Minimum HDMI Cable Length (4 ft?) - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 64 Old 08-11-2011, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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Short Version: Tech Support at Monoprice has recommended using a minimum of 4' HDMI cables (as opposed to using, say, 2' or 3' cables), even as interconnects between components / receivers. The Reason given was that "it takes 4 ft for HDMI signal to reach maximum strength again." I couldn't find any individual corroboration of this, so I turned here.


Longer Version: I currently have a setup like this...

Components (PS3, etc.) -- <3' 24 AWG HDMI cables> -- Onkyo TX-SR608 AVR -- <50' 22 AWG HDMI cable> -- Mits HC6800 Projector

Video processing on the Onkyo is off, so it should be passthrough. I use the PS3 as my Blu Ray player, and even with the 50' cable directly connected from the receiver to the projector, I occasionally get handshake issues and signal dropouts when using the PS3 (movies in 1080p and sometimes even games in 720p.)

I was considering replacing the 50' cable with one of Monoprice's HDMI over Cat6 STP solutions, and was going to use 1' HDMI cables at each end when I got the advice from them about using a minimum of 4' HDMI cables, which I found surprising.

So, any and all input is welcomed. If you think the Cat6 solution is worth trying (or not) and have any experience with it, I'm interested. Of course, I'm also interested in the "minimum HDMI cable" question.

Thanks!
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post #2 of 64 Old 08-11-2011, 09:29 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pintozack View Post

Short Version: Tech Support at Monoprice has recommended using a minimum of 4' HDMI cables (as opposed to using, say, 2' or 3' cables), even as interconnects between components / receivers. The Reason given was that "it takes 4 ft for HDMI signal to reach maximum strength again." I couldn't find any individual corroboration of this, so I turned here.


Longer Version: I currently have a setup like this...

Components (PS3, etc.) -- <3' 24 AWG HDMI cables> -- Onkyo TX-SR608 AVR -- <50' 22 AWG HDMI cable> -- Mits HC6800 Projector

Video processing on the Onkyo is off, so it should be passthrough. I use the PS3 as my Blu Ray player, and even with the 50' cable directly connected from the receiver to the projector, I occasionally get handshake issues and signal dropouts when using the PS3 (movies in 1080p and sometimes even games in 720p.)

I was considering replacing the 50' cable with one of Monoprice's HDMI over Cat6 STP solutions, and was going to use 1' HDMI cables at each end when I got the advice from them about using a minimum of 4' HDMI cables, which I found surprising.

So, any and all input is welcomed. If you think the Cat6 solution is worth trying (or not) and have any experience with it, I'm interested. Of course, I'm also interested in the "minimum HDMI cable" question.

Thanks!

The 50' for high speed can be problematic. Do you have Deep Color off? If you don't that could solve your problems (maybe). If Deep Color is already disabled, then yes a Cat 6 solution should provide an improvement in signal integrity.

The 1' versus 4' question is outside of my knowledge. Sorry.
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post #3 of 64 Old 08-11-2011, 10:28 PM
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I've never heard of a minimum length before and that advice from Monoprice sounds questionable. I have several 1.5' HDMI cables in use and have no issues with them.
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post #4 of 64 Old 08-12-2011, 04:27 AM
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Basically, what they are "quoting" is the need to have "some minimum length" of cabling that is likely related to the "need" for a "standard transmission interface" that has some form of "line build out" in its design. That "buildout" has minimums that it expects to "see" when looking out at the cable.... basically it provides a "matching" for impedances to provide "optimum" transmission to prevent "overly hot" OR highly reflection conditions.
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post #5 of 64 Old 08-12-2011, 10:34 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post

The 50' for high speed can be problematic. Do you have Deep Color off? If you don't that could solve your problems (maybe).

Andy, thanks for your reply. I will check tonight whether deep color is off or auto, although I suspect it is on. I have seen quite a few people say that deep color is all hype -- do you think it's something people generally don't notice? (Of course, I'll try it for myself.)

Also, do you happen to know if deep color would also be output when playing games via PS3 or is that only for Blu Ray movies? Thanks!
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post #6 of 64 Old 08-12-2011, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by budwich View Post

Basically, what they are "quoting" is the need to have "some minimum length" of cabling that is likely related to the "need" for a "standard transmission interface" that has some form of "line build out" in its design. That "buildout" has minimums that it expects to "see" when looking out at the cable.... basically it provides a "matching" for impedances to provide "optimum" transmission to prevent "overly hot" OR highly reflection conditions.

