Frequently Asked Questions


Like all HDMI-enabled components, cables must be tested to meet the Compliance Test Standards set by the HDMI Licensing, LLC. Cables must successfully pass a signal of a certain strength (Standard cable must deliver a signal of 17Mhz; High Speed must deliver a signal of 340Mhz) to pass compliance. The HDMI specification does not dictate cable length requirements. Different cables can successfully send HDMI signals various distances, depending on the quality of the design and construction. As well, HDMI compliance testing assumes “worst case” scenarios – testing with components who have minimally performing HDMI electronics. That is why you may see cables in the market that claim to successfully pass an HDMI signal at very long lengths. This may be true using certain quality CE components on each end, but may not work in every case. It is best to test entire systems before installing.

Active HDMI Cables & Boosters
Using active electronics to boost and clean up the signal can effectively double the range of a standard twisted-copper HDMI cable. Cable runs of up to 30 meters are the norm for this type of solution, which may be deployed as either a standalone signal management device, i.e., a repeater or booster box, or incorporated into the manufacture of the cable itself. Boxes are available in many configurations, usually incorporating both booster and equalization functions, and may also serve as repeaters or switchers. Active cables, on the other hand, embed the signal-enhancement electronics in the cable itself, with chips embedded in the connector housings. They are unidirectional, using different modules at the transmit and receive ends of the cable. All the technologies in this category require external power.

Beware products that draw power from the +5V power line. Although these may work in certain applications, different components draw varying amount of power from that line to communicate with each other. A cable that draws power from the HDMI cable may fail when components and the active components in the cable or external booster are all drawing from the same source. 

HDMI over Cat 5/6
Runs of up to 100 meters can be achieved by sending the HDMI signal over a run of Cat 5/6 networking cable, using special adapters designed for this purpose. As with the active cable solutions discussed above, they incorporate booster and equalization electronics at each end of the path, and require external power. Because of its tighter manufacturing tolerances, Cat 6 cable is generally preferred over Cat 5 in these applications. 

HDMI over coax up to 328ft
This technique consists of a transmitter / receiver pair that convert HDMI signals for transmission over RGBHV or RGBS coaxial cables. The benefits of this solution are long reach (up to 328 feet at 1080p resolutions), the ability to easily terminate connections in the field, and an easy upgrade path for existing RGBHV or RGBS coaxial installations in office or commercial installations. 

HDMI over Fiber up to 1000ft
The longest HDMI cable runs seen to date have been achieved using fiber-optic cable, which is far less susceptible to attenuation and interference than copper. Electrically it is similar to an active cable or Cat 5/6 solution, the principal difference being the higher-quality optical cabling between the transmit and receive connectors. HDMI over fiber is a highly robust solution, effective in cable runs up to 100 meters or more. 

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the first industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, and A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV).HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel digital audio, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.

The new HDMI digital interconnect provides:· Superior, uncompressed digital video and audio quality· Simple, user-friendly connector that replaces the maze of cabling behind the entertainment center· Integrated remote control· A popular interface enabling the transmission of high-definition content. HDMI opens the floodgate of digital content from major motion picture producers

HDMI, when used in combination with HDCP, provides a secure audio/video interface that meets the security requirements of content providers and systems operators.

Quality HDMI transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality.All Digital HDMI ensures an all-digital rendering of video without the losses associated with analog interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analog conversions.Low-cost HDMI provides the quality and functionality of a digital interface while also supporting uncompressed video formats in a simple, cost-effective manner.Audio HDMI supports multiple audio formats, from standard stereo to multi-channel surround-sound.Ease-of-use HDMI combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems.Intelligence HDMI supports communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality.

Yes, HDMI is fully backward-compatible with DVI using the CEA-861 profile for HDTVs. HDMI HDTV?s will display video received from existing DVI-equipped products, and DVI-equipped TVs will display video from HDMI sources.

