How Should I Handle Long HDMI Runs to a TV?

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Q I just moved into a new house. Because of the way my home theater room is configured, the distance between the surround sound receiver and HDTV is about 30-40 feet. How would you suggest I make this connection? What about wireless solutions? —Joe Feller

A You can find affordable HDMI cables in 40 foot or greater lengths from online sources such as Monoprice. When dealing with HDMI cables with lengths beyond 15 feet, you may encounter “flashing” or “sparkly” noise, however. This will depend on the output signal from your HDMI source, and the data recovery capabilities of your TV’s HDMI connection, which varies from product to product.

To ensure that any HDMI cable you buy can deliver a noise-free image, look for one that’s “HDMI Certified” for a specified distance. This means it has undergone compliance testing by the HDMI organization. For long runs, you can also buy an “Active” cable with signal processing/equalization to compensate for signal loss. And don’t forget to differentiate between Standard and “High Speed” HDMI cables, the latter of which are rated for 1080p and higher resolutions.

Wireless HDMI kits are definitely another option to explore. Such kits consist of a powered transmitter that connects to your source and a receiver that plugs in to the display. One option I’d suggest checking out is the DVDO Air3 ($125), a kit designed for in-room installations at distances of up to 32 feet. And if your gear is going to be installed in a cabinet or closet, you should investigate IOGear’s Wireless HD Kit . At $190, the IOGear costs a good deal more than the DVDO kit, but its range extends up to 100 feet and it can transmit signals through solid surfaces like walls and doors.

samchitwood's picture

I have a 50' length redmere that works perfectly. Worth every penny, very cost effective. Just test and verify before running one through the wall.

Savant's picture

When doing your cable run, be sure to watch out for sharp corners as an extreme bend in the HDMI cable can cut off the signal. I ran a 35' Monster (read expensive) cable through some tight corners and after like 2 hours of hard work had NO IMAGE on my screen! All it took was to give some of the bends a little more room and all was good. Best of luck!

Old Ben's picture

Last spring, I opened up our walls to run power and HDMI cable through our walls to wall mount the TV. I was originally going to use HDMI plugs at the wall so that in-wall HDMI cable would be totally inside the wall and there would be HDMI plugs at the walls. Thus, there would be a total of three HDMI cables: (1) from AVR to wall; (2) in the wall; and (3) from the wall to the TV. After running the cable through the wall, I mocked up the above-described setup and got the sparklies. Removing the connectors and running the in-wall cable from the back of the AVR to the TV solved the problem.

I have an "I can laugh at it now" story to accompany this. To access the wall, I cut out out the dry wall for about a 6 foot length and about 2 inches wide. I drilled holes through the studs in the middle of that 2 inch strip and ran the cable. I then reinserted the drywall and secured with dry wall screws. Because of the relatively narrow width of the drywall strips, I decided it would be best to use one screw in the middle of the two inch width . . . and right into the %#$!&@*#$ HDMI cable. Fortunately, I realized what I did right away (as opposed to after I had plastered and painted the wall. A quick trip to Home Depot and $50 later for a new cable and I was back on track. Two lessons learned. One, don't put drywall screws through an HDMI cable (duh). Two, in hindsight, I wish I had taken out 4 inch strips of drywall. In the end, the width really didn't affect the quality of the patch job. Also, the two inches was a little tight for fitting my drill in to drill the holes through the studs.

David Vaughn's picture
Everyone makes great points above and I'd like the Concur on the Monoprice Redmere HDMI cable. I use a 50 foot as well and it works like a charm...not one issue at all. As for the story with the drywall...I almost did that once as well and at the last second thought better of putting the screw where I was about to drill!
thesoundguy44's picture

I would also through Cat5/6 balun kits out there as well. I am using one in my current system and have no complaints

brit.buresh's picture

I would use Cat5/6 balans. this way you can simply update the baluns if you need to upgrade without pulling new wires. I would pull 2-4 cat 6 cables to future proof your self. This will also allow you to setup a IR system. Some baluns even have the IR builtin. this is what I am using.

Mittchell's picture

HDMI Active Fiber Optic Cables are an option. They are sold with USB amplification of the HDMI signal. In that set-up you just plug the USB connector on one end of the HDMI cable into a surge protector with a ( 2.1 amp or above ) USB charging port.

crshepard7's picture

HDBaseT extenders are your best bet. I sure wouldn't bury a long, cheap HDMI cable from Monoprice or the like in the wall just hoping it will work. Run Cat6 & a couple Cat5e for good measure and use an HDBaseT extender. I'm in the process of commissioning a 20x20 HD video matrix with 16 HDBT outputs, and will use 3 additional sets of HDBT extenders to utilize its standard HDMI outputs, plus connecting two remote Blu-ray players to the matrix's source inputs using two more sets of HDBT extenders.