Originally Posted by Herbert West
Just moved into a new place, which has a basement setup with architectural speakers I'd like to use. The configuration has my 65" LG C9 OLED wall mounted, with the built in shelving for my AVR and all other devices on the opposite side of the room. The previous owner was using a basic high speed HDMI cable of about 50' fished through the ceiling for his AVR. I attempted to use the existing run with my AVR, Xbox One X, and Apple TV 4K, to no avail. Static and picture drop off were pretty much all I got, although DTS and Dolby via ARC to my AVR had no issues when running Netflix from the TV app.
I was able to run a 35' Cat6 cable - that ran a tad short - but am wondering if I should be using a Balun unit, or just running a newer 40' HDMI 2.1 cable that can support 18Gbps and ARC. I don't use my OLED's baked-in apps often, but I do have antenna TV and the option to use ARC would be ideal but not mandatory. I've been looking at the Altona HDR-EX-70-2PS kit, but I see Monoprice and a few other brands name checked here often. No balun manufacturer seems to have a unit under $1500 with a chipset that supports 18Gps, 4:4:4, HDR, and Dolby Vision at 60Hz. And if I want IR support or ARC, that's even more. It seems an HDMI would be fine for that, but I worry about the signal degradation, especially for UHD/HDR content, and especially lag for gaming.
Any recommendations as to what would be the ideal setup outside of me moving all my equipment in front of the television? I've attached a panoramic photo to illustrate the layout. TV is mounted to the left and the built ins are all the way to the right. Please don't hesitate to ask for clarifications.
Thanks in advance!!
There is no such thing as an "HDMI 2.1" cable. Current HDMI hardware
specification are HDMI 2.0b, which covers 18Gbps bandwidth. Any passive, copper-based cable labeled as Premium High Speed HDMI cable, and comes with a QR label for authenticity, has been tested and certified by an Authorized Testing Center (ATC) to meet all current HDMI hardware specifications. ATC's use the standardized testing protocols designed and implemented by HDMI.org. HDMI cable certification is only allowed on passive cables and only up to 25'. Once HDMI 2.1 devices are out in the wild and in consumers hands, cables that are supposed to meet the HDMI 2.1 hardware specs should be labeled as Ultra High Speed HDMI cables. HDMI.org asked cable mfrs years ago to not label their cables with the hardware specs and just use Standard Speed HDMI cables or High Speed HDMI cables. ATC's have just started to accept the connectors for HDMI 2.1 testing but the physical cable is still under development. The initial cable length for the "special 48Gbps HDMI cable" required for fully compliant HDMI 2.1 was 1m - 3m (3' - 9'). Hopefully that will change.
4k HDR at 50' is difficult for any cable, and ARC can be an issue as well. 4k HDR is also very finicky with its cable connections so anytime you introduce a "break" in the cable connection (extenders, switches, adapters, etc) you run the risk of affecting the signal integrity. The best connection is a single cable, source to sink.
The ONLY way to future proof your cabling for long runs is to install your cabling in a 1.5" - 2.0" conduit with a pull-string. That makes changing/upgrading/repairing cables so much easier and safer. Running solid core
CAT-6 (non-CCA and not CAT-6 ethernet cable) and then terminating with something like HDBT might be a possibility but finding HDBT tx/rx units with the latest Spectra 7 chipsets is difficult at present and you woulf still get compression with HDBT.
Your best bet is to run a hybrid fiber cable (from Ruipro), source to sink, in a conduit so that you don't stress the connector ends when pulling the cable thru. They are active cables and they are expensive, but worth it.
If you don't need ARC (I don't need/use it) then you can run an optical cable from your tv to your receiver for OTA television audio (which is 5.1 only) and the internal apps on the tv if you choose to use them. All of your other devices (bd player, external STB for streaming, etc) can go thru your receiver first for superb audio and only send the video to the tv.
Be careful of cable mfr claims. There are lots of smoke and mirrors with cable advertising and slick marketing. Bottom line, the only cables that can be currently tested and certified by an ATC are passive, copper based cables, and only up to 25'. Active cables can not be certified at any length at this point in time. Ruipro has their cables tested by an ATC but being as they are active, they can't get the certification "proof" which is the QR label.
No cable mfr can guarantee that their cable will work 100% of the time given the wide variability is consumer devices, HDMI hardware present, installation, etc.