HDMI can deliver great picture and sound from a single cable while providing the copyright protection demanded by content creators. When the HDMI was developed, the creators assumed that the display would be near the source. In most homes this assumption was correct because the video display, which is usually a TV, is located only a few feet away from the cable box, video game, or Blu-ray player.
However, with the growth of both the custom integration and the projector markets, the demand for longer and longer HDMI cables continues to grow as well. 4K HDR video, which is part of the HDMI 2.0 standard, also demands much higher bandwidth capability than 1080P due to increase in resolution, and color depth. In addition, a HDMI cable must also transfer additional data like HDCP copyright protection and HDR metadata and high-resolution multi-channel audio.
The ability for a HDMI cable to deliver high bandwidth drops as the distance gets longer. High quality passive HDMI cables can reliability deliver 18Gbps which is the maximum bandwidth of HDMI 2.0 content for about 10 to 15 meters. Over the years, different solutions have been developed for applications requiring longer HDMI lengths and each solution has its pros and cons.
This award goes to projectors that are a cut above but may have a rough edge. Or, it may go to a high quality, but specialized product.
One solution is active HDMI cables where the signal is amplified to ensure maximum bandwidth. These cables can be extremely expensive and you would also have to run a new cable through the wall, so the labor cost is another factor. Also, many active HDMI cables are powered by the 5V supplied by the display’s HDMI input. This voltage can drift causing sporadic video drop out and sync issues.
Another solution is HDMI extenders where the video information is transferred from a transmitter to a receiver via an inexpensive ethernet cable. HDMI extenders vary widely in price and performance. Lower end solutions don’t support important feature like 18Gbps, HDCP 2.2 and ARC
ZIGEN offers several HDBaseT HDMI extenders to fit just about any application but in this review we are going to focus on the Zigen ZIG-POEPRO-70A which is can deliver a 1080P signal up to 70 meters/230 feet and a 4K@60P up to 40 meters/ 130 feet away which should be more than enough distance for most home/business applications. If more distance is required, Zigen also offers the ZIG-POEPRO-100A which is good up to 100meters/328 feet for 1080P and 70meters/230 feet for 4K@60P via a single CAT6a. In addition to 18Gbps, the ZIG-POEPRO-70A supports all the HDR formats including Dolby Vision, HLG, and HDR10 as well as well as other features like Bi-directional IR/RS232.
HDMI extenders require power and sometimes you must connect both the transmitter and receiver to a power outlet. Since the ZIG-POEPRO-70A features POE, only the transmitter needs to be connected to a power outlet and the receiver is powered via the Ethernet cable. This feature simplifies installation since you don’t have worry about hiding a large power adapter behind a video display.