Which of these two HDMI cables would you choose and why?

Irvrobinson

Irvrobinson

Audioholic Spartan
Now you're over-thinking this. Within their length limitations copper cables can have very low bit error rates (BER). Typical 10GbE copper BER specs are 10**-15. Also, error detection on digital interconnects uses a scheme called Cyclic Redundancy Check, or CRC. Without going into a long lecture on how CRCs work, the salient point (sorry ADTG, I had to use your favorite word) is that the CRC state machines are engaged to check every data chunk transmitted. Any correction logic doesn't use significantly more power. What does use more power in networking is retransmission due to frame or packet drops, but HDMI doesn't support retransmission as far as I can tell. So your point about greater heat generation doesn't apply.
I've been trying to find an HDMI 2.1 specification, haven't yet, but I don't think HDMI provides any error correction mechanism, like ECC. I suspect all that happens with an HDMI transmission error of any kind is a drop-out. So it's purely a video/audio qualitative consideration.
 
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Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
ATC certified cables are for passive, copper cables only, and is only good to 25'. The official designation is Premium High Speed HDMI cables for HDMI 2.0 hardware specifications. Ultra High Speed HDMI cables will be the official name for cables that can achieve 48Gbps to differentiate them from Premium High Speed HDMI cables (18Gbps). HDMI.org controls the name "Premium" by requiring a QR label for authenticity. The "Ultra" designation has not been made the official name yet by HDMI.org but the cable mfrs are playing fast and loose, again, with the name just to garner sales.

There is no official certification program yet for the Ultra High Speed HDMI cables (48Gbps), yet. Certification by HDMI.org is only for passive cables. Active cables (copper, fiber, or hybrid fiber) have not been approved by HDMI.org to receive the official certification label.

Active copper cables are great for 1080i/p and long distances. That's why they were developed. 4k HDR has changed all that and long, active copper cables have too many issues because 4k HDR is very demanding with its connections. Active, hybrid fiber cables are probably going to be the "special 48Gbps HDMI cable" that was mentioned in the initial HDMI 2.1 specification announcement. The upcoming new passive cables will work for HDMI 2.1 but will be limited to 2m - 3m (3' - 9') per the HDMI 2.1 specifications. That may be fine for some but for a lot it won't, hence the need for hybrid fiber cables.

The only hybrid fiber cables I have experience with is Ruipro. And to be transparent, Ruipro gave me some short length Ruipro4k hybrid fiber cables to test in my system (no instrumention, just a real world consumer test) and they perfomed as well as the BJC Premium High Speed HDMI cables. I am still using the 2m (6') cables on my system but to be honest, I wouldn't recommend them for HDMI 2.0 because they are expensive. I do know that the Ruipro cables are tested by Simplay Labs, which is an ATC, so they are using HDMI.org approved testing devices and protocols. They just can't get the certification designation or the QR label. They are still working out some issues but their Ruipro8k cables should be out soon. However, they will be expensive but worth it for those long cable runs for HDMI 2.0 and 2.1. There are other hybrid fiber cable mfrs out there and they probably make good cables but all of the reports on other forums (AVS for one) have been extremely positive with the Rupro hybrid fiber cables.

Regardless of mfr claims and slick marketing, the cable is just the data pipe and can not improve pq. Reds can't be made any redder or greens any greener. You either get the signal as the source sends it without sparkles, dropouts, etc. or you don't.

And finally, if you do have a long run, and it is in-wall, then the use of a 1.5" to 2.0" conduit is highly recommended and truly is the ONLY way to future proof your cabling. No cable, regardless of certification or mfr claims can guarantee that the cable will work 100% of the time in any given setup. So with long runs, and a conduit (or at the very least easy access to your cabling), it makes changing/upgrading cables so much easier and safer.
 
S

snakeeyes

Audioholic Ninja
A lot of people would try the monoprice first and return it if it doesn’t work, but you seem pretty sure it won’t work.
 
