Upon their release, it was believed that the specifications HDMI cables possessed only enabled them to operate at distances of up to 15 feet; anything past this maximum distance was guaranteeing significant degradation in signal quality. Fortunately, HDMI specs aren’t bound by such explicit length limitations. However, they did give rise to certain guidelines and restrictions for spec compliant HDMI cables – especially when it comes to running them over extensive lengths (20m and above).
Boosted HDMI: HDMI cables equipped with an integrated booster utilise the 5 volt power rail of their signal in order to effectively transmit data further – all without losing any signal quality. Often used for extended cable runs, this particular booster can also make the structure of a short cable thinner and significantly more flexible. Due to decreased bandwidth over greater distances, an HDMI cable possessing these integrated booster chipsets typically only works with 1080p content at a range of up to 40 metres.
HDMI over CAT: Both Cat5 and Cat6 extenders offer HDMI cables and their sophisticated audio-video signals a significant boost over increased distances. Despite most extenders only supporting 1080p content, HDMI over Cat5/Cat6 extenders offers highly stable cabling runs for when your source device is isolated from your display monitor – at distances of up to 50 metres. Some extenders are even equipped to deal with 3D content. One drawback to using Cat5/Cat6 extenders lies in their complex set-up – far more complicated than a regular cable configuration. Signal interference can also serve as a major problem with cable runs through particular areas.
HDMI over Fibre Optics: Often the most expensive option, a fibre optic kit for HDMI cables affords you with cable runs in excess of 50 metres. Another added benefit lies in their incredible flexibility and reduced size – significantly smaller than boosted HDMI cables.