HDMI and flexibility - HDMI backwards compatibility and cable lengths
On the surface, a conversation about backwards compatibility and cable lengths may seem like an unusual combination, but the reality is that you need to make sure any HDMI deployment is flexible, particularly if you are building the system in a commercial setting. With flexibility in mind, it is important to understand how HDMI works in regards to both backward compatibility and extending the cabling system over long distances.
HDMI and backwards compatibility This one is simple, all newer versions of HDMI cables are backwards compatible with older solutions. This means that you can install new HDMI solutions in place of older ones without worry. You also know that making an investment in HDMI now probably won't prevent you from making HDMI-related upgrades in the future.
HDMI and cable run distances Can you run HDMI cables over a long distance? This is an important question in many situations, but especially for organizations that want to use HDMI to connect projectors, which are often mounted on the ceiling of the room, with playback devices that are often a significant distance away. One of the nice features about HDMI cables is that they are built with standard copper cabling frameworks, so you can freely extend them up to 10 meters without any problems.
Getting beyond 10 meters - extenders and built-in equalizers There are two primary ways to extend HDMI beyond 10 meters. The first is through various extension methods. Because HDMI uses standard copper cabling you can use CAT 5 or CAT 6 wiring, or even fiber if you are willing to deal with signal conversion, to go past 10 meters.
Built-in equalizerscan be an easier option if you only need a few extra meters. Some endpoints, such as televisions and projectors, feature built-in signal equalizers that maximize the strength of the signal moving over the cable and make it possible to extend the signal beyond 10 meters without too much trouble.