Do HDMI Extenders Reduce Data Quality?

hdmi extender quality and distance

HDMI extender could be a stand-alone HDMI extender (eg. over CAT cable), an HDMI repeater/booster, an HDMI extension cable, or even an HDMI coupler that simply connects two HDMI cables to make it longer.

Yes, I started to realize that when people talk about “HDMI extender”, they are not always talking about the same thing. Do HDMI extenders reduce quality? The answer could be quite different then.

HDMI Extender, Extension Cable, Repeater & Booster

HDMI extender, extension cable, HDMI repeater/booster, and HDMI coupler do help extend the distance for data transmission. However, they deal with signals in different ways and the performance varies a lot. That is what we are going to discuss.

HDMI extender

HDMI extenders

Strictly, HDMI Extender refers to stand-alone boxes (often with a transmitter and receiver) that transfer HDMI signals into different types of data. And they could be transmitted by an ethernet cable (CAT cable), a fiber cable, or through wifi.

According to what they are transferred to, there are four types of HDMI extenders – HDBaseT extender, wireless extender, fiber extender, and extender over IP.

HDMI extension cable

HDMI Extension cable is a normal HDMI cable with a male and a female connector on each side. You can connect it with another HDMI cable to form a longer one. Or you can plug it in a hidden HDMI port and extend the interface out for easy access (just like the free HDMI extender from Roku for Roku stick streaming).

This extension cable runs just for a short distance (often within 10 meters) as it is still an HDMI cable without any built-in feature. And if you want to run your cable over a long distance, HDMI is not built for this.

HDMI repeater/booster

HDMI repeater, also known as a booster, is a coupler that connects an HDMI cable on both sides. Compared to a simple HDMI coupler, a repeater/booster amplifies HDMI signal before it gets too weak to work on the other end of the device. It comes with a power adapter that fuels the voltage for stable data transmission.

Do HDMI Extenders Reduce Quality?

Since you are looking for an HDMI extension solution, you are getting the data travel for a longer distance. And naturally, data reduces as it goes over distance. Hence, the key is if the “HDMI extender” can counteract this process better and get data to the other end with good-enough quality.

How does an HDMI extender work

HDMI extender is the best solution for long-distance cable extension (from 100 ft. up to a striking 10km if you are using a fiber extender over IP). If you have read the article Four Types of HDMI Extenders to Extend Your HDMI Cables, you would know that different types of HDMI extenders work differently to get data over the other side. 

Well, the same thing is, they have data in the HDMI cable transferred into another form and the data will travel for a longer distance with less loss than in a copper HDMI cable. Simply put, this HDMI extender turns signals into a more efficient runner and returns them back to the origin as it hits the destination.

how does an hdmi extender work

Advantages
HDMI extender is powerful not only for the striking distance it goes but also for the rich features that are built in different models. For example: 

  • You can extend not only HDMI but IR signals, and audio signals and have an audio return channel for your home theater with this ARC HDMI extender.
  • HDMI KVM extenders extend both HDMI and USB signals.
  • HDMI extenders over IP can be connected to an ethernet switch and form a matrix that can flexibly work as a signal splitter and switcher.


Generally, HDMI extenders over Ethernet are widely used in families and offices where the network is already set up and Ethernet cables are standing by your electronic devices for connection.

HDMI repeater, booster, or coupler
If you want to extend the cable over 200 feet, you may need to daisy-chain multiple repeaters and have each of them connected to power because the amplification must be executed before the data is too weak to restore.

If you have an HDMI cable and it is so close but still falls short of your aim, you may rummage another cable out and connect them with an HDMI booster or a coupler. That is economical.

Only you shall be careful about the specification details as data transmission is a field full of protocols. Adding an intermediary device is like putting a node on the path. For example, if your device does not support a feature like HDCP, you can only enjoy an error screen while streaming protected content like that on Netflix.

You may be interested in: What’s HDCP?  

Conclusion

A repeater/coupler is an easy solution if you want to extend your cable some feet longer and do not expect any advanced features for your setup. However, if the connection is a long-term need and the video quality matters, I would recommend you to get a reliable HDMI extender. 

AV Access is a professional brand that offers ProAV and AVIP products for A/V installation. Our HDMI extenders, switches, and splitters are well designed for construction in commercial venues, homes, schools, governments & institutes.

If you have any problems with our product, please feel free to contact us at [email protected] and find us in the AV Access community.

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