Yes. Currently there are TVs with DVI-HDTV inputs available from a variety of manufacturers. Those devices will be compatible with future HDMI-equipped products.

HDMI has the capacity to support existing high-definition video formats (720p, 1080i, and even 1080p). It also has the flexibility to support enhanced definition formats such as 480p, as well as standard definition formats such as NTSC or PAL.

Yes. HDMI technology has been designed to use standard copper cable construction at long lengths. In order to allow cable manufacturers to improve their products through the use of new technologies, HDMI specifies the required performance of a cable but does not specify a maximum cable length. Cables are expected to be lengths of up to 15 meters. As semiconductor technology improves, even longer stretches can be reached with fiber optic cables, and with active cable technologies such as amplifiers or repeaters.

Yes. You can use an HDMI to DVI cable or a HDMI to DVI Adapter. However it may or may not work. Why? HDCP. HDCP stands "High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection" (HDCP). It is meant to prevent you from copying content you are not "allowed" to copy. Generally HDMI connectors all use HDCP. DVI connections on the other hand, may or may not have HDCP. Computers and LCD monitors for example, can have DVI connections which do not have, or "need"; HDCP. Many of the early HDTV's that have DVI connectors do not have HDCP. Some projectors, especially non-Home Theater oriented ones with DVI connectors do not have HDCP. Generally you will need to be sure that both devices use HDCP in order to connect together an HDMI device and a DVI device.


A coaxial type product is one that has two conductors (inner and outer) forming a closed transmission medium.

Some of the common connector types used on coaxial cable are BNC, SMA, SMB, SMC, MCX, TNC, N, SMC, MMCX, F, and UHF. These connector types come in male and female versions.

A majority of coaxial cable types have their origins in the military world and are identified as RG (Radio frequency,Goverment ) Some common types of RG cable are RG6, RG59, RG62, RG58, RG142, RG174, RG188 and RG316.

Each cable type has performance or physical characteristics that differentiate it such as size, frequency, power, insertion loss, impedance or operating temperature.

Coaxial products are often used in broadcast, network, communications, audio/video and test applications.

 Impedance in a coaxial product is a measurement of resistance to the flow of current. The unit of measurement is ohms.

Double shielding in a coaxial cable indicates two layers of outer conductor shielding. Often one layer is a metallized foil while the other layer is a metallic braid. These two layers decrease the leakage of energy from the cable.

The primary impedance standards for coaxial cable are as follows:

1. 75 ohms, used by the telephone and broadcast industry for the transmission of voice, video and data.

2. 50 ohms, developed by the military for ship to ship and air to ground communications.

3. 93 ohms, developed as a low capacitance instrumentation cable.

Some of the major factors which influence shielding effectiveness of flexible coaxial cable assemblies are as follows:

1. Number of shields (flat braid, round braid and helical wrap)

2. Braid style and coverage (flat vs. round)

3. Thickness of shield material and plating.

4. Connector and style of attachment.

The primary use of a 75Ohm cable is to transmit a video signal. One common application is television signals over cable, sometimes called signal feed cables and often used with an F Type connector. Another application is video signals between components such as DVD players, VCRs and Receivers, commonly known as audio/video (A/V) cables. In this case, BNC and RCA are the most commonly used connectors. In both of these applications, RG59 with both solid center conductor (RG59U) and stranded center conductor (RG59A/U) as well as RG6 are often used.

A solid center conductor coaxial cable will have lower attenuation per foot than a stranded center conductor coaxial cable. A stranded center conductor coaxial cable will however be more flexible than a solid center conductor coaxial cable.

In building construction the space used for air circulation is called the plenum. This space is also often used to route communication cables. This poses a serious hazard in the event of fire due to lack of barriers to contain the smoke and flames. Because of this, various fire codes and the National Electrical Code (NEC) require the use of fire resistant and low smoke producing cable in these spaces. This type of cable is called plenum cable and is coated with a fire retardant coating to produce a cable that is fire resistant and has low smoke producing characteristics.

