Connecting HDMI Devices – What you need to Know about HDMI Cables


The HDMI specification does not limit cables to any particular length, but instead sets performance criteria based on maintaining adequate signal strength. Therefore, cable length is not determined by the HDMI specification, but by the design and manufacturing quality of the cable.

Finding the Right Cable
With the release of the HDMI 1.4 specification, there are now five HDMI cable types to choose from, each designed to meet a particular performance standard. Here is an overview of the HDMI cable types, their capabilities, and how to tell them apart.
For whole-house installations and other long-run configurations, there are many options available for extending the signal over greater distances.

Sourcing HDMI cables
Manufacturing quality can make a big difference in a cable that can withstand the demands of a home installation, so it’s always a good idea to buy from a reliable, trusted source. Bargain cables are not always a bargain, especially when pulling through walls and sending signals over distance.

Pulling HDMI Cable
Remember how much data is running through that cable and treat it with a light touch. Tolerances are tight, so be careful – don’t yank HDMI cables or twist connectors. For in-wall installations, pull-through socks are available that will protect the connector as the cable is pulled through the wall or conduit. This is a particularly good idea if you are installing an active cable, where the connectors are larger and more sensitive because of their embedded electronics.

HDMI Connector Types
The HDMI specification defines three connector types, but only two are in common use. Most products rely on the Standard (Type A) connector, but many newer portable devices such as HD videocams and digital still cameras are incorporating the Mini Connector (Type C). Standard to Mini adapters are widely available.

Keeping Connectors Seated
You may occasionally experience difficulty keeping an HDMI connector seated. It could be a wall-mounted flat-panel with vertically-oriented connectors that want to fall out, or a projector with the connectors inside the outer case, or a badly designed overmolding that makes it difficult to get a flush fit. As well, overly heavy cables can put undue strain on the connector.
The HDMI licensing authority is actively evaluating solutions for a locking connector, but in the meantime, fixes are available. There are swivel adapters that fit between the port and the cable, allowing you to adjust the angle of the connection as needed in both the “x” and “y” directions, and fix it in that position.