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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Welcome to the HDMI Extension Discussion Thread!

This thread exists to serve several devious purposes:
  1. document which combinations of equipment work great/okay/poorly
  2. civilly discuss the nature and technology of HDMI extenders

 

Public Service Reminders

In my personal experience with all that this thread has had to offer, the most important lessons learned are as follows:
  • Most all extenders will work at 1080i60 and many also at 1080p24 without issue. If anyone is planning on running only 1080p24, 1080i, 720i/p, or less, then they shouldn't stress and instead just go try any of the LESS expensive extenders first.
  • 1080p60 is a much different beast with double (or more) the data rate for full 1080p60 than other formats (1080i, 1080p24, 720p, etc). Doubling the data rate for full 1080p60 is a pretty daunting task and is where most extenders differentiate themselves or flat out fall apart.
  • All the wireless extenders that I have researched (as of mid 2011) add compression. Whether or not the compression will bother the viewer, of course, can only be decided by the viewer. My recommendation is to always buy-and-try (whether wired or wireless), but make sure you have a good return policy, covering even if you simply and SUBJECTIVELY do not like it. Many retailers will only exchange and only in the case of a faulty unit. Others charge obscene "restocking" fees. Still others make you pay for shipping both ways and only refund the pre-shipping purchase price. Don't expect a full refund plus shipping charges both ways- few offer such generous policies. But be aware of what you WILL be charged should you not like your choice or it not work out as you hoped.

Keep in mind also that these are all generalities and the internet phrase "YMMV" (your mileage may vary) applies greatly to this entire thread!

 

"Try This First" Tips and Tricks

There are a few things to try first; include results of these tests in your posts to let people know what you've already tried (and how each went). If some tricks kind-of work, let folks know that. All of this information will be useful to those trying to help you solve your HDMI extension problems. Good Luck!

 
  • Try turning off your "bandwidth increasers--" deep color, 3D, etc.  If the link is unstable because you're pushing too much water through the proverbial pipe, then reducing the flow can help.

 
  • Try to go down a resolution notch or two..  try 1080i, try 720p, even try 480p. There is always a chance that the adapter is DOA (dead on arrival). Rare, but it happens.  Likewise, there is a chance that the adapter simply doesn't work with your source hardware.  Some boxes require HDCP that the source (like a PC) might not provide. Other adapters don't support HDCP that the far-end display requires.

 
  • Try a short pre-made patch cable.  DIY terminations can and have been causes of some people's problems in the past.  If you have a 6' premade Cat5e or Cat6 patch cable, try it first.  Caveat to that statement is that some extenders are expecting to run over a longer distance and sometimes "overdrive" the cable on the signal, meaning that if you use a short patch cable, it may overdrive the receiver and not work, where a longer cable would. (After all, if you have a short run between adapters, why use the adapters in the first place?) Along those lines, if you have access to long pre-made patch cables (50' or more), try it too.  Even if you only need 15', if a 50' cable works, find a place to coil up the remaining 35' and just leave it!

 
  • Try other sources. You're PS3 is having problems? What about a Bluray player? DVR? DVD player with HDMI out? AVR?

 

Which is better- HDMI or Component Video?

Let's be clear here with a few things:
  • As far as physics go, triple run RG6 for Component Video (5x run if you also want L/R stereo sound with each wire on its own RCA connector) *beats the pants off HDMI*
  • RG6 / RG6QS can carry a much higher bandwidth signal, much farther, with much less loss (or skew). It's not RG6 that's the problem, it's the industry and the content producers. In short, it's content protection that is the problem.
  • Content producers lobbied hard (and quite successfully) for TV equipment makers to restrict component video inputs and outputs to 1080i60, and in many cases, even less than 1080i. So even if you WANT to run component video- often you can't. At least, not a full 1080p signal.
  • HDMI does work well- when it works. But it was never designed to span long distances, or chain through a dozen different devices. It supports 1080p60 and higher, with embedded audio, CEC, audio-return, Ethernet, and said content protection, all in ONE multi-conductor cable. For what it is, it's a remarkable creation! But for what it is, it's also wrought with problems from implementation differences (interoperability problems between devices from different manufacturers) to signal glitches over longer runs, to strange, unexpected random problems when a cable starts going bad. It's technology at it's peak- remarkable when working properly; a nightmare when it's not.