A male connector is commonly referred to as a plug and has a solid pin for a center conductor. A female connector is commonly referred to as a jack and has a center conductor with a hole in it to accept the male pin.

Some of the common interfaces found on Video Monitor cables are HD15, EVC, DVI-D, DB9, 13W3, and BNC.


Video images are transmitted across cables in a variety of ways; from single coaxial cable to the use of as many as 5 coaxial lines to transmit the video image. The more the video signal is broken down into individual components, the better the image. Below is a list of commonly used video transmission signals:

Red, Green, Blue (RGB) - This method uses 3 to 5 coaxial lines with BNC style connectors or HD15 interfaces. The video signal is split into three primary colors (Red, Green, and Blue) with separate lines often used for control signals. This method produces an extremely high quality video image.

Component - Three coaxial lines are used in this method with RCA style connectors. Black and white information is carried on one coaxial line while color differential signals are carried on the two remaining coaxial lines. This method produces a high quality video image.

S-Video - This method utilizes two coaxial lines contained within one outer jacket with a Mini DIN 4 circular connector. One coaxial line carries the black and white information. The second coaxial line carries all the color information. This method produces a high quality video image.

Composite - A single coaxial line with an RCA connector carries both black and white and color signals. This method produces a relatively good quality video image.

RF Video - single coaxial line with a Type F connector. It produces the lowest quality video image of all the interface types.

The term S-Video is derived from the way video signal is transmitted. In S-Video the signal is separated into two components, hence the term Separate Video or S-Video. Two 75Ohm coaxial cables and a Mini Din 4 connector are utilized to transmit the two component signals. One of the coaxial cables carries the Luminance Signal (brightness or Y component) while the second 75Ohm coaxial cable carries the Chrominance Signal (color or C component). By separating the video signal into two components a better quality picture is produced than composite video which only utilizes one coaxial cable to transmit both signals.

No, S-Video only carries the Y/C (Chrominance/Luminance) video signal. It uses all 4 pins of the connector (2 hots and 2 grounds) so there is no room for an audio. If you wish to have audio, you will need to run separate audio cables.

Component video separated the picture into three component signals; two different color signals, and the "black-n-white" signal. The further separation of the color signal allows for better resolution and color saturation. Of the three, Component video is the only one with enough bandwidth to handle high-definition information, so it is mostly found on HDTV equipment and DVD players.

"Y" is luminance, or "Brightness". Basically it describes the level of white (or black) "Pb" and "Pr" are the "color" luminance signals used to derive the levels of Red, Blue and Green color in the video signal. With various levels of red, green and blue any other color can be reproduced. "Pr" is basically the level of Red, while "Pb"; is basically the level of Blue. What about Green?! Green is derived from the levels of red, blue and the overall white level ("Y"), whatever is present in "Y" after subtracting red and blue must be green.

Official length limitations: These are standards that have been defined by industry associations.

- Ethernet (CAT 5e)?100 meters (about 328 feet)

- Firewire (also called IEEE-1394, DV, and iLink)?4.5 meters (about 15 feet)

- Parallel (IEEE-1284 compliant cables)?10 meters (about 32.5 feet)

- SCSI (single-ended)?6 meters for SCSI-1 and SCSI-2, 1.5 meters for SCSI-3

- SCSI (differential)?25 meters

- USB?5 meters (about 16.5 feet)

- Ultra-ATA (also called IDE)?18 inches, with no more than 6 inches between devices

Unofficial length limitations: These signaling methods don't really have a defined maximum length. The limitations listed here are based on common real-world experience. Use these as a guideline-your application may allow for a longer cable run, or may call for a shorter distance. Check with your equipment manufacturer-they may specify a maximum cable length. The best advice for these types of cables is to use as short of a cable as you can.

