How to Decide What Length HDMI Cable I Need

by David Lipscomb Google

    The High Definition Multimedia Interface protocol allows you to run one cable per component for high quality audio and video. While this eliminates much of the rat's nest of cabling normally associated with audio and video installations, you still need to take into account proper HDMI cable length. Choosing the right cable length for your setup involves determining an acceptable comprise between signal quality, convenience and cost.

    Measuring Distance

    Step 1

    Measure the distance between your source components and the receiver or processor performing HDMI switching. Add 18 inches to this length to account for pulling a component forward on the rack to examine the back panel if necessary. Pulling on or stressing an HDMI connector due to insufficient length may eventually cause the delicate internal connections to fail.

    Step 2

    Convert the measurement in inches to feet. Divide by 3.3 to determine the distance in meters. This is the measurement used on most cable packaging. For example, if the distance from your Blu-ray player to your receiver is 6 feet, you need a 2-meter HDMI cable.

    Step 3

    Repeat the process, measuring from your receiver or HDMI switcher to the television or projector in use. Remember to measure along the path required by the cable. If the cable travels up the wall 7 feet, then across the ceiling 12 feet, measure the same way. Add 15 percent to this length to ensure adequate cable length.

    Step 4

    Account for cable gauge. Select a 24-gauge HDMI cable if your total installed distance per cable exceeds 5 meters. Below that, less-expensive 24-gauge cables suffice.

    Extending Existing Installations

    Step 1

    Measure the distance from the source component to the receiver, television or projector you are trying to reach. Subtract the distance already covered by the installed HDMI cable.

    Step 2

    Slide the HDMI joiner to the end of the cable leading away from your component, receiver or switcher.

    Step 3

    Connect the HDMI extension cable to the other end of the joiner. Slide the free end into the destination component's HDMI port.

    Tips

    • HDMI signals travel comfortably approximately 75 feet before experiencing intermittent performance. Many cables offer in-line boosters to regenerate the signal, preventing dropouts and poor performance.
    • Always select the newest version of HDMI cables. As of August 2012, this is HDMI 1.4. Newer revisions enable features found in supporting components.

    Warnings

    • Don't just buy the longest cables you can find. In addition to incurring unnecessary additional cost, you will probably suffer signal loss.

    Required Items

    • Tape measure
    • HDMI joiner
    • HDMI extension cable

    About the Author

    David Lipscomb is a professional writer and public relations practitioner. Lipscomb brings more than a decade of experience in the consumer electronics and advertising industries. Lipscomb holds a degree in public relations from Webster University.

    Photo Credits

    • Ethan Miller/Getty Images News/Getty Images