So that leaves the unassuming user at a crossroads. 1080i over component video is rock solid all the time and even at absurdly long lengths-- but it's only 1080i. HDMI cables are markedly more feature-rich and much more convenient, with limitations in connector rigidity (bend/tug/weight stress on HDMI connectors generally decreases reliability life) and overall length.


HDMI extenders are trying to bridge the gap. From all we've seen in this unscientific thread, solution "A" will work absolute wonders for some users and be abysmal for other users. solution "B" will be the opposite. It does not look yet like any one single solution is a true "problem solver for everyone."


New HDbaseT solutions are beginning to hit the market. It will be interesting to see how they fare.

 

Please read this paragraph before posting

The bottom of this first post documents the combinations reporting to this thread as of the last-edited-date. Whether you are just beginning to search for an HDMI extender, or if you're ready to throw your Wii remote at your Plasma because nothing is working, check out the list below to see if there is a combination already tried that may be similar to your setup.No matter what you do -- please contribute to this thread! What worked well, what worked poorly, and everything else in between. If you don't know whether or not your cable is Cat5, 5e, 6, 6, shielded, termination style, etc-- don't worry. Give us the information you have and we'll go from there.


For the list, scroll down to "Products that are being used in this thread and their success"


Good luck!

..dane

 

Original Thread Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodane on 25 Aug 2010 /forum/post/0


I'm ASSUMING that this is related to power glitches, but I wanted to see if anyone had any experience with this and could give me some other things to look into...


When the air conditioner kicks on OR off, video on my panasonic tc-p50g10 blanks out for a moment, then recovers. When A/C kicks on, the blank lasts a little longer and has to renegotiate HDMI.. When the A/C shuts off, the video blinks but doesn't have the delays associated with renegotiation.


I am assuming that this is causing powerline glitches, and that it's not some sort of EMI issue. I was EXTREMELY careful when building this new family room though-- it has its own dedicated 30A circuit with nothing else on it besides my A/V equipment (no lights, dimmers, fans, etc)... I also took care to run the power and A/V cables away from each other, and also isolated from OTHER circuits around the house. This circuit goes up and across the ceiling rather than "around the room" through the studs like all the other outlets.


I don't seem to recall it happening before I got my DVDO Edge video processor, but then again I wasn't running HDMI exclusively before the Edge. HDMI was only for bluray before the Edge was put in place.. I have since added a high def Tivo that has HDMI out, so that is another option to try (in case the Edge might be more/overly sensitive to power glitches than everything else in the system). To be clear though, it was already happening before the new Tivo came along, so I know it's not the Tivo.


I am borrowing two UPS's from the office tonight and am going to plug in all A/V equipment to them (TV in one, A/V rack in the other) and see if it still happens. But aside from that-- are there any other things I should look for? Are there any small yet useful tools that can be had inexpensively to measure such "glitches" on the A/V power circuit?


thanks!!

..dane
 

First Thread Update
Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodane on 17 Nov 2010 /forum/post/0

( extracted from thread reply #84 )


Well I'm pleased to say that I have been testing out a single-CatX extender (as opposed on the dual-CatX extender that a I have been using) for the past week or so and my problems seem to have vanished. Still using the same Cat5e self-terminated cable (just one instead of two). I don't want to be too premature, but so far I have yet to see any glitching occur--- even when I flip the ceiling fan switch like a mad-man (fast, repeatedly, one-shot, super-slow to hear the arc'ing inside the switch, etc).


