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post #121 of 404 Old 01-19-2011, 01:10 PM
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I have been working through my first pass at hdmi over cat6 at my new home.

I had attempted to use the HDMI over cat6 wallplates from monoprice with a 4 port hdmi switch from monoprice with cat6 cables from monoprice going 50 feet.

I found that the wall plate itself worked well with my comcast motorola cable box to my samsung 8000 series tv. I did not notice a difference between hdmi and hdmi over cat6. The playstation would not work with the hdmi over cat6 hooked up, UNLESS deep color was turned off. With deep color turned off we watched an entire movie with no issues. I tested this setup for 2 days before trying the hdmi switch.

When I tried to put the hdmi switch into the setup the playstation 3 would not work no matter what port, deep color on or off. Using all new cables and old known good cables.

Both the switch and wall plates are going back because the wall plates cat6 connection was a bit loose and a slight bump seemed to cause them issues. I bought the 4x2 matrix from monoprice and the powered hdmi over cat5/6 adapters from monoprice hopefully all the components will get along. We'll see
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post #122 of 404 Old 01-19-2011, 07:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc8587 View Post

Dane,

Judging by the Menotek and CT user manuals, which contain the exact same broken english and performance stats word for word, I am going to say you are correct in that they are sourced by the same OEM manufacturer.

These cables were installed prior to my purchase of the house. I'm sure they were terminated by the previous owner. I know for a fact, since he built the house, he ran the cables clear of 120 lines and had access to the walls pre-drywall so no pulling/stress was induced to the runs. The previous owner ran Component over cat-6 using similar baluns with full 1080i compliance. I even witnessed 3d over cat-6 on components while at the house prior to me moving in.

I also ordered another set from monprice which will come today and I will report on it when I get a chance. (http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...seq=1&format=2)

Still waiting on the other set from amazon. Should be in today or tomorrow.

Thanks again for all your work, Dane. I hope I can figure this situation out without running HDMI or more cat-6 lines. Are wireless soltutions feasible?

-Chris

Thanks for comparing the user manuals, jc8587. I'm guessing then that the 3D was 1080i/3D, since it was over component video? 1080i is 'half as demanding' as 1080p, and many more devices exist out there that can do 1080i than can do 1080p as a result.

eliteconcept's post is a good reminder of some of the funky problems that I ran into in my own early difficulties.. The bluray player output worked great, the DVDO's output didn't hardly work at all. There is still no true "understanding" of the problem, aside from the fact that in general, the dual-cable baluns don't work as well as the single-cable baluns. Since there is no publicly known "root cause" yet, a generalized statement is about as good as we can probably expect.

I wish you luck with your dual cable baluns. Many have had poor luck with them, but a few have had success. Hopefully you will fall into the latter category!

EDIT: I forgot to address your wireless question. I have heard good things on the new offerings from BriteView. There is at least one thread here on AVS about it. I am pretty anti-wireless myself but was "this close" to buying it because it was less expensive than the route I finally settled on. There will be tradeoffs for both wired- and wireless- solutions. And with others pointing out some more affordable wired solutions than the one I bought, the number of affordable options (wired and wireless) are increasing.

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliteconcept View Post

I have been working through my first pass at hdmi over cat6 at my new home.

I had attempted to use the HDMI over cat6 wallplates from monoprice with a 4 port hdmi switch from monoprice with cat6 cables from monoprice going 50 feet.

I found that the wall plate itself worked well with my comcast motorola cable box to my samsung 8000 series tv. I did not notice a difference between hdmi and hdmi over cat6. The playstation would not work with the hdmi over cat6 hooked up, UNLESS deep color was turned off. With deep color turned off we watched an entire movie with no issues. I tested this setup for 2 days before trying the hdmi switch.

When I tried to put the hdmi switch into the setup the playstation 3 would not work no matter what port, deep color on or off. Using all new cables and old known good cables.

