We’ve been away a bit to focus on working at our new cable products that we’re sure you’d love when they finally arrive. To make up for our absent, we’d like to share with you an announcement by the HDMI Org. about active (long) cable certification.
For some who does not know yet, Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program now includes Active HDMI Cables. The details are all specified in the new Premium HDMI Cable Specification Version 1.1. This was announced back in May. Apparently many in the industry didn’t notice it. We’re here to provide more information on the subject.
What are Active Cables?
Active cable, as you know, is a kind of cable that has active electronic circuitry embedded in its connector to boost or clean incoming high speed signal. When it goes out at the other end, the signal is still recognizable by the receiver. You use active cable technology to extend the length of the cable. It is very useful in establishments that needs to connect devices that are very far from each other.
For example, a presenter in an auditorium wants to connect her PC to the projector hanging in the middle of the room. How do you she can do that? Only long cables can do the job. Can you imagine other scenarios where you need to connect two or more devices that are very from from each other.
In comparison, the ordinary HDMI cable people buy are just around one meter to two meters long. In some cases the average consumer need HDMI cables that are about three to five meters long especially if they have a very wide living room. For those scenarios, you do not need active cables, just your ordinary “passive” wire cable would suffice.
Need for further testing
Still, it doesn’t mean that all active HDMI cables are without problem. There are many that fails at 18Gbps speed. Sometimes they also provoke failures when they take too much power from the source’s +5V pin. Indeed there are a lot of posers out there that claims they have the perfect long “active cable” for you. There is no assurances though, so you are at the mercy of these suppliers and their sales agents.
HDMI Org. is trying to fix this so they added “active HDMI cables” in their Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program which includes testing as one of the requirements:
“Now active HDMI Cables are part of the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program, allowing active cables to be tested to ensure they support the full 18Gbs bandwidth and have low EMI to minimize interference with wireless signals.” ~ HDMI Org.
Other features and requirements of the certification program includes the following:
- Administered by the agent for the HDMI specification
- That requires every length of every model line to be tested
- That requires each cable to be tested at an official HDMI Authorized Test Center
- That regularly audits cables for continuing test compliance throughout the life of the product
- That requires a proprietary anti-counterfeiting label on each product
- That uses a proprietary 2-level commercial grade mobile scanning app available for Android and Apple and also in the top 10 China app stores
Long cables have important use cases so they will not go away, at least not in the near future. Usually these long cables use active electronic circuitry to clean signals, so they are more complicated to make. With the added complications there are more possibilities to get it wrong — and all the more reason to do the testing. This usually drives the price up for long cables, so buying the wrong cable can be doubly expensive. HDMI Org. has done its part by creating the certification program. All that’s left is for the consumers to do their part — buy only compliant products.