We all commonly use HDMI cables in our daily life. But at times, we need to extend or prolong these HDMI cables.
For this reason, you may have come across HDMI couplers or HDMI barriers, which are often touted as the one mainstream way to prolong your HDMI cables.
But this brings us to a pertinent question: do HDMI couplers reduce the signal quality? If yes, why is that so?
This guide will help you through everything you need to know about HDMI couplers and their shortcomings when it comes to the transfer of signals.
What are HDMI Couplers?
Let’s talk about the basics first. There are many technologies that serve to make our life simpler, and one such invention is the HDMI coupler.
An HDMI coupler is a small part that is able to connect two HDMI signals by linking the pins between 2 female jacks. This assists the connection between the male plugs of the two HDMI cables.
With this, you can create a longer cable. Most HDMI cables we use are male to male, so adding female jacks has its set of advantages. The HDMI coupler essentially serves to bridge the gap between two HDMI cables.
In a perfect world, the connection would be as smooth as that of a single, continuous cable. However, that is not always the case, and many people argue why an HDMI coupler may not be the best possible solution.
Let’s find out just how true this holds.
Do HDMI Couplers Degrade the Signal Quality?
When you use an HDMI coupler, it’s likely it would interfere with the signal quality, and you may be wondering why that is.
We operate in a world with radio and mechanical interference. To prevent this, HDMI cables are coated with woven alloys and rubber.
Why Do HDMI Couplers Reduce Signal Quality?
HDMI couplers do not have the same protection as cables, which renders the HDMI signal prone to interference. This ultimately depletes signal quality.
Many HDMI couplers are like plastic, which is not the best material to transmit signals. This lack of shielding makes the cable susceptible to network intrusion. Analog signals might blend with the interfering radio signals, but digital signals like HDMI fail to do so. Hence, HDMI couplers do degrade signal quality.
The poor signal quality can also be because you’re basically using a long cable with a detachable part in the middle.
This becomes even more dangerous when the cable is lying on the floor where people can trip over it. This may damage the coupler or loosen it, sending the 19 pins on the HDMI cable in disarray, diminishing the performance and signal quality.
How to Ensure Better Signal Quality With HDMI Couplers?
Now that you know the problems with HDMI couplers and why they degrade signal quality, you can take steps to mitigate this issue. You can invest in HDMI couplers made of durable materials, so they promote better signals and are also more long-lasting.
The UGREEN HDMI Coupler is gold-plated , so it is more resistant to corrosion and can transmit signals better.
The iVANKY HDMI Coupler has a fully shielded structure, making it less prone to Electromagnetic (EMI) interference. It also has an aluminum shell and gold-plated connectors for enhanced signal transmission.
The J&D HDMI Coupler has a PVC body and gold-plated contacts that help promote improved signal transfer.
You should also avoid keeping your HDMI couplers and cables on the floor, where they are at risk of getting tripped over. When the HDMI coupler is damaged, its performance will plummet, reducing the audio and video signal quality.
Do HDMI Couplers Support 4K?
Yes, there are HDMI couplers that support 4K.
The 4K HDMI coupler is able to support ultra HD resolutions of up to 3840 x 2160 at 60 Hz. These HDMI couplers also support HDR video, which provides enhanced video quality.
Best-Selling HDMI Couplers That Support 4K
Here is a list of HDMI couplers that support 4K:
- The UGREEN HDMI Coupler is able to connect 2 HDMI cables into 1 for a long extension. This HDMI coupler complies with HDMI 2.0 and is able to support 4K at 60 Hz.
- The Amazon Basics HDMI Female to Female Couple is compatible with 4K video and 60 Hz. It also supports Ethernet, 3D, and ARC in addition to 4K.
- The Benfei HDMI Female to Female Coupler connects two male-to-male cables and is compatible with the latest HDMI standard, which includes 4k video at 60 Hz.
Other Ways to Extend Your HDMI Cables
Let’s explore some other ways in which you can extend your HDMI cable.
The first and most obvious method is to buy a long HDMI cable instead of spending money on HDMI transmitters and couplers. For cable runs shorter than 50 feet, you can use a single HDMI cable that’s longer than the standard size.
However, long HDMI cables also experience poorer audio and video signal quality, which really doesn’t solve the problem.
You have a better chance with wireless HDMI kits that utilize Wi-Fi signals to transport content between devices using HDMI wireless transmitters and jacks.
However, there have been so many advancements in sound and picture quality that the Wi-Fi you’re using may not be able to transmit them efficiently due to limited bandwidth.
For all those wondering, “Do HDMI Couplers Reduce Signal Quality?”, the simplest answer is, yes, they do.
When you want to extend your HDMI cables, experts state that using HDMI couplers should be the last option.
However, since HDMI couplers often lack proper shielding that leads to EMI interference, you can try out HDMI couplers that have better structure and protection. This will help mitigate radio interference and smoothly transmit signals.