I don't know how these single-CatX adapters work (yet, tee hee hee), but if this unit is any indication of the single- vs dual-catX technology, then I'd recommend folks start looking into the single-CatX solutions. Until I saw beemer533's post above about a single-CatX extender for $95, I wasn't sure of any single-CatX extenders out there that hit the same price-point as the (lower-cost) dual-CatX extenders. I would very much be interested in trying out the $95 PI single-CatX extender but at this point I have a solution and I'd just as soon leave it well-enough-alone!



I am now using one of these:
XTENDEX® ST-C5HDMI-150


It is truly "plug and play." --- But to be fair, the Arkview extender was truly "plug and play" as well, but just had this debilitating vulnerability to AC motor on/off cycling --- This unit however (so far!) does not seem to have the same vulnerability, and I also like that I can plug in the AC wall adapter for the pair at the source end rather than forced to plug in power at the destination end (the Arkview extender). All that's now plugged into the power strip at the far end now is the TV, and I'd rather keep it that way...


Good luck to EVERYONE else experiencing this problem. With as many views as this thread has received to-date, it is clear there is a problem out there that is not yet well enough understood to fix it once-and-for-all.


cheers,

..dane
 

Latest Thread Update

Products that are being used in this thread and their success


last updated 10 May 2013
 

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Can you try a component cable from your source bypassing everything else directly to the display and see if you still loss the picture.... If no, then use HDMI from a source direct to the display and see what happens.. then add your components back in one at a time. Standard trouble shooting, process of elimination.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

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You should be able to find an Electrical Contractor locally who can bring out a meter that measures power quality over time and generates a report.


I'd start with making certain all terminations in the load center, A/C disconnect, and equipment branch circuit are installed securely, and that the branch circuit supplying the A/C is sized per NFPA70 310.16 at 75 degrees.


If the above checks out, I think you may have a processor that is very sensitive to voltage fluctuation. If that is the case, installing a drive or slow start on the A/C and/or using a voltage regulator for the equipment rack may be your solution.


Good luck and let us know how it pans out.



Rob
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It looks at first glance to be mainly DVDO Edge related. If I take the DVDO out of the chain the problem seems to all but go away. Unfortunately the newer DVDO Edge (as compared to their older VP series) uses an internal power supply, so I'm not sure what I can do to improve it short of opening up the box and adding caps to the DC voltage rails..



any ideas?

..dane
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodane /forum/post/19157927


I am borrowing two UPS's from the office tonight and am going to plug in all A/V equipment to them...


Unfortunately the newer DVDO Edge (as compared to their older VP series) uses an internal power supply, so I'm not sure what I can do to improve it short of opening up the box and adding caps to the DC voltage rails..



any ideas?

..dane

The UPS solution seems much simpler than adding smoothing caps to existing power supplies and cheaper than fixing house electrics. It wouldn't need a lot of capacity so it wouldn't cost much, and has other advantages as well.


Is there a reason you don't want one?
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enitime /forum/post/19160658


The UPS solution seems much simpler than adding smoothing caps to existing power supplies and cheaper than fixing house electrics. It wouldn't need a lot of capacity so it wouldn't cost much, and has other advantages as well.


Is there a reason you don't want one?

Pretty simple really, it didn't fix the problem. I have nothing against a UPS, and it'd be nice to have one on the Tivo anyway. But I'm mainly trying to figure out when the HDMI feed is blanking out when the A/C cuts on or off, or when I turn the ceiling fan in the room on/off.


That's my primary concern, and the UPS didn't help. Taking the Edge out all but fixed it. The blanking is but a mere 1/4 of a second or so without the Edge (Tivo S3 -> TV [hdmi]). Add the Edge back in and we're back to 1-3 seconds blankout.



..dane
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodane /forum/post/19160754


Pretty simple really, it didn't fix the problem. I have nothing against a UPS, and it'd be nice to have one on the Tivo anyway. But I'm mainly trying to figure out when the HDMI feed is blanking out when the A/C cuts on or off, or when I turn the ceiling fan in the room on/off.