- Audio (line level)-150 ft

- Audio (speaker level)-500 ft (use lower gauge wire as distance increases)

- Audio (digital coax)-50 ft

- Audio (digital optical)-5 meters (about 16.5 feet)

- Component video-150 ft

- Composite video-150 ft

- Ethernet (Fiber optic)-up to several kilometers

- Keyboard (PS/2)-25 ft w/o booster

- Modulated RF (CATV, SATV)-150 ft (use RG-6 coaxial wire)

- Mouse (PS/2)-25 ft w/o booster

- S-video-150 ft

- Serial (RS-232)-1000 ft

- VGA-100 ft without a booster/amplifier

Cable Differences

An analog signal is one that continuously varies up and down in amplitude while a digital signal is a signal that is either on or off.

Typically cross pinned products are used for Telephony, and straight pinned products are used primarily in Data applications.

Straight-thru means each contact is pinned to its respective contact (1-1, 2-2, 3-3, etc.) Crossed pinning means contacts are pinned through to the opposite contact (Example: an 8 position RJ45: 1-8, 2-7, 3-6, etc.). When using a coupler between two patch cords it is important to choose the correct type. If the desired pinning from end to end is crossed, then the coupler and cables must be crossed. For straight pinning, all the couplers and cables must be pinned straight-thru.

The new Category 6 Standard adopted in 2002 extended key parameters over 5E specifications. The additional headroom is intended to provide quality transmission at higher data rates required by emerging applications. The most prominent difference is the frequency at which the key parameters are measured. The jump from 100 to 250Mhz places a great deal emphasis on component quality as well as installation techniques. This improvement is commonly noticed by the increased pair twisting and staggering of twisted pairs.

PVC and Plenum describe the outer jacket material used on the cable. "Plenum" is a term used to describe a cable that meets certain fire code requirements, and is ok to use inside walls and drop ceilings. Stranded and Solid describe the actual conductors themselves. A solid conductor is a solid copper wire, whereas a stranded conductor is made up of very fine strands of copper woven or twisted together to form the wire. Stranded conductors therefore are more flexible and best suited for making patch cables. Solid conductors are more rigid, so solid conductor cable is best for in-the-wall runs or for punching down permanently to wall plates or patch panels. 100Mhz and 350Mhz are frequencies that the cables are tested at. Cat5e specifications only require a cable to be tested at 100Mhz. Some manufacturers go beyond that and test at 350Mhz. This superior grade of cable allows for more headroom for the data in the cable, improving overall signal transfer.

A KVM switch is an active device that allows multiple CPUs to share one Keyboard/Video Display/and Mouse. Without a KVM switch users have to buy more equipment and use more space. With a KVM switch users have less equipment to buy, more space to work with and less power is used.

Assembled cable assemblies use hoods made of plastic or metal to protect the wires at the terminated connector. These assembled shells can be shielded or unshielded. Molded hoods are made from PVC which is melted and injected into a mold. Assembled shells can be disassembled by removing hardware where molded shells cannot.


Universal Serial Bus is a high speed connectivity standard enabling simple plug and play connections to devices such as modems, digital cameras, camcorders, keyboards and mice. An attractive advantage to USB is devices are hot pluggable (live connection/disconnection without data loss or interruption). Cables and devices manufactured to the current USB version 2.0 specifications are backward compatible with version 1.1, but the reverse scenario does not apply.

Type A jacks are found on the host and hubs.Type B jacks are found on peripherals.

Low Speed devices - such as keyboards, mice and serial interfaces such as RS232 operate at 1.5Mbps. USB version 1.0 and 1.1 compliant devices provide enough bandwidth for these applications.

Full Speed devices - such as web cams and printers operate at 12Mbps. USB version 1.0 and 1.1 devices typically will provide enough bandwidth to meet the requirements for these applications.

High Speed devices - such as external CD-ROMS, DVD drives, USB to Ethernet applications operate at 480Mbps. USB 2.0 is the preferred version for these types of applications. USB 2.0 also supports low-bandwidth applications such as: keyboards and mice, along with high-bandwidth devices including scanners, webcams, printers and storage devices.


