Peer Review- Gefen EXT-HDTV-CAT-5 Extender
This is a great solution in projects where the run is too long for traditional HDMI cables. It’s also perfect for runs through conduit or in any situation where the connectors on HDMI cables would be difficult to work with.
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Peer Reviewer:Mark Schneider, founder, Cable Solutions, Richmond, TX. Cable Solutions offers custom-made cables, interconnects, wires, and related electronics and accessories to resellers, custom installers, and retail customers.
My Pick: Gefen EXT-HDTV-CAT-5 Extender, $499 MSRP
What I Like About It: This high-quality device makes it simple to connect HDMI equipment over distances up to 45 meters (or about 150 feet). The transceiver units are small and lightweight, and the package includes mounting plates for easy mounting to a surface.
Bandwidth: 1.65 GHz
Single Link Range: 1080p/1920×1200
Input Video Signal: 1.2 Vp-p
Input DDC Signal: 5 Vp-p (TTL)
Power Consumption: 15 W (max.) Dimensions (HxWxD): 1.25 x 3.25 x 3.4 inches Shipping Weight: 3 pounds
This is a great solution in projects where the run is too long for traditional HDMI cables. It’s also perfect for runs through conduit or in any situation where the connectors on HDMI cables would be difficult to work with. It can also be more economical than traditional cables — particularly in the longer lengths, or in projects where a booster or repeater would otherwise be required.
I Would Change: I only wish that Gefen would offer a configuration suitable for mounting in a standard double-gang electrical box. I commonly use these units for runs to a wall-mounted monitor or to a ceiling-mounted projector. My goal is a clean installation, but in some cases, there’s no ideal place to put the receiver unit (as small as it is). On the transmitter end, the power supply must also be considered. In most cases there’s a place to hide it in the equipment closet, rack, or cabinet, but I’ve done several installations in churches and large multi-purpose rooms where they typically just roll a cart with a laptop or DVD player to a location near a wall jack. So, it would be nice to have the option to mount the extender units behind a wall plate.
Where I Used It: I used Gefen EXT-HDTV-CAT-5 extenders in a home theater installation in Sugar Land, TX.
My Results: In this installation, the customer had an equipment rack in a dedicated home theater room. I needed to distribute HDMI to a projector and a second plasma monitor in the same room, as well as to a plasma monitor in the bar area and an LCD monitor in the kitchen. I used the Gefen EXT-HDMI-144 splitter to distribute the HDMI signal to the four monitors. The cable run to the first plasma monitor was less than 5 meters (16 feet), so I handled that run with a Gefen CAB-HDMI-15MM HDMI cable. The projector needed a 16-meter (52-foot) run; the bar monitor was about 25 meters (82 feet); and the kitchen was about 35 meters (115 feet), so I handled all of those runs with the Gefen EXT-HDTV-CAT-5 extenders.
In short, the Gefen EXT-HDTV-CAT-5 extender has worked very well in every installation that I’ve had the pleasure to use it in. Video quality has proven to be flawless at all HDTV resolutions, including 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p. It also works well in mixed HDMI/DVI environments, such as with an HDMI source component and a DVI monitor.
Cat5 cables are inexpensive and easy to run, so the reduced material and labor costs easily justify the cost of the system in many installations. Gefen recommends a shielded Cat5 cable for the video run, but I’ve also installed the device using existing standard Cat5 cables with great results.
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