Both the switch and wall plates are going back because the wall plates cat6 connection was a bit loose and a slight bump seemed to cause them issues. I bought the 4x2 matrix from monoprice and the powered hdmi over cat5/6 adapters from monoprice hopefully all the components will get along. We'll see

Yes, I had similar problems where deep color would not work as well (if at all), and where some devices seemed to work fantastically where other devices would hardly work at all. It led me down a very deep rabbit hole about looking into the "hdmi output quality" of the various devices, but I could never find any way to make the output of the DVDO Edge (for instance) work as well over the dual cable balun as the Oppo BDP80. In the end I got a single-cable adapter, and all my problems instantly vanished-- AND it's now set to deep color (36bit) all the time (being always fed from the DVDO Edge). I haven't had any problems since and have hardly even thought about it aside from keeping this thread updated and offering help to others....

good luck, keep us posted. With over 9,000 views to-date, I know a lot of people are keeping tabs on our collective progress..

..dane

 
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post #123 of 404 Old 01-20-2011, 05:17 AM
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Well guys...

...this product from monoprice solved my major dilema (no not spelling): shipping HDMI @ 1080p over 50ft Cat-6 runs.

http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...=2#description

I have a BR player(HDMI), DVR cable box(HDMI), Xbox 360(Component), and a Wii(Composite) all connected to my Denon AV591 AV Receiver. From the Receiver I plug up this great product's sender unit and ship the signal over 50ft of Cat-6 cables (not exactly equal length or twin cables, but close) to receiver unit bhind my TV. From the receiver unit to back to HDMI cable then to the TV. It works great and delivers full , crisp, stable 1080p video with HDCP compliance!

There are downsides, however, because this is not compliant with HDMI 1.3 or 1.4 (only 1.2a) this product is not compatible with 3D, nor is it able to ship ethernet over HDMI nor is it ARC capable.

The last issue that I don't have an answer to is why my audio will not come through to the TV. It could be a wiring issue on my end, but even though I get full 1080p video, I cannot use my TV speakers. This is only troubling if we're watching the news or I don't want to blast the surround sound while the lady is asleep.

Overall this is a great product and fits the solution I needed for my setup.

The Mediabridge product from amazon turned out to be another implementation of the CT and Menotek products, and again, did not work in my situation.


Dane, here are the credentials for the first page.


jc8587:
try #1:
- Source-end: Denon AVR 591
- CatX Adapter: Menotek HDMI Extender (same as Conversions Technology?) (Amazon, <$100)
- CatX Cables: ~3ft Cat6, and ~50ft Cat6 STP(termination: self stressed: no)
- Far-end: Panasonic TCP54G25
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 720i/p 1080i/p
- Status: only 480p and lower worked, no audio/video at higher res

try #2:
- Source-end: same
- CatX Adapter: Tripp Lite B136-101 (component A/V extenders) (Amazon, <$75)
- CatX Cables: same
- Far-end: same
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 720i/p 1080i/p
- Status: poor audio and noisy video, even at lower res

try #3:
- Source-end: same
- CatX Adapter: Mediabridge - Dual-Cat5e HDMI Extender (Amazon, <$50)
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6 STP x2
- Far-end: same
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 720i/p 1080i/p
- Status: Worked on old(er) Blu ray, but not Denon or Motorolla DVR (handshake issues, most liekly not HDCP compliant)

try #4:
- Source-end: same
- CatX Adapter: MonoPrice HDMI extender (MonoPrice, <$40)
(http://www.monoprice.com/products/pr...=2#description)
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6 STP x2
- Far-end: same
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 720i/p 1080i/p
- Status: Works and supports Video at full 1080p! No audio (could be wiring). Dual Cat-6 extender worked better for me than the single. No handshake issues anymore. Will work on audio later

Thanks again,
Chris

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post #124 of 404 Old 01-20-2011, 01:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Chris-- awesome that it's working for you (video, at least). I'm by no means a CI (custom installer), but more and more I'm reading of the strangest things that occur with HDMI that never occurred with pre-hdmi technologies. Hopefully it will improve over the years as HDMI continues to mature. Please also keep us posted when you get your audio problems sorted out, just in the off chance that it has some application to the topics at hand here...