Firewire is an emerging high speed communication interconnect standard defined by IEEE-1394. It was originally developed to connect PCs to other PCs or peripherals such as digital cameras, camcorders, scanners, etc. Current applications include automotive, telecom, data acquisition, aerospace and a host of others. An attractive advantage is that devices are hot pluggable (live connection/disconnection without data loss or interruption).

Firewire Connectors:

- 6Pin- typically located on computers and hubs

- 4Pin - typically located on peripheral devices

Firewire Cables:

- 6Pin-6Pin utilize all six cable conductors (4 data and 2 power)

- 6Pin-4Pin utilize only the data conductors

The major types of fiber optic cables are multimode (allows multiple modes of light to be transmitted) and single mode (allows only one mode of light to be transmitted).

Fiber Optics

Some of the common connector types used on fiber optic products are ST, SC, LC, FC, VF45, MU, MTP and MT-RJ.

Similar to coaxial products which use electricity to transmit signals fiber optic products utilize light to transmit signals.

Fiber has several major advantages. The first is lower distance limitations. A fiber cable can be run over a longer distance without adding special equipment. Second is immunity to EMI/RFI noise. This is especially useful in factory environments where heavy machinery tends to generate high levels of EMI/RFI. The third reason is low data errors. Optical fiber tends to have a much lower bit error rate in comparison to copper cabling. This reduces the occurrences of retransmissions thereby increasing network efficiency.

PVC (PolyVinyl Chloride) has good insulation qualities, is cost effective, and is easy to work with.

The drain wire and cable braid are both part of a cable shield and are electrically connected. A drain wire is used to ease termination of the cable shield for crimping or soldering.

A shielded cable or adaptor has a conductive material over the conductors that provides protection against EMI (electromagnetic interference) and RFI (Radio Frequency Interference).

 This depends on a couple of factors, including the length of the cable runs and the power of the amplifier.

- For runs under 50 feet, with an amplifier of up to 50 watts, use 16 AWG wire.

For runs over 50 feet, or with an amp from 50-100 watts, use 14 AWG wire.

- For long runs over 100 feet, or amps 100 watts or greater, use 12 AWG wire.


Digital Visual Interface

DVI is a new video signal specification that provides for loss-less digital video transmission between computers, HDTV Set Top Boxes, DVD Players and displays such as LCD monitors, Plasma displays and Video Projectors.

Standard VGA type signals originate in the digital domain. They are then converted to analog so that a standard monitor can understand the signal. If you are using an LCD or Plasma display, your signal is converted from digital to analog then from analog back to digital. All of this processing increases the loss and noise in your video signal. DVI bypasses all of that by remaining in the digital domain. In addition, DVI allows for far higher resolutions than a standard signal.

DVI has the ability to employ two links. Each link is comprised of three data channels for RGB. Each link has a maximum bandwidth of 165 MHz. Dual link has a maximum bandwidth of 330 MHz. Dual link supports resolutions up to 2048 x 1536. Currently, most equipment is Single Link.

The specification is 5 meters (16.5 feet). However, our unique selection of products can go as far as 15 meters (50 feet) on 24AWG cable with copper conductors.

These acronyms distinguish the different DVI interfaces. We now all know that DVI stands for Digital Visual Interface. The suffixes further distinguish the interface.

DVI-D is digital only. This is available in Single and Dual link. DVI-D is the best quality signal.

- DVI-I is an integrated interface containing the digital and analog signals. This means that with one cable you can transmit digital to digital or analog to analog. It will NOT turn your analog signal into a digital signal. This is the most popular interface right now. Many video cards offer this interface. DVI-I is available in single and dual link.

- DVI-A is an analog only interface. It is basically the same as your current connection but with a different type of connector.

- These cables cannot be interchanged. You cannot plug a DVI-D cable into a DVI-A port and vice versa. There is one exception. If you have a DVI-I port, you can plug a DVI-I,  DVI-D or a DVI-A cable into it.

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