So... ah... I take it you don't subscribe to that theory in a practical application?
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post #7 of 64 Old 08-12-2011, 11:20 AM
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No I didn't say that. In "real world transmission communication standards" (ie. strict telecommunications applications), design spec's are "well-defined" for a given interface (eg. long haul transmission, short haul, etc). Every manufacturer that expects his equipment to be used in the network publishes them AND follows them. In alot of cases, their interfaces are "switchable" in terms of the "line build out" because no one "fixed design" will meet the optimum conditions. Of course, they could do a similar thing in the HDMI world BUT the need and expense would not warrant it since "most applications" could/would probably fall between X and Y feet where X is some "small" number and Y is some large number. The large number is probably in that 30-35 foot range while the small number ... well... take your guess ... 1 foot, 2 foot, 3 foot ???? The problem is that most equipment makers don't publish their spec and thus the "best guess" of what their design is... is what I think they are quoting.... BUT there is a design spec (in the manufacturer's domain either internally and / or external) but I don't believe it is a "gold standard" like the equipment telecom industry standards. These are JUST consumer pieces where no one really cares if it works exactly as designed... just as long as it kind of works.... :-)
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post #8 of 64 Old 08-12-2011, 03:27 PM
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I work in the industry and there is no minimum length. If HDMI used pre-emphasis on its transmitters then possibly you might have a minimum length to knock down some of the pre-emphasized signal before it reaches an input. But pre-emphasis is not allowed for HDMI.

I can test HDMI signals direct from the output ports of a source device and there are no issues with the signal though it does not go through some minimum length of HDMI cable. The large, 50Ω single-ended cables I use to run to the oscilloscope match the impedance of the source traces and the loading at the oscilloscope so reflections are not an issue. I also use 1.5ft HDMI cables at work all the time to connect signal break-out boards together and they work fine.

I have to say that running 50ft of HDMI cable without an equalizer (booster) at the end is a little scary. I would try an equalizer before going with CAT5/6.
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post #9 of 64 Old 08-12-2011, 09:47 PM
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Haven't seen a need for a Minimum
Output cable length on the units we work with (we have 0.5m cables throughout various test rigs) - though I guess if your supplier says the kit they supply requires it your best to follow the advice.

A powered HDMI Extender up at the Projector is another option for you to consider.

Very few BD Discs are encoded in Deep Color and likewise only a few games - switch on Deep Color with 99% of BD Discs and your seeing the wrong colours!

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post #10 of 64 Old 08-13-2011, 12:22 AM
 
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I only use Vanco Installer series HDMI. I've never ran into problems up to 100ft.

http://www.amazon.com/Vanco-277050X-...3220064&sr=1-2

I use the 35ft and the 50ft all the time with projectors. Never a problem other than the occasional(2-3 per year out of hundreds) bad cable.
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post #11 of 64 Old 08-13-2011, 02:57 AM
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Another mis labelled cable - no way is it High Speed certified at 15m!

Like you lots of installs running perfectly well on Standard HDMI cables at 15m - even with 1080p, doesn't mean we don't also run 2 x CAT6 just in case though

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post #12 of 64 Old 08-13-2011, 05:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe Fernand View Post

Very few BD Discs are encoded in Deep Color

0, since Blu-ray only supports 8-bit color. Even Deep Color test content is hard to find.
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post #13 of 64 Old 08-14-2011, 03:24 AM
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I'f I'd said no BD is Deep Color enabled someone would have found some obscure test disc that was

Hopefully the OP gets the idea!

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post #14 of 64 Old 08-14-2011, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you all for the very valuable feedback and background info.

I haven't had a chance yet to try without deep color, but that will be my first test. (Hey, I have a 10 month old... My schedule is not my own.) Although I am concerned that that's not the only issue since I got dropouts while playing a 720p game on the PS3, and I don't think games are transmitted with deep color, but I'll gladly be told otherwise.

But I am now considering first trying an extender before the Cat6 solution. Awhile back I did try the Monoprice extender 2849, which claims to be powered via the 5V on HDMI itself, and it did nothing -- actually added enough insertion loss to kill the signal. Anyone have experience with either of their other extenders that can use external power: 7700 or 8120? Or another reasonably priced one that works well?
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post #15 of 64 Old 08-14-2011, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Things get stranger... I swapped the cable between the PS3 and the Onkyo AVR from a 4ft to a 6ft (both 24 AWG) and unless it's wishful thinking, the 6ft is doing better. Maybe the 4ft was straining a connection (even though there seemed to be slack)?

The PS3 did have Deep Color enabled (Automatic), so I disabled that. I can report through limited testing that with Deep Color on, the PS3 always output 12-bit/channel (a.k.a. 36-bit) color, whether it was showing a Blu Ray or playing a game -- even games in 720p.

I only know this by enabling the video processor on the Onkyo, which reported "36-bit" color. With Deep Color disabled, it reported "24-bit" but was then itself sending "30-bit" out to the projector. I normally have the video processor disabled altogether, so hopefully it sends the 24-bit color unmodified and doesn't change it to 30-bit. No way I could find for the projector to say what it's receiving.