That's my primary concern, and the UPS didn't help. Taking the Edge out all but fixed it. The blanking is but a mere 1/4 of a second or so without the Edge (Tivo S3 -> TV [hdmi]). Add the Edge back in and we're back to 1-3 seconds blankout.



..dane

You might want to check on the forum for your display and see if anyone else is reporting a problem. If not, it sounds like you have a power and/or a wiring issue in your house. Some type of power surge, arcing or ground current fault is causing a disruption in the HDMI lock and adding the Edge into the string is just increasing the total time it requires to relock the ENTIRE system back up since each device must lock before the next one in the string can. At this point you are troubleshooting the symptom and not the cause.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
I have posted in the display thread as well. I agree I believe it's some sort of wiring issue... the question though is how to diagnose it, and then how to resolve it!



..dane
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by audiodane /forum/post/19160754


Taking the Edge out all but fixed it. The blanking is but a mere 1/4 of a second or so without the Edge (Tivo S3 -> TV [hdmi]). Add the Edge back in and we're back to 1-3 seconds blankout.
Quote:
Originally Posted by frank1940 /forum/post/19161086


Some type of power surge, arcing or ground current fault is causing a disruption in the HDMI lock and adding the Edge into the string is just increasing the total time it requires to relock the ENTIRE system back up since each device must lock before the next one in the string can. At this point you are troubleshooting the symptom and not the cause.

Right, so the Edge should not be the problem, it merely amplifies the issue.


A UPS should take care of power fluctuations like those caused by turning on the AC, which makes things a bit interesting.


Does it happen only with the Tivo or with a DVD player as well?


I would try it with the UPS again, but disconnecting any RF leads from the wall. Perhaps there's a signal booster somewhere on that line, you could be getting a fluctuation from that coax instead of the power leads.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Enitime /forum/post/19169774


Right, so the Edge should not be the problem, it merely amplifies the issue.


A UPS should take care of power fluctuations like those caused by turning on the AC, which makes things a bit interesting.


Does it happen only with the Tivo or with a DVD player as well?


I would try it with the UPS again, but disconnecting any RF leads from the wall. Perhaps there's a signal booster somewhere on that line, you could be getting a fluctuation from that coax instead of the power leads.

I am pretty sure it happens regardless, but I will need to run some of those tests to be sure, thanks for the reminder. I do NOT believe I ever saw the problem with non-hdmi inputs, but need to re-check that. I can probably decently easily pull the Oppo BDP80 out and set it by the TV using a much shorter HDMI cable. If it still exhibits the problem then the Arkview is certainly not the culprit. Not sure which I'd rather hope for...



No RF going to the TV. Just hdmi. RF of course goes into the Tivo and cable-modem, but that's it. I also have surge-stoppers and DC-blocks on the RG6 CATV cable coming into the house.


..dane
 

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How familiar are you with messing around with wiring in your panel? You might see where the breakers are for the AC relative to where they are for your HT equipment. If the AC breaker is further away from the main breaker than is the breaker for the HT, you could reverse the positions if possible to see what would happen. Supposedly, placing the high current (AC, dryer, heater, etc.) breakers closer to the main breaker reduces the chance that "downstream" breakers will see a temporary drop in voltage. Or at least this is what my electrician told me. As an EE, I find this hard to believe, but I've also not tested it.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by ctviggen /forum/post/19171358


How familiar are you with messing around with wiring in your panel? You might see where the breakers are for the AC relative to where they are for your HT equipment. If the AC breaker is further away from the main breaker than is the breaker for the HT, you could reverse the positions if possible to see what would happen. Supposedly, placing the high current (AC, dryer, heater, etc.) breakers closer to the main breaker reduces the chance that "downstream" breakers will see a temporary drop in voltage. Or at least this is what my electrician told me. As an EE, I find this hard to believe, but I've also not tested it.

Given that the inrush current is so great I too would question how much benefit is gained by doing so, but regardless, my air conditioner units are the first breakers in the panel.
I'm going to try and put my Fluke in MAX/MIN mode on one of the outlets tonight and give her a whirl...