O

Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
The Monoprice cable may in fact work, for now, because it has the Spectra 7 chipsets, but it is copper only and I fear that copper is just not going to be able to cut it for long distances, especially once HDMI 2.1 becomes more prevalent in consumer devices. Installed in a conduit, the Monoprice cable would be something to consider to see how it goes, and if it doesn't, upgrading would be easy (except for the cost). I prefer long term solutions because I hate swapping out cables and imo, a hybrid fiber cable is a reliable way to go, eventually.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
The Monoprice cable may in fact work, for now, because it has the Spectra 7 chipsets, but it is copper only and I fear that copper is just not going to be able to cut it for long distances, especially once HDMI 2.1 becomes more prevalent in consumer devices. Installed in a conduit, the Monoprice cable would be something to consider to see how it goes, and if it doesn't, upgrading would be easy (except for the cost). I prefer long term solutions because I hate swapping out cables and imo, a hybrid fiber cable is a reliable way to go, eventually.
What you say is exactly in line with the research I have done on this issue. I'm now convinced the Ruipro is the way to go and that is what I will do. I think at this time that the best cable for 4K HDMI run over 25 ft is to use a hybrid optical cable. It may well turn out that runs even shorter than that are best off with a hybrid cable. Other optical hybrid cables may be fine, but most experience reported is with Ruipro cables as you state.
 
highfigh

highfigh

Audioholic Overlord
Here's some info from HDMI.org

https://www.hdmi.org/installers/eyediagram.aspx

As a word of caution, certification is used by some companies whose 1 meter cables pass and they advertise that their cables are certified without saying it was only their 1 meter cable.

I hadn't heard of RUIPRO before this thread and I found the reason- they show Amazon as their US distributor.

Shop around.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Here's some info from HDMI.org

https://www.hdmi.org/installers/eyediagram.aspx

As a word of caution, certification is used by some companies whose 1 meter cables pass and they advertise that their cables are certified without saying it was only their 1 meter cable.

I hadn't heard of RUIPRO before this thread and I found the reason- they show Amazon as their US distributor.

Shop around.
That why I missed it also. Did not show in the radar. I have thought for a while fiber is the way to go for HDMI now, but had no idea it was actually here.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
The Monoprice cable may in fact work, for now, because it has the Spectra 7 chipsets, but it is copper only and I fear that copper is just not going to be able to cut it for long distances, especially once HDMI 2.1 becomes more prevalent in consumer devices. Installed in a conduit, the Monoprice cable would be something to consider to see how it goes, and if it doesn't, upgrading would be easy (except for the cost). I prefer long term solutions because I hate swapping out cables and imo, a hybrid fiber cable is a reliable way to go, eventually.
By most reports, Monoprice has quite a few 18Gb/s HDMI cables which are well reviewed. I do take those somewhat lightly, but a LOT of people are buying them and the number of complaints would typically be very high on cables which didn't work.

The caution about using copper isn't really on point. Copper won't degrade over time. The weak point of copper and of fiber is the active Tx/Rx units. The chips themselves can fail. It doesn't matter if it is copper or fiber that is used as long as the signal gets there reliably.

Is copper more subject to potential interference? ABSOLUTELY!

Is fiber more expensive? YES!

So, it's a question of cost vs. does it work. Not a question of cost vs. quality because copper and fiber will deliver the same quality as long as the signal passes.

My greater concern with all active cables is that the chip sets can (and do) fail. That people use them for a few years, then the chips burn out, and the cable is useless. I haven't seen any real comparisons with copper vs. fiber converters to know how they hold up. If they both use similar (or the same) chip sets, then their likelihood of failure truly is the same. If they use different chip sets, then it's pretty much impossible to say which chip set will burn out first.

My gut feeling is that with HDMI 2.1 and 48Gb/s, fiber will be the norm. for longer runs. But, it should also be noted that on runs of 50' or less, there is no reason to believe that Cat-7 cabling won't handle those speeds just fine as well and I expect we will see copper solutions for a fraction of the cost of fiber. You know Monoprice will be pushing for those cables as soon as 48Gb/s gets some demand behind it.

Long term is irrelevant since you can't buy a 48Gb/s fiber cable today. If you are buying now, you are buying 18Gb/s or slower, which means you can pay more for fiber or less for copper, and results would almost definitely be the same. Longevity... Well, I personally think fiber has an edge, but in reality, it's all about the active adapters and how durable they are over the years.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
By most reports, Monoprice has quite a few 18Gb/s HDMI cables which are well reviewed. I do take those somewhat lightly, but a LOT of people are buying them and the number of complaints would typically be very high on cables which didn't work.

The caution about using copper isn't really on point. Copper won't degrade over time. The weak point of copper and of fiber is the active Tx/Rx units. The chips themselves can fail. It doesn't matter if it is copper or fiber that is used as long as the signal gets there reliably.

Is copper more subject to potential interference? ABSOLUTELY!

Is fiber more expensive? YES!

So, it's a question of cost vs. does it work. Not a question of cost vs. quality because copper and fiber will deliver the same quality as long as the signal passes.

