI signal along to one or more Cat5 or Cat6 cables. A similar box receives the signal and sends it back onto an HDMI cable, which connects to your display.
HDMI over Coax extenders
HDMI over Coax extenders can increase your signal by up to 300 feet. The transmitter box connects to the HDMI source with an HDMI cable. The HDMI source connects to the HDTV display the same way, up to 300 feet away.
Wireless HDMI extenders
Wireless HDMI extenders are useful in situations where wires are either inconvenient or impossible to use. You put a transmitter near the video source and a receiver on the TV. This technology allows wireless HDMI extenders to put out an HD signal with full 1080p resolution over 600 feet away without having wires hanging out all over the place.
Before you buy an HDMI Extender
If your run is 50 feet or less and you’re not worried about seeing the cables, a simple HDMI cable should be enough. For anything other than that, an HDMI extender may very well be necessary. If you need help deciding on what you need, feel free to contact us.