Originally Posted by cavalier240
What kind of network cable did you run for all of your HDMI baluns? I assume Cat6, but UTP, STP, something different? All of the baluns I've been looking at say to use shielded, but I'd like to avoid it if possible, so I'd like to know your experience.
I ran Cat-6e un-shielded solid strand. It was Audioquest brand wire which I was extremely happy with. It is insanely expensive about $500 for a 1000ft roll, but the boxes pulled well and I like that the pairs were separated by a plastic divider. The closest thing I have seen to this type of construction is the higher-end version of pre-terminated GeekSquad brand wires you can buy at bestbuy. I think the cost and divider is overkill in 99.9% of situations. I would suggest reading this article that I have linked to below, I don't think it is something to live by or die by, but it is a great wealth of information.
I have installed more than 50 baluns and in some cases, I have used the best balun on the best cable and had problems, then switched to some cheap brand and had no issues. In other situations, only the most expensive products have worked. Here is my experience:
1. Atlona Baluns, 40 or so installed, 1-2 failures.
2. Binary Baluns, 4 installed, no failures.
3. Monoprice Baluns, 8 installed, no failures.
4. No Name Baluns from frys or where-ever, 13-15 installed, 40% failure.
I recommend using the Cat-5 tips even if you use cat-6 wire, it has increased reliability in almost every install I have encountered.
The reliability also has a lot to do with what is on both ends.
1. Receivers: I have installed hundreds and by far Denon/ Marantz have the least issues with HDMI in general (handshaking and driving long runs). I understand this reliability comes from higher quality LV power supplies which are involved in the +5v on HDMI. Yamaha has been the worst.
2. Cable/Sat: DirecTV works the best without question. DTV boxes have dozens of hdmi keys they can rotate through to get a good handshake. Any cable box made by motorola creates issues 10-20% of the time. AT&T U-Verse, well all I can say there is good luck. The hardware and picture quality of U-verse is the worst I have ever seen. When I used to work in the AV business, I would charge hundreds extra if the customer had U-verse. My recommendation, chuck it out the window. If you are determined to drink the cool-aide then just use component.Edited by BrittonYoder - 8/21/12 at 10:26pm