My greater concern with all active cables is that the chip sets can (and do) fail. That people use them for a few years, then the chips burn out, and the cable is useless. I haven't seen any real comparisons with copper vs. fiber converters to know how they hold up. If they both use similar (or the same) chip sets, then their likelihood of failure truly is the same. If they use different chip sets, then it's pretty much impossible to say which chip set will burn out first.

My gut feeling is that with HDMI 2.1 and 48Gb/s, fiber will be the norm. for longer runs. But, it should also be noted that on runs of 50' or less, there is no reason to believe that Cat-7 cabling won't handle those speeds just fine as well and I expect we will see copper solutions for a fraction of the cost of fiber. You know Monoprice will be pushing for those cables as soon as 48Gb/s gets some demand behind it.

Long term is irrelevant since you can't buy a 48Gb/s fiber cable today. If you are buying now, you are buying 18Gb/s or slower, which means you can pay more for fiber or less for copper, and results would almost definitely be the same. Longevity... Well, I personally think fiber has an edge, but in reality, it's all about the active adapters and how durable they are over the years.
That is exactly the problem. Whatever the solution if you want 4k and you have to go over 25 ft. You are dependent on a small microchip powered from an HDMI port.

Personally for pro situations I would prefer to see fiber cables with external powering for the converters at each end, that could use larger more robust components.
I think there was one but it was either vapor ware or disappeared fast.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Well look what I've found now!

So that is designed to prevent stress from the HDMI port powering the cable. It will also solve the problem if there is not enough power from the port, which happens not infrequently.
 
BMXTRIX

BMXTRIX

Audioholic Spartan
There are so many awesome products out there! That's a great find. I agree, entirely, that the fastest, most reliable solution is fiber units with converters that use local power supplies of decent quality. Of course, then you have the headache of another power supply located by the TV and the AV receiver. But, in a good setup, you deal with it.

At some point I'm going to see how my switcher handles 4K/60 signals as it does have cards available for it which are rated to support 4K/60 over category cable. We shall see.
 
O

Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
The issue with active cables, be they copper only or fiber, is that the chipsets in the source/sink end can fail over time, just like any other electronic device. I have seen cables fail but the failure rate seems to be very low, at least from the publically posted info that I can find. That's why we strongly recommend that any in-wall cable installation be done with conduit. That way it is easier and safer to replace/upgrade your cabling, because the likelyhood that you will be swapping out a cable for one reason or another down the road is high. The biggest problem with active cables is keeping the chipsets current. Valens, who is a mfr of active chipsets for HDBT and other externally active extenders just announced that they have upgraded their chipsets so those should be hitting the market soon. Using HDBT or other active extenders requires a power source close by, usually via a USB dongle so you need to plan for that.

Celerity, who is another mfr of fiber cables has detachable HDMI connectors so, in theory, you keep the fiber cable in the wall and just replace the connector ends as needed. Just like HDBT but with HDBT, the in-wall cable is either solid core CAT-6 or even CAT-7 (if you feel that's necessary). Unfortunately, there has been lots of issues reported with the Celerity product.

Another disadvantage of copper vs fiber is data compression. Copper will struggle with uncompressed data whereas a well designed fiber cable (usually hybrid fiber for the reasons I gave above) can easily handle uncompressed data with no errors. Copper can, up to a certain length, but that requires a thicker wire gauge, and thicker wire gauges have their own sets of issues.

The bottom line is that there are no guarantees. There's more to a successful cable connection than just the data pipe (cable). One just has to look at their setup (distance, connected devices, cable run, etc) and see what works best for them, cost-wise and expectation-wise. Connection technology will always lag behind video technology so there's always going to be some trial and error.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
The issue with active cables, be they copper only or fiber, is that the chipsets in the source/sink end can fail over time, just like any other electronic device. I have seen cables fail but the failure rate seems to be very low, at least from the publically posted info that I can find. That's why we strongly recommend that any in-wall cable installation be done with conduit. That way it is easier and safer to replace/upgrade your cabling, because the likelyhood that you will be swapping out a cable for one reason or another down the road is high. The biggest problem with active cables is keeping the chipsets current. Valens, who is a mfr of active chipsets for HDBT and other externally active extenders just announced that they have upgraded their chipsets so those should be hitting the market soon. Using HDBT or other active extenders requires a power source close by, usually via a USB dongle so you need to plan for that.

Celerity, who is another mfr of fiber cables has detachable HDMI connectors so, in theory, you keep the fiber cable in the wall and just replace the connector ends as needed. Just like HDBT but with HDBT, the in-wall cable is either solid core CAT-6 or even CAT-7 (if you feel that's necessary). Unfortunately, there has been lots of issues reported with the Celerity product.

