How to Extend the Length of HDMI Cables
Written by Jonah Matthes
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Needing to extend connections is a common problem, which is why things like IR repeaters (our guide) are needed. For a simple living room setup, there’s probably no need to look into exotic options for signal transfer. Everything is close to everything else, and the 10ft HDMI cable that came with your TV will do just fine. However, for more advanced setups like those using a projector, or where equipment is far away from the screen, you may need to look into extending the length of your HDMI cables.
The most common ways to extend the length of HDMI cables is by using an HDMI Balun kit, also known as an HDMI Extender. With an HDMI Balun kit, you simply plug your HDMI source into a base station which then converts the signal to be carried by an Ethernet cable, and converts back to HDMI at the destination.
This solution isn’t for everyone. After all, there are HDMI wireless converters that do the same thing without adding another cable to run. But, there are some cases where wireless HDMI just won’t cut it and a proper extender kit is the way to go. If you know a Balun kit is the right solution for you, you're probably wondering what's involved in setting it up.
So you’re ready to use an HDMI Balun kit on your system. What are the steps? How do you actually get it up and running? Well, consider a typical entry-level kit, the one mentioned above: the EZCOO HDMI 2.0 Extender. You’ll notice there is a base station and a receiver. That’s pretty straight forward. And each of those stations will need a power source as well. That makes sense: they’re doing a computationally heavy task, converting a live HDMI stream to something that’ll transfer over a Cat cable (aka an Ethernet cable, more on that later) on one end, and converting it back on the other end. HDMI technology, however. can deteriorate over time, but it's not always obvious when they're about to break down
The actually “extending” of the cable happens between these two stations: you have to choose your base station location, and where you’re going to put the receiver, and then the game becomes to get a Cat cable from one to the other. You can run this through your ceiling, walls, or even get clever and hide it in custom pieces of trim, but it’s got to get from A to B somehow.
Once your Cat cable is connected at both ends, the rest should be more or less automatic. If the base stations have power, and they have a signal coming in one end, it’ll be flowing out the other, where an HDMI cable connects to the receiver to take the signal the last leg of the journey, to the screen.