What impact does HDMI 1.4 have on cables?
There were no changes from v1.3 to v1.4 in the requirements for bandwidth (340MHz) or data-rate (10.2Gbps).

The HDMI v1.4 specification has 3 new features related to cables. The first is the new HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) technology which provides a means to link an HDMI cable to multiple network devices that can then share one internet connection. This requires an HDMI cable that has one extra shielded, twisted-pair of conductors. The Second is the addition of a new micro HDMI connector that will be used for connecting to mobile devices. Lastly there is a new type-E locking connector specifically designed for automotive installations.

What effect does 3-D have on cables?
As it turns out, not much, any “certified” High Speed HDMI cable will successfully conduct a 3-D signal.

What is the difference between a “High Speed” HDMI cable and a “Standard Speed” HDMI cable?
Today, the challenge for consumers is to determine if a cable is “High Speed”, “Standard Speed”, “High Speed with Ethernet”, or “Standard Speed with Ethernet”. These “speed” terms have been mandated by HDMI LLC, the licensing division of HDMI, to be the only descriptions that may be used by manufacturers and resellers to describe the performance capability of an HDMI cable. Simply put: “Standard Speed” designates cables that are tested and certified to pass a minimum of 720p or 1080i HDMI signal (74.5 MHz bandwidth and 2.25Gbps data rate). “High Speed” designates a cable that is tested and certified to pass an HDMI signal up to 1440p (340MHz and 10.2Gbps data rate).

What differentiates great cables from just OK cables?
The purpose of an interconnect cable is to get a signal from one component to another. The amount of change in that signal when it arrives at the destination component in comparison to what it was when it left the source component is the measure of the “performance quality” of the cable. A “perfect” cable would produce no change. However, we know that there is no such thing as a “perfect” cable. Therefore, the least amount of change that occurs in a cable determines the “performance quality” of that cable. Signal changes that occur in a cable are a result of three major factors; capacitance, inductance and resistance, collectively known as impedance. The control of those three parameters will determine the amount of influence they exert on the signal in the cable. One other influence on the performance of a cable is electromagnetic interference or EMI. This can add noise; audio, video or digital, to the signal. Impedance and EMI can be controlled by the proper selection of materials, precise manufacturing standards and paying careful attention to the laws of physics. Tributaries cables are designed to be as neutral as possible making the least amount of change to the delivered signal.

What is the best method to cable a remote display that requires HDMI?
The best method will always be to use an HDMI cable. Look for cables that have a UL® CL2 jacket specifically certified for installing in the wall. However, HDMI cables do have limitations in regards to length. One of the most important factors in the performance of a long length HDMI cable is the gauge of the conductors. By using a heavier gauge conductor an HDMI High Speed signal (up to 340MHz/10.2Gbps/1080p/3-D/Deep Color) can be sent a distance of 8 meters (26 ft) while a Standard Speed HDMI signal (up to 74.5MHz/2.23Gbps/720p/1080i/8-bit color) can go to a distance of 15 meters (49 ft). With the addition of Tributaries new Go! Technology™, a passive network inserted in the display-end HDMI connector, a High Speed signal can now be extended to 12 meters (39ft) and a Standard Speed signal can go to 25 meters (82ft).

If the distance requirement is longer than 12m (High Speed) or 25m (Standard Speed), we recommend using an active Transmitter/Receiver electronic solution such as an HDMI over dual CAT5E/CAT6 or HDMI over 5 coax cables . These types of repeater products work well with High Speed HDMI signals up to 45 meters for CAT5E/CAT6 and 100 meters for the 5 coax cable solutions. However, when sending deep color signals of 12-bit or higher, the maximum length, due to bandwidth limitations, will be shortened by about 1/3. Technology is changing very quickly and there are some new products just becoming available that will send HDMI to even longer distances. HDBaseT™ can send HDMI signals to a distance of 300ft using a single CAT6 and 3GSDI supports HDMI up to 500ft over a single RG6 coax cable. Devices for sending HDMI over single CAT5/CAT6 are also becoming available.