Another disadvantage of copper vs fiber is data compression. Copper will struggle with uncompressed data whereas a well designed fiber cable (usually hybrid fiber for the reasons I gave above) can easily handle uncompressed data with no errors. Copper can, up to a certain length, but that requires a thicker wire gauge, and thicker wire gauges have their own sets of issues.

The bottom line is that there are no guarantees. There's more to a successful cable connection than just the data pipe (cable). One just has to look at their setup (distance, connected devices, cable run, etc) and see what works best for them, cost-wise and expectation-wise. Connection technology will always lag behind video technology so there's always going to be some trial and error.
I think you hit all the nails squarely on the head there. Thank you for your input to this thread. I have a large conduit so the only issue replacing the cable is expense. On balance I feel that using those detachable connectors is not warranted. I like to only have only send and receive connections for HDMI.

The bigger issue is increased chance of HDMI board failure with these active cables. So at this time I plan fiber cable powered by the device I linked above.

The bottom line is that until someone says their HDMI port can be used for powering and specifies how much power can be drawn from it, then I would like to avoid drawing power from an HDMI port. As far as I know not one manufacturer has advised powering from any port, let alone providing the required specifications to allow for reliable robust design. That I guess is my biggest beef in all of this, and should have been addressed by the industry at the introduction of 4K. That is really the disgraceful aspect of all of this.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
There are so many awesome products out there! That's a great find. I agree, entirely, that the fastest, most reliable solution is fiber units with converters that use local power supplies of decent quality. Of course, then you have the headache of another power supply located by the TV and the AV receiver. But, in a good setup, you deal with it.

At some point I'm going to see how my switcher handles 4K/60 signals as it does have cards available for it which are rated to support 4K/60 over category cable. We shall see.
I don't think you need power both ends of the cable. The cable is directional and as I understand it the sending port provides all the power. These are hybrid cables and everything except the video travels in copper wire. So the power should be live at both ends of the cable. If you have information to the contrary, please feel very free to correct me.

That is why this has turned into a useful thread, as we are grappling with an important issue we have not talked about in depth before. There are discussions on other forums, but not as in depth as this one really digging into the issues here.
 
O

Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
Active cables are designed to draw minimal power from the HDMI inputs without damaging the input. I have not seen any credible evidence to the contrary, and active cables have been around for a long time. The connectors that use external power usually require a bit more power to adequately power their devices. That's more of a design issue than anything else.

For example, the Ruipro4k hybrid fiber cables consume 50mW to 250mW (max) power and require that the 5v HDMI input maintain a steady 4.75v to 5.25v output.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
Active cables are designed to draw minimal power from the HDMI inputs without damaging the input. I have not seen any credible evidence to the contrary, and active cables have been around for a long time. The connectors that use external power usually require a bit more power to adequately power their devices. That's more of a design issue than anything else.

For example, the Ruipro4k hybrid fiber cables consume 50mW to 250mW (max) power and require that the 5v HDMI input maintain a steady 4.75v to 5.25v output.
That's all very well, but drawing power from and HDMI port has no official sanction. It is clear to me that quite a few devices are not actually able to power these devices, which I think is why some people can not get these cables to work for them. As I said before we need a power draw spec for the port and a power consumption for the device to properly design systems. I would say that a cable dropping the port voltage below 5 volts is stressing it. I have learned this. Although power draw is not sanctioned, I now find there are three versions of the HDMI port.

Pin 18 supplies 5 volts for MHL applications.

HDMI is not generally intended to be used as a power supply, unless the port is marked as an MHL port. Then it can provide 5 volts to charge mobile devices while they are connected to the display.

Again, the voltage is 5 volts, and the current is 500mA for MHL 1 and 900mA for MHL 2 and 3.

On ports that are not marked as MHL ports, the supply is not expected to be more than 10mA, and this is mostly used for hotplug detection, although it can also feed things like format converters and inline amplifiers for long cable runs. So I bet most ports are not MLH and so current draw is limited to a minute 10 ma. May be some will power a bit more others not.

Well I have never seen a port actually marked as MHL one or two. I have not seen it referred to in manuals either.

But I think this gets to the bottom of why some devices will not power active cables.

Anyone have a unit that designates HDMI ports as MHL 1 or 2 either on the unit or manual?

I think we are drilling down to the nub of the issue here.
 
