Development of the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) format started in 2002. This was when the world was introduced to HDMI 1.0, It was designed to provide a better alternative to the DVI technology being used at that time.
Initially, HDMI cables had a small connector, and they also added audio support into the spectrum that DVI technology did not have.
Now, HDMI has surpassed all other forms of technology that are designed to transfer high-definition media. It slowly became a standard for all devices that had a display. With time, the HDMI cable has seen several upgrades, but the one question that hasn’t been asked is: how are HDMI cables made?
Here’s the answer.
How Are HDMI Cables Made?
While different factories can use varying procedures to build an HDMI cable, there is a standard process.
- Firstly, the cable is cut and stripped; this is done with the help of an automatic stripping and wire cutting machine
- Next, the aluminum foil is trimmed with a vertical aluminum trimming machine
- The inner wire is then positioned on the plastic wire holder. Most factories use an angle type traverse machine to do this
- The inner wire is then stripped with a stripping machine
- The wire is then tinned
- The wire is assembled with the connector
- The connector is welded onto the cable
- The connector is then molded so it stays in one place
Structurally, HDMI cables look simple. However, one HDMI cable consists of several different components. That said, the cable’s structure also depends on the quality of the cable you buy. An HDMI cable consists of:
- A connector
- An inner core
- An RF shielding device at each end. This is also called a shield ring which eliminates electromagnetic interference
- A peripheral shield
A quality HDMI cable has an inner core that uses oxygen-free copper or pure copper; this ensures the quality of the signal being transmitted is top-notch.
On the other hand, when an HDMI cable cuts corners and has shoddy standards for quality, it can be built from a low-cost iron core or different alloy material. When you’re buying an HDMI cable, you can’t see what’s inside, so you often judge the cable by how it feels in your hand.
Are All HDMI Cables Made the Same?
Most HDMI cables are built the same way. The one thing that can differentiate them is the standard of the connection port used on the cable and the devices. Even though there are various types of HDMI cables, they only differ structurally because of the connector installed on them.
What Is an HDMI Cable Made Of?
Generally, an HDMI cable with a copper core is soft and easy to bend but it’s core is firm. You can also use a magnet to determine whether the core is built from copper or not.
Apart from the inner core, the cable’s joints can also tell you if the cable is made from top-notch material or not. To ensure the cable has the fastest transmission rates, using gold can be the best option, followed by silver, and lastly, copper.
Pure gold or sterling silver can raise the price of the cable massively, which is why copper is used, and the cable is plated with either gold or silver.
A grade-A cable is smooth to the touch, bright and does not have any spots. If you’ve bought an HDMI cable with spots, return it and get a new one. The magnetic ring at both ends of the wire will give it anti-interference qualities. The exterior of the cable however, is PVC plastic which gives it durability and insulation.
Can I Make My Own HDMI Cable?
HDMI cables have 19 different connector pins. In some cases, the tools needed to disassemble these cables or user-serviceable pieces, may not be readily available.
If you want to make your own HDMI cable, from a Category 5 Ethernet-style cable (CAT 5), you’ll have to use baluns. These devices can change the wiring pattern of two CAT5 cables, which internally converts them to the HDMI format.
Even though a few short HDMI cables may be needed, using CAT5 and baluns can help you create an HDMI cable that is customized for your usage case.
Here’s the process you need to follow.
- The rear panel of a CAT5 cable will have an HDMI-equipped component; this will be your source
- Insert an HDMI cable into the port of the component and the “In” HDMI port to the exterior balun
- Now cut one end of the CAT5 cables and insert it in the sending balun. Now route the CAT5 cable to the destination and clip the ends for the receiving balun
- Plug an HDMI cable from the receiving balun to the display
- Now plug the power adapter into the receiving or sending balun
To ensure you get the highest possible resolution from your HDMI cable, we would suggest choosing the HDMI 2.1 cable since it is the highest-end option available in the market. That said, your ability to use this format also depends on your TV or your display device having an HDMI 2.1 port. If there is no port for the 2.1 port, it may have the 2.0 or the 1.4 port.
All in all, your TV will connect with the correct cable and several other devices will too. With time, we may see the HDMI cable evolve and have more features. This may also mean a change in the way the HDMI cables are constructed.
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.