And thanks so much for going ahead and formatting all your data for me-- you have no idea how much easier it makes it for me! 1st post updated with your latest results.

cheers,
..dane

 
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post #125 of 404 Old 01-21-2011, 05:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodane View Post

Chris-- awesome that it's working for you (video, at least). I'm by no means a CI (custom installer), but more and more I'm reading of the strangest things that occur with HDMI that never occurred with pre-hdmi technologies. Hopefully it will improve over the years as HDMI continues to mature. Please also keep us posted when you get your audio problems sorted out, just in the off chance that it has some application to the topics at hand here...

And thanks so much for going ahead and formatting all your data for me-- you have no idea how much easier it makes it for me! 1st post updated with your latest results.

cheers,
..dane

Well, I apologize, but you'll have to update that first post one more time

The audio was actually a setting on the Denon Receiver. You can set it up multiple ways and deliver audio to the TV+Stereo, TV only, Stereo only, or even pass through the HDMI signal with the reciever in standby mode. I played around with the settings (there are so many on this Denon!) and poof audio through the TV!

Looks like the extenders are doing their job afterall!

I also received my Logitech Harmony 890 + RF extender. What an awesome product. I had it setup through the software in less that an hour and, with the "help" button on the remote, was able to troubleshoot any issue without the use of the software at all! (I recommend ebaying one for cost reasons)

Like Dane said, I hope this thread helps others who are looking for a good way to ship HDMI.

I have tested 4 products and the last, and cheapest, one worked... funny how that happens. As a side note, Amazon has a very trouble-free return process. Just click on "return item" and drop it off at your local UPS store. Easy.

Thanks again, Dane!

-Chris

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post #126 of 404 Old 01-21-2011, 06:52 AM
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I borrowed a blu-ray for giggles to test on my setup with the dual catX passive wall plates from monoprice, while I wait for the powered catx adapters to arrive.

Eliteconcept
try #1:
- Source-end: PS3 / comcast motorola cable box
- CatX Adapter: Monoprice < $20 wallplates
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6 STP x 2
- Far-end: Samsung UN55B8000
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 1080i/p
- Status: Feed from comcast cable box worked good. Standard def and hi def channels work great with respect to audio and video quality, achieved 1080i from comcast cable box hi def channels. Had maybe 2 dropouts of 1-2 seconds after using for 5 days. DVD over ps3 worked well get video and audio. Blu-ray works well from ps3 passes at 1080p at 24fps, watched for 1 1/2 hours and had only 1 dropout.
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post #127 of 404 Old 01-21-2011, 09:14 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jc8587 View Post

Well, I apologize, but you'll have to update that first post one more time

no problem (done)... glad you got your audio fixed!

Quote:
Originally Posted by eliteconcept View Post

I borrowed a blu-ray for giggles to test on my setup with the dual catX passive wall plates from monoprice, while I wait for the powered catx adapters to arrive.

Eliteconcept
try #1:
- Source-end: PS3 / comcast motorola cable box
- CatX Adapter: Monoprice < $20 wallplates
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6 STP x 2
- Far-end: Samsung UN55B8000
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 1080i/p
- Status: Feed from comcast cable box worked good. Standard def and hi def channels work great with respect to audio and video quality, achieved 1080i from comcast cable box hi def channels. Had maybe 2 dropouts of 1-2 seconds after using for 5 days. DVD over ps3 worked well get video and audio. Blu-ray works well from ps3 passes at 1080p at 24fps, watched for 1 1/2 hours and had only 1 dropout.

thanks for the update Eliteconcept. I have updated the first post with your info as well, though I trimmed your status to read "occasional 1-2 sec dropouts from both cablebox and PS3" to be more concise. If that is an incorrect summary, please let me know. also if you could give a few more details (link to exact monoprice wallplate [or item number], and more details on cat cable termination and stressing), that'd be appreciated also.



As a side now, if anyone wants to spearhead an effort (I don't have time right now) to package up all this data in a better format, that'd be great. I don't know the best way to do it. a spreadsheet might work, but might just make it more messy (and might not lend itself to easy incorporation into the thread).. a graphic? might be too difficult to maintain. With a growing list of user experiences (thank you everyone!!), it would be nice to package it under four categories:
  • RED- very unreliable (no signal, etc)
  • ORANGE - fairly unreliable (many dropouts)
  • YELLOW - fairly reliable (few dropouts)
  • GREEN - highly reliable (no dropouts)
  • ?? - products that look interesting based on knowledge in this thread but have not yet been tested?? (e.g. PI single-CatX extender)

Then again, some products are GREEN for some users and ORANGE for others, so maybe that's not the best way to present the data ....

