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HDMI Repeater

In case you haven’t been reading the news, HDMI is hot, hot, hot. As this next generation technology takes hold and becomes more mainstream the question of how to boost HDMI signal will become more important. Luckily, we have solutions for every budget.

SW-6261 mdActive HDMI Repeater - $48.95
The first product that comes to my mind is the HDMI Active Repeater with a max distance of 150 feet and a low price of 48.95 it is the cheapest, simplest and smallest active HDMI repeater on the market. Much like the Accell Ultrarun cables the active repeater takes the power available on unused wires in HDMI cables and harnesses it into digitally reproducing the signal.

Active repeaters shouldn’t be confused with repeaters extension which just pumps more power into a signal. Digtal reproduction is superior because when it reproduces the signal without any noise. Because passive repeaters just boost the power of everything in the signal noise is amplified along side the source signal. Because of this passive repeaters can’t reach the same distance that active ones can, nor can they maintain the same amount of quality.

lgDigiMedia HDMI Repeater - $98.95 / Gefen HDMI Repeater - $225.95
In the mid range we have two contenders. The first by Digi Media and the second bySW-6025 lg Gefen. Both these repeaters use Cat 5/6x to achieve their conversions. There are three differences between these two repeaters. The first is distance, the Gefen maxes out at 200 ft while the Digimedia comes in at 162 ft. The second is the name Gefen is a larger, more respected company than Digit Media, but not nessesarly better. Finally, the third difference is price which should be apparent to anyone. All I can say is that usually you get what you pay for, hence the advtange of a trusted name.

Anyway, to the technology. The repeaters convert the HDMI signal into commonly used Cat 5/6x ethernet and use that to cover the distance. The advantage of this is that you save a lot of money on long HDMI cables. You only need two short HDMI cables to make connect afterwards. the other difference is that you can use shielded Cat 5/6 that helps get rid of interference if that is a problem. And a lot of homes and buisnesses are already wired for ethernet so in a lot of situtations you don’t even need to worry about cable installs.

SW-4532-330 lgPurelink HDX HDMI Fiber Repeater - $1649.95
On the highest end of the spectrum for HDMI repeaters is the Purelink HDX HDMI fiber repeater. This is the ultimate in HDMI extension. The Purelink HDX splits up video and audio signals and uses fiber optic cabling to transport it up to 495 feet (special order) Of course this is a powered adapter and requires a 5 V power input.

Obviously you’re going to pay more for this repeater but it has more benifits than just distance. Because the cable uses fiber to cover the majority of distance it isn’t susecptible to EMI or RFI. Drop ceilings are natrorious for being interference zones that mess up digital signals. This could translate to noise and even complete signal loss in copper based cables. Fiber, doens’t have that problem.

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