Balun vs HDMI for ~40' Run - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 10 Old 04-16-2019, 07:10 PM - Thread Starter
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Balun vs HDMI for ~40' Run

Howdy,

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!!
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post #2 of 10 Old 04-16-2019, 08:51 PM - Thread Starter
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Trying fiberoptic HDMI first.
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post #3 of 10 Old 04-17-2019, 09:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbert West View Post
Howdy,

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.

I never trust an atom, they make up everything.
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post #4 of 10 Old 04-27-2019, 07:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbert West View Post
Howdy,

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!!
Do a Monoprice Cabernet Ultra Series Active High Speed HDMI Cable - 4K @ 60Hz HDR 18Gbps. My A/V closet was halfway down the hall from my living room, and I never had any issues running 4K from any source over 35'. I'm building a new house, and will be installing more of those cables.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #5 of 10 Old 04-27-2019, 09:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by egnlsn View Post
Do a Monoprice Cabernet Ultra Series Active High Speed HDMI Cable - 4K @ 60Hz HDR 18Gbps. My A/V closet was halfway down the hall from my living room, and I never had any issues running 4K from any source over 35'. I'm building a new house, and will be installing more of those cables.

Those cables are good cables, especially being as they have the Spectra 7 chipsets, but they are copper-based only and will not be able to keep up with ever changing video hardware standards (i.e HDMI 2.1). I would install 1.5" - 2.0" conduit where ever you think you may be running cabling and look to a hybrid fiber cable (like Ruipro) and not just a copper-only cable. I'm always a bit leery of cable claims that say "up to..." because you don't know what that actually means and where the "up to" part falls off. They also play loose with the term "Ultra HD HDMI" because that infers the new designation (actually Ultra High Speed HDMI) for cables that will support the fully compliant HDMI 2.1 hardware specifications (48Gbps).

I never trust an atom, they make up everything.

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post #6 of 10 Old 04-28-2019, 07:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post
Those cables are good cables, especially being as they have the Spectra 7 chipsets, but they are copper-based only and will not be able to keep up with ever changing video hardware standards (i.e HDMI 2.1). I would install 1.5" - 2.0" conduit where ever you think you may be running cabling and look to a hybrid fiber cable (like Ruipro) and not just a copper-only cable. I'm always a bit leery of cable claims that say "up to..." because you don't know what that actually means and where the "up to" part falls off. They also play loose with the term "Ultra HD HDMI" because that infers the new designation (actually Ultra High Speed HDMI) for cables that will support the fully compliant HDMI 2.1 hardware specifications (48Gbps).
There is a 1 1/4" Smurf tube at each location (probably doesn't make the low voltage contractor happy as they don't get to make money off of cabling.), as well as (2) 2" conduits running from basement to attic.

Yeah, you gotta love the "up to..." bit. Up to 10 means 1 just as much as it means 10.

CIAO!

Ed N.
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post #7 of 10 Old 05-12-2019, 08:00 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Herbert West View Post
Howdy,

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!!
Cat6 and balun Done! now and in the future. not sure where your shopping baluns but prices are excessive where you're shopping. fiber is nonsense for your application and I wouldn't waste my effort on a cheap hdmi cable either or even a quality one.
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post #8 of 10 Old 05-13-2019, 03:24 PM
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I'm not sure what extender the above poster has seen which handles 18Gb/s HDMI over extenders, but I also have had issues finding any. But, I would think at some point, at shorter distances (100' or less) that some may pop up in near years.

That said, if you are running cables, then run 2 cat-6 cables and at least 1, if not 2 HDMI cables. The active Monoprice cables are well tested and should work well, but any cables installed should be tested before the installation, and the absolute BEST advice was listed above...

Run conduit.

If at all possible, 1.25" conduit is the proper thing to use as it allows you to add/replace a cable down the line without it being a major headache. While 7/8" or larger is the specification for HDMI and conduit, the reality is that 1.25" is about as narrow as I've found to be convenient, and using larger conduit is nice, if not always feasible.

Likewise, running conduit at all is not always feasible.

I'm not sure what your level of effort is to add a new cable, but you indicated that you did run a 35' cable and it came up short, so maybe you do have conduit or some other cable pathway already in place.

In which case, just run a Monoprice cable after testing it out and then replace it as standards change.

AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology installation in the Washington DC metro area.
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post #9 of 10 Old 05-18-2019, 01:53 AM
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'fiber is nonsense for your application' - if you can find an HDMI over CAT Extender which offers uncompressed 4K UHD with ARC or eARC for anything close to Hybrid Fibre pricing you should open a store

As others have said conduit is 'the future' with a pull cord and or a couple of Solid core, non-CCA, CAT6 cables as backup.

We supply/support RuiPro and our current 4K cable will handle all the bandwidth (uncompressed) and will also deliver ARC and eARC where required.

Joe

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post #10 of 10 Old 05-19-2019, 10:55 PM
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Chromis Fiber Procerus cables are DPL Labs certified.

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