If anyone has a super-dooper idea how to present data in this way, please let me know..

thanks again everyone,
..dane

 
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post #128 of 404 Old 01-21-2011, 04:33 PM
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For those getting no audio, be sure to check your player and receiver settings. You may have HDMI audio throughput turned off on your pre-amp or receiver.

Some receivers' HDMI audio out settings have this listed as a choice of RECEIVER + TV or just RECEIVER. You'd have to select RECEIVER + TV to allow the audio stream to continue on through the HDMI monitor output.

FYI

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post #129 of 404 Old 01-22-2011, 09:53 PM - Thread Starter
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good reminder-- thanks Dan.

 
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post #130 of 404 Old 01-23-2011, 06:53 PM
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dane,

I used these hdmi wall plates.
cables are terminated per T568B guidelines.
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post #131 of 404 Old 01-25-2011, 07:08 PM
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I got my powered hdmi catX adapter and 4x2 matrix this afternoon and got it all hooked up.

Been watching tv all evening and will do an early report of my results.

Eliteconcept
try #2:
- Source-end: PS3 / comcast motorola cable box
- CatX Adapter: MonoPrice < $40 powered dual CatX adapter
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6 STP x 2
- Far-end: Samsung UN55B8000
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 1080i/p
- Status: very very minor audio/video freezing. Could be cable box to early to say, but will monitor and report back


UPDATE
So far so good. Watched despicable me last night no problems. I'll note that I'm also using an HDMI switch between the cable box/ps3 and CatX adapter.
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post #132 of 404 Old 01-27-2011, 10:16 AM
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What matrix switch are you using? What are you terminating your Cat6 STP cables with?

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post #133 of 404 Old 01-27-2011, 11:35 AM
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I am using this hdmi matrix from monoprice

What am i terminating the cat6 with? Standard rj45 network ends that conform to T568B termination standards.
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post #134 of 404 Old 01-27-2011, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliteconcept View Post

I am using this hdmi matrix from monoprice

What am i terminating the cat6 with? Standard rj45 network ends that conform to T568B termination standards.

The reason I asked was that I've been told you need to use shielded ends for STP Ethernet cable.

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post #135 of 404 Old 01-27-2011, 01:08 PM
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one end is sheilded one is not. I had to cut the ends in order to get them down the conduit at my house and then re-terminate them. Bought the cable with the ends on them.

So one end is sheilded one end is not on each of the cables.
Figure that many people run UTP cat5/6 should be ok if the ends are the only part not shielded but if I run into issues then I'll re do the ends.
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post #136 of 404 Old 01-27-2011, 02:09 PM
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Gotcha!

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post #137 of 404 Old 01-29-2011, 07:06 PM
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So, I have been following this thread for a while because I have been experiencing the same issues. Anytime my dishwasher runs, I turn the overhead fan on or of, or if my heat or air cuts on or off; my direct tv signal would cut out. I thought it might just be direct tv but when I connected the tv with the receiver with an hdmi cable there was not any problems. However, my setup includes the monoprice hdmi extender 6177

So, I have tried other extenders and FINALLY found one that works and doesn't drop my signal. The monoprice hdmi extender 6532


Now, I can watch TV while my dishwasher is running, with the heat cutting on and I can turn on the overhead fan without signal interruption. Hopefully this helps someone else because the dropout problem was starting to make me crazy!
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post #138 of 404 Old 01-29-2011, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliteconcept View Post

UPDATE
So far so good. Watched despicable me last night no problems. I'll note that I'm also using an HDMI switch between the cable box/ps3 and CatX adapter.

So, let me understand this .. you kept the same HDMI-CatX adapter, but just added a monoprice 4x2 switch in between your source devices and the CatX adapter, and the situation has improved that much? Wow-- that's great!