O

Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
The design specs for HDMI inputs are very specific, and using those specs, the cable mfrs designed their active chipsets around that. 1080p was never an issue (unless it was a poorly built HDMI cable to begin with). 4k HDR changed all that so the active chip designers developed around that because the 5v HDMI spec didn't change. Some tv's in the past did have MHL ports but the idea of directly connecting phones, tablets, and other mobile devices never really took off so the industry (tv and cable) has focused on HDMI.

I think active cable failures are more due to the cable length, HDMI chipsets at the source/sink end, cable installation, failing chipsets in the cable connectors more than from drawing the minimal power needed for an active cable from the HDMI input.

Bottom line, the industry is not going to change how they use HDMI for a very long time. There's just too much invested in it now to change or even add multiple connection options for all products. Active HDMI cables, be it copper only, fiber, or hybrid fiber are here to stay and will probably be the cable of choice going forward. If the externally powered cables, be it HDBT, Celerity, or even power inverters prove to as robust, generally speaking, as active HDMI cables, then there's a viable option. That's why one needs to plan now for easy access to their cables if they are long runs. Conduit is the mantra!
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
The design specs for HDMI inputs are very specific, and using those specs, the cable mfrs designed their active chipsets around that. 1080p was never an issue (unless it was a poorly built HDMI cable to begin with). 4k HDR changed all that so the active chip designers developed around that because the 5v HDMI spec didn't change. Some tv's in the past did have MHL ports but the idea of directly connecting phones, tablets, and other mobile devices never really took off so the industry (tv and cable) has focused on HDMI.

I think active cable failures are more due to the cable length, HDMI chipsets at the source/sink end, cable installation, failing chipsets in the cable connectors more than from drawing the minimal power needed for an active cable from the HDMI input.

Bottom line, the industry is not going to change how they use HDMI for a very long time. There's just too much invested in it now to change or even add multiple connection options for all products. Active HDMI cables, be it copper only, fiber, or hybrid fiber are here to stay and will probably be the cable of choice going forward. If the externally powered cables, be it HDBT, Celerity, or even power inverters prove to as robust, generally speaking, as active HDMI cables, then there's a viable option. That's why one needs to plan now for easy access to their cables if they are long runs. Conduit is the mantra!
I agree with the conduit and have preached that for years. Don't run any AV cable where you can't get at it without using conduit. No exceptions!

For the rest of your post I remain the skeptic pessimist.

I would say that in reports of AV failures, HDMI board related failures are top of the list. HDMI boards just seem to have a fragility about them as a group. Having worked with electronics over the years, I can confirm that current and that generates heat in devices kills. So I'm not really OK with drawing more current from particularly touchy boards, when it is not sanctioned.

So for $20 bucks I'm going to power my active cables from the external device I sighted above. To me this is a no brainer.
 
O

Otto Plyot

Junior Audioholic
If you believe that using an external power device connected to your active cable will protect the HDMI input then that's fine. It may very well work and there will be no power draw from the HDMI input. I missed your link so I don't what external device you are referring to. I've never had HDMI issues over the years using active cables, copper or hybrid fiber so I'm comfortable with that setup, as are many others. I do like your pics.
 
TLS Guy

TLS Guy

Audioholic Slumlord
If you believe that using an external power device connected to your active cable will protect the HDMI input then that's fine. It may very well work and there will be no power draw from the HDMI input. I missed your link so I don't what external device you are referring to. I've never had HDMI issues over the years using active cables, copper or hybrid fiber so I'm comfortable with that setup, as are many others. I do like your pics.
This is the device. So I think I know what I will do. Hybrid fiber cable and use that powering device. Talking this through in this forum has helped cement the correct decision for me. Thanks everyone who contributed.

That studio was dismantled in the Spring. A new studio/AV room is coming together in our new home. It will be bigger and hopefully better.

Front.



Rear.



More pictures to follow next week.

I have deadened all closed cavities and the sheet rock was hung yesterday. I will be installing the rear back cabinets Tuesday, prior to final measurements for the mill work in the rear of the new studio.

Last room was 7.1 this one will be 7.2.4. It will be 4k and the only new equipment will be the OLED TV, new pre pro and new disc player for the 4 K Atmos. Ceiling speakers will be 4 JW modules in closed boxes in the ceiling. I think I will power those with my old Quad 303 power amps. All the rest of the speakers will be powered by the 7 Quad 909 current dumpers from the last studio. I might use Quad 405-2 current dumpers for the ceiling but likely the Quad 303 as they only need 15 W each and will be crossed out at 120 Hz. That will be the roll off point in those small closed boxes. The quad 303s are 45 watts per channel which is still overkill.
 

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