HDMI cables have paved the way for home theaters to be built by regular people like us.
Aside from making this setup a lot more affordable, HDMI cables have made connecting a wide range of devices easier. You can’t do that with other cables.
However, we can’t help but notice how it comes up short when you try to connect devices that are 50 feet apart.
So we thought about introducing the HDMI booster, the device that helps extend an HDMI cable’s capacity to transmit signals to long distances.
What is an HDMI Booster?
An HDMI booster, more commonly known as an amplifier or extender, is a device that extends an HDMI cable’s signal so that it continues to give the best audio and video for your TV.
For example, you have a setup where your source is in your bedroom on the first floor and you want to display the same audio and video to your home theater in the basement.
If the distance between these rooms is less than 50 feet, then theoretically, your displays will work seamlessly. You don’t need any booster for this one.
However, if the distance is more than 50 feet, then you might experience delays in audio or video, choppy videos, or displays that don’t show at all.
And if you are displaying at a 4K TV, chances of having high-quality audio and video go out the window. So an HDMI booster is necessary.
The job of an HDMI booster is to extend your HDMI cable’s capacity to send signals to 50 feet and more.
How Far Can You Run an HDMI Cable Without a Booster?
Theoretically, an HDMI cable can run (and work well) within a distance of 50 feet.
But if you’re looking for the best video and audio quality, you don’t want to risk connecting an HDMI cable this long. Instead, we recommend you do one of two things: shorten the distance between your devices or use an HDMI booster.
Shortening the distance between your devices isn’t just for improved signal quality. It’s also to reduce the wires that you need to attach to walls or ceilings.
Moreover, even if your HDMI cable can reliably send signals within 50 feet, it’s not going to be as reliable if you’re sending signals to a 4K TV.
4K TVs usually need the source of your audio and video to be a lot less than 50 feet. We don’t know the exact length as of today, but it would be best to stick to 25-ft distances.
So if you want to project on a 4K TV, we highly recommend just bringing the audio and video source nearer to the former.
But, say you can’t do anything about your home theater set up. This is where an HDMI booster is handy.
An HDMI booster can help give an additional 25 feet of distance between your source and your 4K TV. That’s a total of 50 feet!
How to Use an HDMI Booster?
Depending on the HDMI booster that you have, the setup varies slightly. Some will need a power source, while some won’t.
For example, the JerGo HDMI Booster doesn’t need a power source. All you have to do is connect the HDMI cable from your power source to the input port on the device.
Get another HDMI cable to connect the HDMI booster’s output port to your TV’s input port. Since it doesn’t need any power source, you can place it anywhere – on the floor or the ceiling.
On the other hand, an HDMI booster like StarTech.com HDMI Signal Booster needs a power source.
So on top of the 2 HDMI cables that you need to attach on both sides of the device, you have to connect a power cable to the 3rd side.
For this device, a USB cable is enough. So if between the source and the TV you have a laptop or an extension cord for USB, then you can plug it right there.
Take note that there are signal boosters that need a higher voltage requirement like the Flashmen HDMI Booster . But the good thing about these boosters is that they already come with a power adapter.
In general, an HDMI booster without the need for a power source might be more convenient since you don’t need to look for a power source. You just plug the HDMI cables on both ends and you’re done!
When Should I Use an HDMI Booster?
Just because there’s an HDMI booster available doesn’t mean that you can put your home theater as far from your power source as possible.
We would advise against this, as the best setup and performance would be where your source and your TV are close to each other – not more than 10 feet apart.
This is because the closer proximity lessens wire clutter and the need for an HDMI booster.
Even if you’re watching at 4K, you don’t have to worry about delays in audio and video.
But if your setup can’t be changed, and the source and the TV happen to be at least 50 feet apart, then you’ll need an HDMI booster.
Even if you’re watching a non-4K TV, the 50-feet distance can already affect the quality of your audio and video.
To avoid any issues with your games and shows, we highly recommend using an HDMI booster.
As for choosing the right HDMI booster, the choice of it having a power source or none is up to you.
If you don’t have any power source in the path you plan to put the booster on, it’s best to go for an HDMI booster with no power source requirement.
To sum up, we find that HDMI cables don’t need a booster unless the distance between your TV and source is at least 50-feet apart.
However, a 50-feet HDMI cable won’t give maximum performance because it becomes harder to send all audio and video.
Although we still recommend using shorter cables if it can be helped, there are instances when your setup can’t be changed.
If your setup is this far from each other, this is where you need to use an HDMI booster.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.