Ever since HDMI inputs and outputs started to show up on consumer audio and video devices, we have been asked question after question about HDMI. Is it really better than analog video? Do I need it, and when and why? What sorts of distance limits apply to HDMI cable runs, and what kind of cable do I need?
A simple "FAQ" doesn't really suffice to answer these questions, because some of the answers turn out to be surprisingly complex. Meanwhile, we have our own Belden-built HDMI products, which have some unique attributes that are themselves somewhat complex to really describe and explain. Rather than try to load all of this up onto one impossibly-long web page, we have condensed these issues into a number of different subject areas, and tried to treat each of them in a way which will do the complexity of the subject justice, while avoiding confusion and EE jargon wherever possible. In preparing these articles, we've tried hard to neither oversimplify nor to overcomplicate the subjects, and to keep our language as straight-forward, plain and Anglo-Saxon as can be; we hope that you find them enjoyable and understandable.
There is one question we receive more than any other, though, which we feel we should probably answer right here. We're often asked whether, if one is just running a short (say, 6 foot) length of HDMI cable from one device to another, without switches, couplers, relays and whatnot, there will be any quality upgrade in sound or picture from buying a higher-quality HDMI cable, or whether one should just go with something reasonably-made and economical. The answer is that, at short lengths, in the vast majority of circumstances, all non-defective HDMI cables will perform equally well (and no, it doesn't matter what spec version it is); the signal is digital and the devices don't know whether they're hooked up with a four-dollar cable or something better or pricier. We spend a lot of time in these articles addressing the problems with HDMI, and in particular the problem of getting consistent performance at high resolutions over long distances, because many of our customers have installations that present that type of challenge. In those applications, cable quality can be a critical part of making your system perform well, and it's for that reason that we are proud to offer our Belden Bonded-Pair HDMI cables which represent the very best in HDMI cable quality. But in the digital world, sometimes the best value for your money is the very best product on the market, and sometimes it's the lowest-priced product on the market. For those latter cases, we offer some of the best HDMI cable pricing you will see anywhere, on our Tartan Cable line of HDMI products.
|"Premium HDMI Cable" -- What is it, and Why?||An explanation of HDMI Licensing's newest cable certification tier.|
|HDMI 2.1 and the HDMI Cable: an Early Look||The HDMI 2.1 spec was released November 28, 2017 -- what does it mean for cabling? Our first notes on this subject.|
|HDMI Cables -- An Overview||Answers a variety of common questions about HDMI cables, and addresses various misconceptions surrounding HDMI.|
|HDMI 2.0 Compliance and Cables||Is this cable 2.0 compliant? The answer is surprisingly simple.|
|Is This Cable HDMI 1.4-compliant?||Explains why it's incorrect to refer to an HDMI cable as a "1.4 cable" and how the 1.4 and other HDMI spec versions actually relate to cable capabilities.|
|What do these HDMI Spec Versions (1.3, etc.) Mean?||Tries to clear the confusion over the various versions of the HDMI spec, as related to cable construction and electrical properties.|
|Where Does HDMI Cable Come From?||If it's not ours, it comes entirely from China; this article explains and details the point, and provides resources to see for yourself where an HDMI cable is made.|
|How Long Can HDMI Run?||Addresses limitations on distance with HDMI connections.|
|What's the Matter with HDMI?||Explains how the HDMI standard was badly designed, the problems that result, and what one can do to avoid difficulties.|
|What's a "Certified" HDMI Cable?||Addresses the myth of "1080p Certification" and the question of just what sort of testing HDMI cables are actually subjected to.|
|HDMI versus Component--Which is Better?||Explains the difference between HDMI and component video cable connections, and generally why they may behave differently from one another.|
|Component to HDMI Cables||If you think "there aren't any," you're right. Here's why.|
The articles above are all specifically related to HDMI cables; but there are a lot of general electrical principles which are as applicable to HDMI as to other types of cabling, and we have treated those in our Articles area. These include such things as the significance of wire gage, the use of exotic materials in cable construction, the characteristics of different shielding types, the whole question of characteristic impedance, and so on. We have tried to address each of these subjects in a way that's helpful in understanding cable behavior and in choosing cable for an application, again with no more complicated language than is really necessary to get the point across.
And, of course, if the above resources don't answer your questions, let us know. We'll be glad to help.