Quote:
Originally Posted by whitejk View Post

So, I have been following this thread for a while because I have been experiencing the same issues. Anytime my dishwasher runs, I turn the overhead fan on or of, or if my heat or air cuts on or off; my direct tv signal would cut out. I thought it might just be direct tv but when I connected the tv with the receiver with an hdmi cable there was not any problems. However, my setup includes the monoprice hdmi extender 6177

So, I have tried other extenders and FINALLY found one that works and doesn't drop my signal. The monoprice hdmi extender 6532


Now, I can watch TV while my dishwasher is running, with the heat cutting on and I can turn on the overhead fan without signal interruption. Hopefully this helps someone else because the dropout problem was starting to make me crazy!

whitejk-- I am so glad that you seem to have your problems resolved as well. To be most useful for everyone else reading this thread in the future, could you please give me as much detail as possible regarding both your previous setup and your current setup? Look near the bottom of the first post for a template of the type of information we're looking for.

thanks!
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post #139 of 404 Old 01-30-2011, 11:46 AM
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Audiodane, here you go...thanks for compiling all this information!

try #1:
- Source-end: PS3 and Direct TV HD DVR Box
- CatX Adapter: Monoprice HDMI Extender in Wallplate form PID 6177 ~ $19
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6a STP x 2 (T568B terminated)
- Far-end: LG 47LH90
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 1080i/p
- Status: occasional 1-2 sec dropouts from both cablebox and PS3 when overhead fan is turned on/off, dishwasher is on and when a/c cuts on/off

try #2:
- Source-end: PS3 and Direct TV HD DVR Box
- CatX Adapter: Monoprice HDMI Extender PID 6532 ~ $35
- CatX Cables: ~50ft Cat6a STP x 2 (T568B terminated)
- Far-end: LG 47LH90
- Resolution(s) tested: 480i/p 1080i/p
- Status: so far so good, no dropouts experienced
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post #140 of 404 Old 01-30-2011, 03:41 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks whitejk .. I have updated the first post with your information.

Soon when I have a good chunk of time to dedicate to it, I will update the first post with an updated compilation of everyone's findings. Interestingly, for some that a single-catx adapter gives trouble, dual-catx adapters seem to help. For others that a dual-catx adapter gives trouble, single-catx adapters seem to help. It's very peculiar indeed!

cheers,
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post #141 of 404 Old 01-31-2011, 10:55 AM
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Dane,

No I changed out the hdmi catX adpater I was using...the passive one...and started using the powered hdmi catX from Monoprice

i just wanted to note that i my situation i am also using a matrix.
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post #142 of 404 Old 01-31-2011, 10:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eliteconcept View Post

Dane,

No I changed out the hdmi catX adpater I was using...the passive one...and started using the powered hdmi catX from Monoprice

i just wanted to note that i my situation i am also using a matrix.

Ahhh.. I gotcha now. I have updated the first post once again .. hopefully your information is correct this time.

thanks,
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post #143 of 404 Old 02-03-2011, 05:20 PM
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Finally got to try this out after moving all my gear today to new location:

Intelix DIGI-HD-UHR2 / DIGI-HD-UHR2-R HDMI over single CatX cable

Source -- Pioneer 92-THX with HD-XA2/BDP-05/TW cable DVR switched thru it
Cable -- 45' CAT6 thru patch panel and wall plate
Destination -- Mitsubishi WD65833
Resolutions tested -- 1080i / 480i (need to try a BR tomorrow for 1080p)
Status -- interesting handshake issues when changing resolutions(channels) from DVR, changing inputs on the receiver to re-handshake solved, will investigate more tomorrow
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post #144 of 404 Old 02-08-2011, 07:24 AM
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I've been doing some research for a digital signage application I'm about to tackle and have been considering using HDMI baluns and UTP. This is my first experience with this type of setup (long-distance runs) as I usually work in short-distance industrial applications. I have a few questions and thought I could add a couple of points that I don't think I've seen discussed here.

First, are these baluns really baluns? The total lack of any useful specifications on these things makes me very uneasy. I find it hard to consider asking a customer to cough up $300+ for a product that might as well be sold as running on magic. So are isolation magnetics used on the outputs of these things, or are they just overpriced differential line drivers? I see no mention of isolation voltage, CMRR, termination impedance, etc. These are all figures that should be required for such an application and it's very hard for me to consider using such a product without a proper, professional datasheet.

