Regarding HDMI cable length limit, HDMI became a reliable alternative to DVI and component video cables as it offers a streamlined connection to transfer both audio and video signals.
However, the only letdown with HDMI cables is that they can’t get as long as DVI (up to 49 feet) and component video cables (up to 100 feet) because as it gets longer, the signal attenuates, resulting in a flickering screen and choppy visuals.
So, what is the solution?
The article details different options to extend the HDMI cable range without affecting the signal quality.
Table of Contents
- How long can an HDMI cable be?
- How can I tell if there are any HDMI cable length limit issues?
- How to extend an HDMI cable?
How long can an HDMI cable be?
There is no maximum limit to HDMI cable as the length depends on the cable construction and the content it transmits. Some environmental factors also affect signal interference and transmission distance.
A longer HDMI cable has higher signal loss due to attenuation. Thus, manufacturers make long HDMI cables with thicker gauge wire, officially called AWG or American Wire Gauge rating.
A cable with lower AWG means it has a thicker gauge and can transmit high-resolution signals over long distances.
But generally speaking, 50 feet is considered the maximum reliable length for an HDMI cable. However, you will rarely find more than 25 feet of HDMI cable.
In fact, in houses having collocated setups where TV, cable box and other audio/video equipment are present at the same place, an HDMI cable of about 6-7 feet is more than enough.
However, with the advent of thin and lightweight HDTVs, home theater systems have a new arrangement in the houses.
As this equipment is hung on the wall, the technician may require in-wall wiring for connecting these setups. With in-wall wiring from one room to another, the cable length becomes longer, affecting the signal quality.
You have several alternatives to extend the cable length without affecting signal transmission.
An HDMI cable
How can I tell if there are any HDMI cable length limit issues?
For most cables, the simple rule is they either work or do not work. However, in some cases, you fail to identify the reason.
A long HDMI cable often results in issues like input lag, loss of brightness, graphical artifacts, etc.
When the cable starts sending signals, it sends them in 0s and 1s; however, not all signals reach the endpoint, which affects the output quality.
Simply put, you can say a signal becomes weak with the distance it travels.
How to extend an HDMI cable?
Commonly, you will find HDMI cables in lengths of 3ft, 6ft, 10ft, and 25ft.
However, sometimes, you may need cables longer than them. In such cases, you must use a combination of these cables along with HDMI extension methods.
Use a signal booster:
An HDMI signal booster or repeater strengthens the digital signals by adding more power to the cable.
They come with an input and output port and an external power port (mostly micro-USB).
First, take the signal booster and plug it into a power source. Then, connect two long cables with a signal booster in between.
Ensure you always insert the signal booster into a section with clear signals, boosting only high-quality signals.
Mainly, the effectiveness of the repeaters falls within a range of 10-15 meters. So, if you want to use this booster, connect it to a 15m cable from your computer and then run another 15m cable from it to display.
Use HDMI to Cat 5 or Cat6 adapters:
You can use a Cat extender kit if you want HDMI cable length as long as 150 feet, like in hotels, offices, restaurants, or any other place. HDMI over CAT allows you to send signals up to 328 feet or 100 meters.
In this kit, you will get a transmitter and a receiver. Connect the transmitter at the input source, and it will convert the HDMI signals (HD videos and audio) to transfer them over Ethernet cables (Cat5, Cat6 or Cat7).
The receiver is connected to the display source. It receives the transformed signals and converts them back to HDMI signals so your display can process them and deliver output.
Fiber Optic HDMI cables:
Generally, HDMI cables are made of copper; however, copper has some limitations, like it cannot transfer signals for long distances without losing data.
However, you can use HDMI cables made of fiber optics as a solution.
In fiber optic HDMI cables, light waves carry signals through fiberglass for long distances. Also, these cables protect against external interference.
Further, optical cables are much more flexible than copper cables and, thus, easier to manage and install.
Most people also believe fiber optic cables transfer signals with more clarity and better colors, even at the same lengths as copper cables.
Technically, fiber optic HDMI cables can run for maybe 40 to 60 miles, but most manufacturers won’t make such cables.
SDI to HDMI converter:
SDI, or Serial Digital Interface, is another ethernet option primarily used in the film industry to provide high-quality videos.
You can use an SDI to HDMI converter, similar to an ethernet extender, at the transmission side and another at the display side.
You can extend your cable range to 425 feet using an SDI to HDMI converter. However, you will get different ranges and quality with different converters and cables.
Switching to SDI converters is suitable for a professional videographer, giving you exceptional video quality.
However, you must know that these converters come with a hefty price tag, and until and unless you need them, don’t go for them.
HDMI HDBase extender:
This extender can transmit HD audio and videos over long distances over a single cord. Mainly, this device is used to send signals from a Blu-ray player to your TV.
You can get this extender in a kit with two devices; a receiver and a transmitter.
Follow these instructions to learn how to install this extender device:
- Firstly, power off the input and output devices.
- Get an HDMI cable and connect it to the input port of the HDMI HDBase transmitter.
- Take another HDMI cable and insert it into the input port of the television. Connect another end to the output port of the receiver.
- Connect the HDMI HDBase transmitter and receiver with a Cat5e or Cat6 cable by plugging them into the RJ45 ports of the transmitter and receiver.
- Connect the transmitter and receiver to a power supply of about 5V.
- Switch on your Blu-Ray player and output device and enjoy.
HDMI over coaxial:
You can also use adapters that use HDMI over coaxial for up to a distance of 300 feet. However, an HDMI over coaxial cable uses at least two and sometimes four cables.
So, existing coax cable installation with a single coaxial cable won’t be enough. For longer runs, you may need to switch to fiber optics.
Though fiber optics does not cost too much, its adapter is pricey, plus the installation is complicated, making it more expensive.
For most people, HDMI cable length is not much of a concern as a cable of 10 feet does its work very well.
Only those running HDMI cables behind the walls and between the rooms need to look for long cables. The above information can help you get good-quality signals if you do so.
For any help regarding HDMI cables and other cable assemblies, contact Cloom which has a wide range of cable options for customers.