When it comes to electronics, some of us seem to be wizzes at technology while many of us may need a little help — and these days, technology seems to be unavoidable in our day to day lives. If you’re the latter, have no fear because we’ve done the work for you. Below we’ll go over everything you need to know about the basics of HDMI including where and when to use them and which one’s you’ll need so you can keep up with the Joneses and make your life a little easier.
What is HDMI?
HDMI is an abbreviation for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, which is the standard for transmitting both high definition audio and visual information from one source to another.
When it comes to HDMI cables, they are designed to send high-resolution digital video, quality sound, and device commands from a port or source, through the HDMI cable, and finally to another port or receiver, transmitting all the features of HDMI specs.
What is HDMI used for?
HDMI has become the standard for home entertainment systems and portable media devices because of its versatility and compatibility with most audio/visual electronics. You can find HDMI connections on the majority of these types of electronics:
- HD televisions, projectors, and HD monitors
- DVD, Blue-ray, and Ultra HD players
- Digital and video cameras
- Desktop computers and laptops
- Home theater systems
- Gaming consoles
Types of HDMI connections
There are 5 different kinds of HDMI cable connections that can come with different specifications including Standard, High Speed, Premium High Speed or Ultra High Speed. These speeds have different bandwidths and resolutions depending on your needs. If the cable doesn’t specify the type, it is most likely a Standard. The most commonly used HDMI connectors are:
- Standard (Type A) – The most widely used HDMI connection which can be found on most TVs, computer monitors, streaming devices, game consoles, and desktop computers.
- Mini (Type C) – This HDMI connection supports all the same features as the standard HDMI in a more compact form which is used more commonly on portable HD devices such as tablets or cameras.
- Micro (Type D) – The smallest of all HDMI connections yet still retains all of the functions of larger HDMI cables. This cable is used on small portable HD devices such as smartphones.
All three types of HDMI cable connections have the same 19 pins, and they support the resolutions and features of HDMI 1.4 onwards but are used for different devices.
The other two HDMI cables which may not apply to you include:
- HDMI Type B – This HDMI cable is larger than the Standard (type A) connection with 29 pins, and was designed for increased bandwidth for high-resolution displays but was ultimately never used.
- HDMI Type E – A larger HDMI cable which is used solely for industrial and automotive purposes.
In-Wall HDMI Cable or Wireless HDMI?
The HDMI experts at Selby.com shared with us thes will go over these pros and cons to help you decide if you need an In-Wall HDMI cable versus a Wireless HDMI.
An in-wall HDMI cable connect media devices to a display delivering high-definition audio and visual content and commands.
- An inexpensive HDMI option
- Strong and reliable signal
- May be difficult to install
- Limited to a single location
- Max distance is usually 25-50 feet depending on the resolution
- Long distances require HDMI extender
Wireless HDMI connects media devices to a display delivering high definition audio and visual content and commands wirelessly through a transmitter.
- Easy to install
- Can be relocated easily
- Has a range of up to 150 feet
- Broadcasts high-resolution audio/video signal to multiple receivers
- Eliminates cable clutter in your home
- A more expensive option
- Possible issues with quality of connection as walls and flooring can affect signal strength.
Recommended Cable Length
When it comes to cable length many people are concerned with whether it affects the quality of the connection or not. While the audio and visual quality won’t be impacted by the cable length, the signal potentially will be. A long cable runs the risk of having intermittent cutouts or potentially not even reaching the source. For best results, it’s recommend to try to stay around 20 feet or less. Any longer and you may have connection issues.
HDMI Cables for Long Distances
If you do need to have a connection with an HDMI cable longer than 20 feet, there are effective ways to ensure you have a strong, reliable connection.
- A high quality HDMI cable is important. High-quality cables are designed to protect the connection and signal over long distances with enhanced electromagnetic shielding and thick gauges.
- Use a fiber optic HDMI cable for connections up to 100 meters. However, these can be pricey and are mainly used in large homes or commercial spaces.
- Use repeaters or boosters. These devices extend your signal for long distances.