Are you one of the many theatre enthusiasts whose projector or flat panel is displayed some distance from its equipment rack?
If you are, you’ve probably encountered mild interference with your signal at one point or another, especially if you are using an HDMI cable longer than 50 feet.
Like most types of cable, HDMI also encounters cable length limitations.
Longer HDMI cables experience signal disruption. What happens is that as the bandwidth narrows, the audio lags behind the video. The video may ultimately drop out, and in worst cases, the display may fail to detect the source device.
This may be frustrating, more so if you are setting up a commercial venue. Let alone the fact that a non-functional screen set up can cost you money.
One solution to this problem is to use an HDMI repeater, sometimes referred to as a signal booster or amplifier. This article will take a deeper look into what HDMI repeaters are and what they do. You will also learn whether or not you lose quality with the use of HDMI repeaters and if you actually need them.
Do HDMI repeaters really work?
HDMI cables typically range from one to three meters, enabling direct connection between your media player and monitor. However, this may be fairly short if you run an entertainment spot where your display and source devices are set up quite a long distance from one another.
Therefore, you may find it a lot trickier when you want to extend the distance between your media device and the monitor and still get strong audio and video signals. This is because the HDMI standard was not really designed for long cable runs.
HDMI was built to do high-speed media over short distances. So if you start overextending the cable, you might find that you get degradation in the audio and video signals and, in some cases, no signal at all.
The rule of the thumb is to keep the HDMI cable as short as possible for stronger, clearer signals. But this may not be possible if your monitor is far away from your media device, and this is what an HDMI repeater is designed for.
An HDMI repeater setup system makes it incredibly easy for you to share content from one location to another, or multiple locations hundreds of feet away.
The HDMI repeater joins two cables together and works by amplifying the signal at the display end to ensure that the output signal you get is as strong as the input signal from your media device.
An HDMI repeater can work in two applications.
First, on a source device with weak HDMI drivers that are not designed to send a video signal over long distances.
Secondly, HDMI repeaters work on display devices that don’t have reclocking and equalization circuitry on their inputs.
What does an HDMI repeater do?
An HDMI repeater can get you out of signal difficulties where you have run HDMI cables over long lengths, particularly if you have used cheaper cables made of CCA, which often cause pixelation on the screen.
The HDMI repeater connects or chains two long cables together to create a longer HDMI run without compromising audio and video signals.
It regenerates the high-definition digital audio and video received from the media source device and then transmits it through the second connected cable at the end of the extended display.
At the end of the day, you get rid of any pixelation that is usually associated with the use of long HDMI cables.
However, keep in mind that your repeater must be placed where the video signal is still stable.
Suppose the repeater is placed in a location where the video signal has already deteriorated so much that it can no longer determine the correct information. It will be of no help.
HDMI repeaters offer the much-needed flexibility to customize cable extension lengths as two HDMI cables can be used. HDMI repeaters can be effective at distances of up to 100 feet.
Do I need an HDMI repeater?
Yes. Especially if you are looking to run long HDMI cables between your source and display devices.
As already mentioned, HDMI signals are not designed to be sent long distances. The maximum reliable length for HDMI signals is 50 feet.
For distances that are longer than that, you would need some type of active electronics to help the signal get from point A to point B. This is where an HDMI repeater comes in handy.
An HDMI repeater helps resolve any signal issues experienced when running an HDMI-related video signal much further than it is designed to be sent.
How do I connect an HDMI repeater?
Here is how you can connect an HDMI repeater:
- Identify the HDMI output port of your source device you wish to play your media content and connect the voltage inserter .
- Insert your HDMI cable to the other end of the voltage inserter.
- Connect the other end of the HDMI cable to the input port of the HDMI repeater.
- On the output port of the HDMI repeater, connect another HDMI cable.
- Connect the other end of this cable to the input port of your display device.
- Switch on your device to enjoy viewing.
Here’s a good video tutorial showing how to connect an HDMI repeater by Kramer Electronics.
Do you lose quality with an HDMI repeater/extender?
No. You don’t lose picture or video quality with HDMI extenders.
A repeater regenerates and equalizes the HDMI signal to deliver clear audio and video content over longer cable runs. You, therefore, have zero chance of losing the signal quality even if you increase the length of your cable as long as there is an HDMI repeater included in your setup.
You can use a single repeater to extend a distance of up to 130 feet. You can also add a second repeater to get to a total length of 200 feet.
With an HDMI repeater, the diminished quality of your long cables is quickly restored, giving you clearer images and sharp sounds.
It is clear that HDMI cables have simplified our electronic lives by reducing the cluster of wires in our entertainment setup. That being said, HDMI cables come with one notable shortfall – length.
The longer your HDMI cable, the weaker your signal gets. The worst-case scenario, you get to a point where the signal is lost completely.
Thankfully, there is a solution to this, an HDMI repeater. It facilitates digital information passing through two HDMI cables no matter the distance, significantly improving and simplifying the way you use technology.
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.