Are they really balanced? I get the feeling that most are not. Sure, HDMI uses differential signaling, but balanced and differential are two very different things. I find it hard to believe STP would make much of a difference for the average home installation if they were truly balanced and differential. If these really were baluns, 500 MHz Cat6 UTP should be all you need for HDMI 1.3a - over distances much greater than a measly 100'.

Speaking of which, to those who run the STP, I see some are only grounded at one end. This is correct. You should never, ever have your shielding grounded at both ends - the shield isn't meant to be a current path, and by grounding both ends, you will undoubtedly be conducting current through the shielding. This current will couple on to the signal, largely defeating the purpose of the shielding. So, if you must use STP, only ground on one end and leave the other end floating.

As for the original problem experienced in this thread - have you tried using ground isolators on the transmitting and/or receiving equipment? It sounds like you're experiencing a ground loop problem - your fan/light/motor is using your Cat5e as a return path to the breaker panel, again reinforcing my opinion these are not really baluns. I suggest anyone experiencing this problem try something like the "Ebtech Hum X Voltage Hum Filter" sold on Amazon and see if it helps. No guarantees though as I've never used such a product - I work with all DC equipment and use isolated DC-DC converters for this purpose - but it would be worth a try as isolating supplies makes a HUGE difference.

A UPS doesn't provide any isolation (unless it's unplugged and running on the battery) and I don't know about the 'power conditioner' products out there. Has anyone tried seeing if running one end on an unplugged UPS makes a difference? If the problems go away while running on an isolated battery, you've found your culprit.

As for the 2 cable units - someone previously pointed out that the 4 TMDS signals are spread out across both cables and not kept on a single cable. This is bad design. Very bad design. At these frequencies, matched cable length is critical. A couple inches of difference with throw the signals catastrophically out of phase. It would be interesting to add an additional data point to your survey for those using these products - are you using factory terminated or self terminated cables? I would imagine factory measured and terminated cables will yield the best results since they will have much higher tolerances than are possible by hand.

I would bet that the greatest threat to successfully running HDMI over a long distance is clock skew, and while pairs inside a single cable may have a controlled skew, the skew across multiple cables depends solely on the accuracy of your measuring tape and the consistency of the cable.

Anyway, has anyone taken any of these apart? It would be really swell to see some pictures to get a better idea of how they tick and if they're really balanced. I'm convinced HDMI should work very well over Cat6 and the problems people are experiencing are purely the result of garbage baluns. I'm almost tempted to design and layout my own if I ever have the time.
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post #145 of 404 Old 02-08-2011, 11:53 AM - Thread Starter
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limaxray, welcome to the discussion. Your first post was a doozie of topics, so let me just bullet-reply. I am speaking for myself only.
  • digital signage-- why not run 1080i over component video cables? You can get a bazillion feet using that method and no baluns or extenders are required at all.
  • "are these baluns really baluns?" -- by the proper definition, no. It's somewhat of a misnomer, but the terminology has somewhat stuck.
  • if a customer is going to have trouble coughing up $300 for an extender, then how inexpensive a digital signage project are they using? The "little" digital sign alone that is at the church I go to was many thousands of dollars. a couple hundred for a proper video extender (if not using wireless) seems a minor cost increase
  • If you go searching the various models of extenders available, you will undoubtedly see much better documentation with the much higher priced items. This is par for the course. A manufacturer selling a widget for $30 shipped CAN'T be spending much on it if they wish to make their profit margins (which undoubtedly they are or the items would be discontinued)
  • Are they really balanced? Well not in the traditional sense. Within HDMI cables they are-- each TDMS line has a +, -, and shield line. 2xCATx does not offer that many conductors (HDMI is 19 conductors. 2xCATx is only 16 conductors). Several solutions come to mind: a) make shielding compromises, b) use THREE CATx cables [24 conductors], or c) re-encode the 4 TDMS + control signals onto a faster-but-fewer-conductor cable. (a) are the less expensive dual-CATx "baluns." I haven't seen any (b) solutions. And (c) solutions are the more expensive single-CATx extenders.
  • STP shielding-- yes, ideally you only ground one side. Though depending on the amount and intensity of noise, shielding will only do "so much." True differential receivers provide much better benefit. Both (shielding and differential reception) increase effectiveness still more. You can make a perfect system, but you will price yourself out of the mass-market. Compromises are key in a consumer market; some products seem to work well for one customer where others don't. For another customer the latter choices work and the former options don't. This is what I'm seeing based on the data people are providing in the 1st post of this thread.
  • Termination style and 'stresses' placed on the cable run(s) (such as me PUUUUULLLLLing on them to get the bundle through the conduit) will affect their performance. To what degree has surely been tested elsewhere, but not within this thread.
  • I don't think the single greatest threat to long runs is clock skew. It is an important aspect, to be sure. EMC susceptibility, ground loops, proper impedance termination, signal recovery, ... these are all important aspects as well.
  • Yes I've taken a dual-CATx "balun" apart-- the Arkview balun. I don't believe I took pictures.

