by Ralph Parrett
Liberty AV Solutions' Director of Quality & Technical Services

Liberty has a long tradition of supporting the custom installation market for audio and video. We'll deliver the raw components for install, partially build products, custom kit products, or supply the completed product. Now we get to apply that same service to HDMI and DVI installations.

First though, a little cable education regarding HDMI.

HDMI and cables have had a lot of industry noise for many years now. HDMI changed the way they refer to cables and the specification number (that pesky 1.2, 1.3, 1.4 number) is now a non-issue with cables. Instead the cables are categorized by their data throughput and features. No cable should ever be called a "1.3 cable" or a "1.4 cable".

There are five cable and interconnect ratings:

Top of the line with all features:High Speed HDMI® with Ethernet.
Top of the line: High Speed HDMI®
Normal with all features:Standard HDMI® with Ethernet
Normal: Standard HDMI®

The Ethernet versions support what HDMI calls the HEAC channel. This is 100BaseT Ethernet and Bi-directional audio. Not many applications can use this cable yet but it is 100% backwards compatible to the non-Ethernet cables. The cable design is slightly different with 5 shielded TMDS pairs versus the standard cable's 4 pairs.

The speed rating refers to the data rate. Standard HDMI is 2.25 Gbps. A 2.25 Gbps signal supports up to 1080p24 8-bit color. High Speed is 10.2 Gbps. This supports all 3D formats, 4Kx2K resolution, Deep Color. Both cable types support all known HDMI supported audio formats.

Cable education done (Don't even ask if it's 1.4 J)

Liberty has a number of solutions to assist the custom installer.

Our newest products are field terminable HD cables. These HDMI cables are built from fully HDMI compliant products. The connectors and the bulk cable are HDMI certified and approved. The final product built by the installer cannot be called HDMI certified because these cables are terminated in the field. They have to be submitted to an ATC (Authorized Test Center) in order to be called compliant. This unique cable design is different then previous versions on the market before due to the use of Flat Ribbon Cable (FRC). FRC has excellent performance due to its construction. Those claims of Flat HDMI cable performing better then round cables actually have some merit. This new design reduces the chances of crossing wires and getting opens or shorts on the cables.

The field terminable HD system has some system tricks and best practices. Full 10.2 Gbps High Speed HDMI® with Ethernet is supported up to 16.5 feet (5m). 1080p is supported up to 30 feet (9m). Standard HDMI® with Ethernet is supported to 55 feet (17m). The installer can add an in-line equalizer (DL-HDMEXT) to support 1080p to 55 feet.

Another great field install application is our Digital EZ-LINX line. This line uses a low profile 19-Pin DIN to connect the different ends. The umbilical side is available in 6, 8, 10, 12, 15, and 20 meter lengths and the lead is 1/2 meter. The bulk cable is UL listed for in-wall installs in both the US and Canada. The DIN connector diameter over the molding is a tiny 16mm (.610-inch) making this easy to pull down 3/4" EMT conduit or any other tight spaces. We have both HDMI and DVI formats. The DVI version is DVI digital single link. This line is Standard HDMI® with Ethernet capable. An installer can also create an HDMI to DVI cable by swapping ends; just remember that no audio is transmitted when using DVI. We've added a faceplate mounted female HDMI lead to this line and integrated this into our PanelCrafters WeBlox choices. If you find the field terminable HD too time consuming then this pre-fabricated modular HDMI / DVI system may be a better choice for the install.

Liberty's addition of field terminable HD products also opens up another solution for our customers. We can now custom terminate HDMI cables in our manufacturing facility at Colorado Springs to any length a customer requests. We have a full HDMI testing set up to verify data rates to 5 Gbps (1080p60 8-bit color is 4.85 Gbps). We can offer a number of solutions with this capability. Custom length cables, one end terminated tailed cables, cables into harnesses and bundles. Any option a customer would need to introduce efficiency into their install.

Additional information:

Liberty has a wide range of pre-made HDMI and DVI interconnection cables ready for the installer. These are ready to install and no termination is required.

From Good to Best:

E-HDM-M-(length) is our standard HDMI® with Ethernet line. Lengths are 1-20 meters. These are UL and CSA listed for in-wall installs (CL2 and FT4 ratings).

EZ-HDM-(length) and EZ-DVI-(length) is the Digital EZ-LINX versions of the E-HDM-M line. These feature the DIN 19 coupling to pull through tight spaces. These are also standard HDMI® with Ethernet.

E-HDSM-M-(length) is our High Speed HDMI® line. Lengths are 1-10 meters. These are UL and CSA listed for in-wall installs (CL2 and FT4 ratings). The 10 meter cable has non-directional equalization chipsets installed in both ends. We have a complimentary Home Theater version of this product called the DLX-HDSM-(length) with metal shelled connector hoods and aesthetically attractive black and violet mesh netting.

E-HDSEM-M-(length) is our High Speed HDMI® with Ethernet line. Lengths are 1-20 meters. These are UL and CSA listed for in-wall installs (CL2 and FT4 ratings). The 10 and 12 meter cables have non-directional equalization chipsets installed in both ends. The 15 and 20 meter have directional chipsets installed and must be plugged in correctly to work.

Our newest two lines are the Plenum HDMI cables. The copper cable family is item P-HDM-M-(length). P-HDM-M-(length) is length dependant for the features. 3 to 8 meter cables are High Speed HDMI® with Ethernet, 10 and 12 meter cables are Standard HDMI® with Ethernet. 15 to 30 meter units are in development and will use chipsets.

Item 15100M***BKA01 is our Plenum Fiber Optic HDMI cables. These are available in lengths from 20 meters to 100 meters. These are complete interconnects that can be pulled and installed in all NEC regulated installations - plenum and non-plenum. These items are High Speed HDMI® rated and support 4Kx2K, all 3D, and all Deep Color applications. Using Fiber instead of copper eliminates any cable attenuation issues and this cable can replace entire media converter systems and all the extra hardware required. The form factor is very, very small and the cable is the same diameter as a good Category 5e cable!