Disabling Deep Color seems to have stabilized video output (in my short test; no dropouts) although longer tests will tell us for sure. I'll keep plugging away... Thanks again.
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post #16 of 64 Old 08-15-2011, 06:39 PM
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to answer OP's orig question about min cable length, yes, a min length can be derived from the known tranceiver specs along with the characteristics of the cable being used. i dunno what min length for hdmi 1.3 is. just like ethernet the transceivers are sensitive to Fex and Nex (far and near end cross talk). too short of cable will take Fex and Nex to a level the transceiver cant handle thus creating errors. and keep in mind, not all transceivers are built well, etc.

4ft min is a good suggestion for 10Gb via twisted pair copper, but it all depends on cable design and the transceivers involved.
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post #17 of 64 Old 08-16-2011, 05:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Denon_Kid View Post

4ft min is a good suggestion for 10Gb via twisted pair copper, but it all depends on cable design and the transceivers involved.

I guess the problem in a general practical sense, though, is that for most consumer equipment, as far as aware, these types of specifications are not published, as someone mentioned above. I'm guessing there's concern on manufacturer's parts that publishing things like min and max cable lengths would overwhelm consumers -- and then there's the notion that they couldn't guarantee those min/max values are accurate with all equipment or cables (because again, those specs aren't published.)
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post #18 of 64 Old 08-16-2011, 07:18 PM
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As I stated above there is no minimum length for HDMI cables. Denon_Kid, there are large differences between 10G Ethernet and HDMI. HDMI is a single direction signal (speaking of the high-speed TMDS signals) so transceivers are not involved. There are HDMI transmitters and HDMI receivers. Because of this, far end cross-talk and near end cross-talk is not an issue with HDMI. All TMDS signal travel from source to sink and experience similar attenuation. HDMI connectors have well controlled impedance through them so reflections are minimal and the TMDS pairs are supposed to be individually shielded so crosstalk within the cable is minute. FYI
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post #19 of 64 Old 08-16-2011, 08:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiberOpticDude View Post

As I stated above there is no minimum length for HDMI cables. Denon_Kid, there are large differences between 10G Ethernet and HDMI. HDMI is a single direction signal (speaking of the high-speed TMDS signals) so transceivers are not involved. There are HDMI transmitters and HDMI receivers. Because of this, far end cross-talk and near end cross-talk is not an issue with HDMI. All TMDS signal travel from source to sink and experience similar attenuation. HDMI connectors have well controlled impedance through them so reflections are minimal and the TMDS pairs are supposed to be individually shielded so crosstalk within the cable is minute. FYI

nex and fex is not defined only by the transmitter/receiver pair, its a inherent issue that depends on cable length, construction type, frequency, etc etc. when you say "single direction signal" doesnt the 1.4a spec allow for bi-directional digital data flow, so doesnt this mean a 1.4a hdmi port is a transceiver, or does the return audio portion gets transmitted/received by some other device that is wired into the hdmi port??? 1.4a is not a "single direction" signal in the cable, and tmds is a form of lvds which means you have current flows in both directions with the differential cml on the receiver side (current loop).

i am not 100% up on the signaling. i suspect hdmi is parallel tmds to achieve the ~10Gb rate?
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post #20 of 64 Old 08-16-2011, 11:31 PM
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I have tested many HDMI cables, transmitters, and receivers over the last few years and never been able to see any crosstalk whatsoever on the TMDS signal lines. The shielding and connector design of HDMI mitigates this issue. I have seen crosstalk between the SDA and SCL wires of the DDC link on poor quality HDMI cables that twist the SDA and SCL wires together (dumb, dumb, dumb). Note that these wires are not shielded. I have tried to convince a specific Chinese cable manufacturers not to twist these wires together but they believe they must. Well... at least until they experience customer issues with HDCP signals unable to properly handshake on their longer cables!

HDMI 1.4a allows for a low data-rate audio return channel (ARC) to travel to on a wire pair in the cable, and I do believe that they use a separate IC for receiving the ARC signal. I have never heard anyone in the industry use the term transceiver related to HDMI. The data rate of the audio return channel approximately 1000x lower in data rate than the TMDS signals. Also TMDS signals are NOT a form of LVDS. They are a form of CML signaling. The design and specifications of LVDS Tx and Rx devices is very different than that of CML devices. If you would like to learn more about HDMI please check out the DVI specs from which HDMI was based:
http:/www.ddwg.org/lib/dvi_10.pdf

Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS) is 4 differential pairs of approx. 1Vp-p amplitude. They are DC coupled from open-collector sources to 50Ω pull-ups attached to 3.3V on the receiver. Three of the pairs are for DATA and one is a CLOCK signal (D0, D1, D2, CLK). A couple of data rates are 1.485Gbps each channel for 1080p @ 60Hz standard color (24bit) and 2.23Gbps for 1080p @ 60Hz with deep color (36bit).