I don't want this thread to get bogged down with theories-- theories are great, but are a dime a dozen. If you have any time to spend debugging the various issues at play, we'd love to hear what you discover.

What we need is empirical evidence. For some that means relaying their experiences (good and bad) to this thread so that we can look for large-scale "patterns" that we can use to better guide newcomers. For others empirical evidence means breaking out an oscilloscope and looking at signals as they go through different length of cables and with EMI pulses how the waveforms are affected. For still others empirical evidence may be actually modifying inexpensive "baluns" so that they perform better and giving us the results of their testing/findings.

To whichever degree you can help, it would be appreciated. To my knowledge there are no other message threads "out there" in the interweb doing even as little as we are to try and gather evidence, much less promote solutions. I want to do the latter. But can't do it alone.

cheers,
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post #146 of 404 Old 02-08-2011, 01:29 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limaxray View Post

I'm convinced HDMI should work very well over Cat6 and the problems people are experiencing are purely the result of garbage baluns.

Keep in mind three important things. The first is that the raw bit rate of a HDMI signal can exceed the capacity of gigabit ethernet. The second is that HDMI uses a two level encoding scheme system that sends one bit per symbol while gigabit ethernet uses a five level encoding scheme that sends 3 bits in a single symbol. The third is HDMI uses 3 pairs for data and gigabit ethernet uses four pairs.

I think it is quite a feat to be able to send HDMI reliably as far as we can with an HDMI cable which is designed for the purpose, let alone Cat 5/6 cable which is not designed for the purpose. I posted a link in one of these threads to an application note from National Semiconductor that states that the closest equivalent to HDMI cable would be Cat 7, which has shields around the individual pairs and the whole cable. If a quality HDMI cable does not work, simply replacing it with a Cat 5/6 cable and dealing with the difference in characteristic impedance isn't going to cut it.

Balun never seemed to me to be an appropriate name for HDMI extenders. They don't connect a balanced line to an unbalanced line.

I think you are referring to something I posted when you mentioned two cable devices that split the TMDS lines between cables. I didn't mean to imply that all, or even most, did this, just that I have seen at least one which did. Obviously this could lead to problems with interpair skew. The real killer, though, IMHO is intrapair skew. The limits are specified in picoseconds. Of course that isn't the only factor affecting performance.
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post #147 of 404 Old 02-08-2011, 03:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I think it is quite a feat to be able to send HDMI reliably as far as we can with an HDMI cable which is designed for the purpose, let alone Cat 5/6 cable which is not designed for the purpose.

amen, brother. I'm pretty impressed by it too (when it works). HDMI v1.3 has a total max bitrate (all TDMS channels combined) of somewhere north of 10Gbits/s. Pretty impressive that I can squeeze that into a single Cat5e cable. Granted I'm "only" running it about 50 ft.

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post #148 of 404 Old 02-09-2011, 09:28 AM
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For the signage application, I may very well go component, but this is more of a personal interest matter since this is the type of thing I usually design for a living and for fun. The cost issue is more a matter of needing a dozen or so runs and that $300+ a pop adds up quickly. While this is more of a side job for a local small business owner on a relatively tight budget, I'd have the same concerns with my usual customers whom I bill well into the 6 figures.