One note of caution, there are a number of these devices being marketed in the US that are “knock-offs”. They are manufactured by companies in Asia that are not HDMI licensed or HDMI certified and being illegally imported into the US and sold mainly on the internet. Check with the seller that the unit bears the HDMI® logo and a copy of the HDMI Authorized Testing Center (ATC) certification is available for examination.

Adding electronics to the mix adds an additional planning requirement for powering the units and identifying compatibility issues with other components. It is always advisable to pretest a system before installing the wiring in the wall. Choosing the best method for installing long runs of HDMI depends on the particular environment and system requirements. The good news is there are a lot of great solutions available to choose from to fit most every type of installation.

What new products is Tributaries working on?
Currently, we are in the process of developing electronics for extending HDMI over HDBaseT and over 3GSDI as well as using these new technologies in distribution products like splitters and Matrix switchers.

What makes Tributaries cables and HDMI electronics products different from its competitors?
For cables see #4. For HDMI electronics, we choose never to be 1st to market with HDMI electronics. The chip sets that determine performance in these products need to go through an evolution process to realize the full potential of the technology. At Tributaries, we like to wait for the new models to get through the “break-in” period before we bring models out for sale. As a second precaution, each and every HDMI cable, and HDMI electronics are hand-tested, under real-world conditions before they are shipped to our dealers; 100% quality control. If the HDMI over CAT5E electronics has a max length of 300ft, that’s how we test each and every one using a Blu-ray player and a 1080p LCD screen. The unit must produce a perfect picture or it is rejected and not sold. Does this mean that every cable or every piece of electronics that Tributaries sells won’t fail? It’s impossible to guarantee that every piece of equipment will be 100% reliable. However, it is possible to build a company that is 100% reliable. That is why so many Custom Install companies and Specialty Audio/Video Retailers have chosen Tributaries as their featured brand of wire and cable products.

If you’re considering having a system installed in your home, choose an Electronic System Contractor (ESC) who understands the intricacies of HDMI. Check the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association website www.cedia.net for a certified ESC near you.

What is the future for HDMI?
The latest specification of HDMI version 1.4, will take us well into the future. It can handle networking HDMI electronics and connecting them to the internet as well as provide a method of transferring future resolutions up to 1440p and 2K x 4K and data-rates up to at least 10.2Gbps.

What can we expect from HDBaseT?
HDBaseT™ technology was introduced earlier this year by some of the major electronics manufacturers. Along with a digital signal capability, it can also carry power over a single CAT6 cable. This opens new possibilities such as powering remote devices without having to have AC available at the remote location. Also the distance of the cable run is much longer than with traditional HDMI electronics; presently 330ft. Eventually, HDBaseT™ could be built into source and display units therefore requiring only a single CAT6 cable for connection. And so it goes. What a great industry, constantly changing always for the better.

Joe Perfito
After achieving a B.S.E.E degree from NYU and 5 years as an instructor pilot in the USAF, Joe Perfito began his career in the audio industry in 1968 as a salesman at The Stereo Shop in Hartford, CT and soon after at The Stereo Shops of Massachusetts in Newton Center, MA, both family businesses. In 1975, Joe was hired by McIntosh Laboratory, Inc, of Binghamton, NY, as the Southeastern US Factory Representative and later as National Sales Manager. Joe continued with McIntosh for 15 years. In 1989, with the death of McIntosh’s long-time President and Joe’s mentor, Gordon Gow, Joe decided to leave McIntosh. Joe and his sister, Pam Gow, Gordon’s widow, founded Gordon J. Gow Technologies, Inc, in 1991, as a “Tribute” to Gordon. The mission of the company was to supply high quality audio and video interconnect cables and speaker wire at reasonable prices with performance and designs based on scientific principles rather than smoke and mirrors or opinions masquerading as fact. This concept was immediately accepted by many A/V retailers providing the sales for the company to grow at 50% – 60% per year. The name “Tributaries” was chosen for its identification with rivers/wires and flowing information and because of its link to the “Tribute”. Today, Tributaries has well over 600 retailer/installer/integrator customers throughout the US and has established a strong network of international distributors throughout the world.