Note that the Display Data Channel (DDC) signals on an HMDI cable are bi-directional making use of an I2C interface. Note that this type of communication only has one side talking at a time. The HDCP signals travel via DDC. As noted above I have seen crosstalk between the SDA and SCL wires which is due to coupling between the wires in a cable with these wires twisted together. Note that this type of crosstalk gets worse as the cable gets longer, so the shorter the better.

Cheers
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post #21 of 64 Old 08-17-2011, 01:11 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FiberOpticDude View Post

I have tried to convince a specific Chinese cable manufacturers not to twist these wires together but they believe they must.

That might explain some of the problems folks around here have had with longer cables...
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post #22 of 64 Old 08-17-2011, 05:39 PM
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fiberdude,
so after reviewing some of the cml used for tmds it would seem that there should be no minimum length limitation.

thnx for the info.
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post #23 of 64 Old 08-17-2011, 06:59 PM
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FWIW I think the source of this myth was problems monoprice was having with folks using short cables with one or more of their switches/splitters that included equalization.
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post #24 of 64 Old 03-08-2012, 09:54 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

FWIW I think the source of this myth was problems monoprice was having with folks using short cables with one or more of their switches/splitters that included equalization.

Sorry to ressurect an old thread, but I was wondering if you could provide more info on this statement. I am having issues with a monoprice extender that only displays a blank screen when using my bluray player, but works with all of my other devices. Monoprice tech support is suggesting using longer HDMI cables to correct my problem. It doesn't seem like it would be causing my issue

Thanks,
Matt
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post #25 of 64 Old 03-08-2012, 01:35 PM
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How long is the cable from the switch to the display? Which extender?
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post #26 of 64 Old 03-11-2012, 05:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Colm View Post

How long is the cable from the switch to the display? Which extender?


I am using a 3ft monoprice 24awg high speed cable between the bluray player and the receiver and another 3 footer between the receiver and the extender(monoprice pid 8123). And a 6ft 24awg cable on the tv end of the extender.

Thanks,
Matt
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post #27 of 64 Old 03-11-2012, 08:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWRecords View Post

I am using a 3ft monoprice 24awg high speed cable between the bluray player and the receiver and another 3 footer between the receiver and the extender(monoprice pid 8123). And a 6ft 24awg cable on the tv end of the extender.

Thanks,
Matt

I suspect others are wondering this as well, why do you need an extender for a 6-foot run?
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post #28 of 64 Old 03-11-2012, 10:55 AM
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Beat me to it. I just use 6' certified High Speed cables between my devices and a 3' cable from the BD player to the AVR.
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post #29 of 64 Old 03-11-2012, 11:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alk3997 View Post


I suspect others are wondering this as well, why do you need an extender for a 6-foot run?


Sorry if I was unclear here is my setup:

Bluray > 3ft hdmi > onkyo 709 > 3ft hdmi > monoprice 8123 extender > 67ft cat6 run > monoprice 8123 extender > 6ft hdmi > samsung pn59d7000

I have 3 other sources connected to the onkyo's inputs (xbox 360, directv dvr and an Acer aspire revo running XBMC) connected by the same model 3ft hdmi cables and they work perfectly at 1080p. I tried swapping out the cables to see if I had a bad cable possibly, but still no change. It seems odd to me that that all of the other devices work properly with 3ft cables but for some reason I need >4ft cables for the blu ray player.

Thanks,
Matt
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post #30 of 64 Old 03-11-2012, 02:43 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MWRecords View Post

Sorry if I was unclear here is my setup:

Bluray > 3ft hdmi > onkyo 709 > 3ft hdmi > monoprice 8123 extender > 67ft cat6 run > monoprice 8123 extender > 6ft hdmi > samsung pn59d7000

I have 3 other sources connected to the onkyo's inputs (xbox 360, directv dvr and an Acer aspire revo running XBMC) connected by the same model 3ft hdmi cables and they work perfectly at 1080p. I tried swapping out the cables to see if I had a bad cable possibly, but still no change. It seems odd to me that that all of the other devices work properly with 3ft cables but for some reason I need >4ft cables for the blu ray player.

Thanks,
Matt

Some more questions...Does the Onkyo 709 output sound from the Blu-Ray player with the 3ft cable while the display is showing the problem? Did changing from a 3ft cable to longer one solve the problem? Can't argue with success but it just seems more likely to be an Onkyo incompatibility with the Monoprice box. However, if the longer cable worked...
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