As for datasheets, I'm directly referring to Gefen. While their 'datasheets' are better than the cheap units, they are still comically lacking. I understand this is common for consumer grade kit, but I still find it difficult to take these supposed premium products seriously when they don't include the most basic information that any engineer would expect to see. This lack of professionalism makes me think these products are bogus and designed by clowns - not saying that they are, just that it gives me a lack of confidence in their design and testing methodologies.

As I said earlier, HDMI is absolutely NOT balanced. It uses a differential mode signaling technique to simulate balancing, but it is not actually balanced. Differential signaling and balanced transmission lines are two very different things. Ethernet is balanced and differential. Professional audio is balanced and differential. HDMI is only differential and this is why HDMI cables need all the shielding they have and are so distance handicapped compared to Ethernet with a similar bit clock.

Trust me, if you are properly balanced, receiving EMI is not much of a concern since your CMRR is so high (as the balancing approaches perfection, the CMRR approaches infinity) - radiating EMI is the bigger issue when it comes to passing EMC which is not much of a concern here. This is why I use STP professionally - so my cables don't interfere with other devices, not so other devices don't interfere with my cables.

Don't count the number of conductors in an HDMI cable as that's not applicable here. You can very comfortably fit all of the signals on two cables while maximizing performance. You can fit them all on one cable by transmitting the low speed signals in common mode across the pairs but at some expense.

The other issue is matched impedances. I don't see any ratings on the termination impedances leading me to believe this wasn't taken into consideration. At these lengths and frequencies, reflections become a major issue and become another cause of possible degradation.

The maximum bit clock of HDMI 1.4a is 340 MHz. 10GBase-T is rated up to 500MHz at 100m using 16 levels over Cat6a (although most Cat6 cable exceeds the minimum ratings enough to come close to this requirement). As was pointed out, HDMI is only 2 levels, making it much easier to recover than 10GBase-T. You can not directly compare data rates since Ethernet is bidirectional and full duplex while HDMI is not. The capabilities of modern UTP exceed the requirements of HDMI and that is my point. The limiting factor here are the 'baluns' as I doubt they are properly designed for this application. HDMI is not magical, it is a cheap digital interconnect where low cost and small footprint are more important than cable length and EMI tolerance.

I promise you clock skew is the biggest problem you'll have - with a properly designed transmitter and receiver. Everything else can be mitigated away and clock skew is the hard ceiling you'll eventually hit due to the synchronous nature of HDMI. That of course isn't the issue here - except for the dual cable models where we're talking about inches of difference in cable length. This isn't just some theory, this is a fact of life and is a major design consideration when dealing with such signals. Whoever thought it was a good idea to divide the high speed signals across multiple cables doesn't understand digital signal transmission.

I'm also fairly certain your issue is your equipment and Cat5e runs are being used as a return path for your lights, fans, etc. I see it all the time and is probably the most common cause of such interference. The solution is to isolate your devices somewhere in the loop to prevent unwanted currents traveling through them. With Ethernet, the cables are all magnetically isolated to prevent this. Here, I bet they are not. The next best place (though significantly less ideal) to break this loop is at the outlet using a ground isolator.

I see no reason this can't be done on the cheap using commonly available 10GBase-T components - I've even started looking into it and will be looking into finding an excuse to design my own. I do have oscilloscopes, function generators, and spectrum analyzers at my disposal - maybe if I do decided to give these devices a try and have the time, I can test them out and provide my professional opinion. Until then, I can only provide advice to others based on my experiences in related fields.
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post #149 of 404 Old 02-09-2011, 12:13 PM
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Ok. So which is the least expensive single cable kit that is known to work well? I'm only going 50 feet so that shouldn't be a problem. I'd still prefer powered though.
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post #150 of 404 Old 02-09-2011, 01:12 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by limaxray View Post

The maximum bit clock of HDMI 1.4a is 340 MHz.

Yes, but ten bits are transmitted for every clock. The symbol rate is ten times that.

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Until then, I can only provide advice to others based on my experiences in related fields.

Unfortunately, you don't seem to know enough about HDMI yet to apply your experience aptly. I am sure that you could pick it up fast enough if you wanted to, though.

Here is a short explanation of the problems involved in transmitting HDMI over Cat cables.
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