HDMI wiring plan: Design considerations

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and is used to transmit high-speed uncompressed audio and video traffic between devices that support this standard. Since 2002 when HDMI 1.0 was released by a consortium of manufacturers, there have been numerous developments and enhancements. The latest major change in 2009 was HDMI 1.4 that allowed the inclusion of features such as combined HDMI Ethernet connection. This allows bi-directional transfer speeds of up to 100 megabytes between attached devices. The good news is that HDMI connections are backward compatible.This means that a HDMI 1.4 category cable can support a connection to a HDMI 1.0 device, and so on.

The ports on your HDMI enabled devices will always be female, whilst the connectors on the cables are always male. Study your HDMI equipment to make sure you attach the cable to the right port. For example, with your set top HDMI device, attach the HDMI cable to the output port and the other end to the HDMI input connector on your HDTV. Take care not to make a mistake as many devices can be found with component ports for analog signals. These look similar but are not the HDMI ports that you are looking for. Do a thorough check, particularly if you are not picking up the signal between the two devices. Make very sure that your HDMI cables are securely connected as moving the devices for cleaning or gaining access round the back could easily cause the cable to be partially removed. This will affect performance and you may, for example, receive audio but no video. If this is the case, check that the connections are secure.

You may decide to deploy your HDMI devices over a longer distance from each other. This would be the case if you plan to be able to enjoy your home theater content in different parts of the house, for example, your kitchen, living room, snug or bedroom. If this is the case, you would be sensible to centralize your multimedia players whilst distributing your viewing devices. This would be cheaper than having to purchase a complete multimedia home theater for each location. In order to do this, you must make sure that you purchase high quality category 2 cables that will be able to transmit the 1080p signal over 25 feet and 1080i signal up to 50 feet. With these cable lengths you will want to run the cable behind the walls. Make sure you have drilled a large enough hole (7/8 of an inch should be fine) to pass the HDMI cable through, and take care not to bend the HDMI cable too tight as it is more sensitive than Ethernet or electric cabling and could be damaged.

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