..dane
 

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The voltage drop in the AV circuit is due to the IR loss in the line from the transformer to the house. The distance between breakers in the panel is insignificant. The only exception would be if both the AV circuit and the air conditioner are on a subpanel, and the same subpanel. Then moving one to the main panel or a different subpanel might help.


You might want to make sure all the screws in the panel are torqued to the appropriate value. Also check all the connections between the panel and the air conditioner.


When the compressor starts, you get a voltage drop and potentially a lot of noise on the line. When it stops, you get a transient (surge) when all the energy in the coil feeds back into the line. You might want to consider a hard-start kit for the compressor if you don't have one now. You might also want to consider a surge suppressor at the compressor.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Update..


First, I pulled the OPPO BDP-80 out of the loop and placed it right up at the TV with a short HDMI cable, and kicked the ceiling fan on and off several times (waiting for it to completely stop), and the glitch did not happen at ALL.


Next, I put the OPPO back in the rack but bypassed the DVDO Edge and ran the OPPO's HDMI straight into the baluns. I also set the OPPO to forced 1080p for the highest bandwidth to the TV (most sensitive signal I would imagine), and re-tested with the ceiling fan... again, NO PROBLEMS.


However running through the Edge, or running the Tivo standalone to the baluns, the problem still occurs.


This is lending me to believe that the OPPO HDMI output must be "stronger" (higher current output? better signal levels?) than the EDGE and TIVO standalone.


I'm curious now about a powered HDMI "booster" perhaps? I wonder if that would solve my problems if I could send a "stronger" HDMI signal through the baluns?


cheers,

..dane
 

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Well, now you have added some information we didn't have before. You are using baluns and the ceiling fan causes problems, too. A ceiling fan can cause similar problems to the AC compressor, but on a smaller scale. UTP fed by baluns seems to often have problems in electrically noisy environments. How long is the run?


Results can very well differ depending on the capabilities of the electronics on both ends of the cable.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Sorry, I posted in the thread for the TV that I'm using as well, and I must have left that information out from this thread. My apologies. Anyway, the baluns do not have trouble when the OPPO BDP80 is running through them straight to the TV. But both the TIVO and DVDO EDGE video processor have the problems, it seems. That's why I'm starting to think it has very little to do with the electrical wiring and more to do with inadequate signal levels. Otherwise I would expect the OPPO running straight to the baluns would still exhibit the problem. And putting ANY of the devices (baluns, TV, source devices, etc) on a UPS did not solve the problems, so I'm not sure that ground loop is the cause either.


I'm going to start looking around at some "signal boosters" and see if they can be found relatively inexpensively and insert one right before the source-side balun.


..dane
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
As an EE, I would expect different chipsets and even different implementations of chipsets can cause very different "power" output levels, as well as different signal-to-noise ratios. The fact that the BDP doesn't exhibit the problem, the TIVO does ever so slightly, and the EDGE does tremendously, with everything else the same (same baluns, same time of day, same wiring, etc), leads me to believe that signal levels (either raw "voltage" output, current source capabilities, or output SNR) are the culprit.


However, not being an expert on HDMI itself, this is merely my hypothesis.



After some searching, I went ahead and submitted an order tonight to monoprice for one of these:

HDMI Active Equalizer Extender Repeater


Reading reviews on this product reinforce that this might be just what I need. I'm going to put it as the very last device in the chain just before the baluns, and see what happens. It'll probably be a week before it arrives, but I will be sure to write back after I get it installed and tested.


cheers,

..dane
 

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So, you are hoping that the output of the equalizer/repeater is better than the output of the devices you have trouble with, and sufficient to give you some headroom when whatever is interfering with the signal occurs. The equalizer function isn't going to buy you much if anything close to the source. Sounds like a crap shoot. Let us know what happens.


FWIW have you considered using a good HDMI cable, with or without equalizer/repeater, instead of UTP and baluns? It takes Cat 7, properly grounded, to equal the performance of a good HDMI cable.
 
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