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Opinion: Ready, willing and cable

James Chen, managing director of Kordz, explains how to achieve assured connectivity, whatever the application, with reliable HDMI cabling.

James Chen, managing director of Kordz, explains how to achieve assured connectivity, whatever the application, with reliable HDMI cabling

HDMI cables are to AV systems as nerves are to the human body. If a nerve is not functioning properly, and the information the brain is sending or receiving is not accurate, that part of the body may not function as it should. In an AV system environment, if an HDMI cable is not made properly (to HDMI specifications or certification), is damaged or is underspecified, then the system will inherently suffer issues. By making the right HDMI cable choice, integrators and installers will make their lives easier and ensure a reliable ‘nervous system’ for their projects for years to come.

Installation challenges

There are a range of key features to look out for when selecting a cable. First, flexibility in the cable is needed to ensure it can be easily manoeuvred into place without damaging it. A small connector shell is also advantageous; this allows the cable to fit into tight space applications or a congested rack. Once your cable is in place, connector retention will ensure the connector doesn’t release from the socket too easily. A connector should fit into a socket such that it cannot be easily removed with the slightest amount of pull pressure. For example, when you are cleaning around a set of equipment, you may disconnect accidentally. A quality connector will have a retention force that keeps the connector in the socket. These connectors are made within a micro-millimetre of the required specification. Not all manufacturers engineer and produce their products to this detail – so be sure to check.

Another important factor to consider is the head shell pull strength. This allows integrators and installers to pull long lengths without damaging the cable. Grip-tab head shells make the job of removing cable from a component a much simpler task. In addition, some manufacturers pre-test cables to provide further piece of mind.

Saving money on a project is critical to profitability, but using poor-quality components can and will erode the saving very quickly as soon as an issue arises. Cables are most critical when they have been run through walls and ceilings, where to replace a faulty or incorrectly specified cable could see the profit quickly disappear once a replacement is needed. Each service call to resolve an issue comes at a cost to a business, and the use of poor-quality cables is well known by the discerning integrator to cause many issues.

Many integrators see an HDMI cable as a very basic part of an AV system and may not have the knowledge or training to understand the importance of its role. More experienced integrators will have learned to appreciate the value of this component. One of the ways to further educate and inform the industry is through marketing material that makes sense of the technology and is sourced from reputable authorities such as DPL Labs, THX or HDMI Licensing, test instrument manufacturers like Quantum Data and Murideo, or industry associations such as AVIXA and CEDIA.

Moving forward

With the increasing demand on the industry for higher data rate transfer on HDMI cables – and potentially other cables also – it’s important that integrators are provided with the products that meet their requirements. The goal for manufacturers such as Kordz is to provide reliable and capable products for the industry, while keeping a step ahead of the latest technology to bring it to market as soon as possible. Furthermore, it’s important to keep up to date by meeting with industry peers and partners, as well as attending education programmes from industry associations. Sourcing appropriate reference material from leading global manufacturers, engineers and companies is another way to help to meet the challenge of being a reputable cable manufacturer.

With the introduction of new technology, there will always be challenges. But with each challenge, there is an opportunity to provide the industry with additional reliable products to meet the demand of these technologies. With so many new combinations of products available, cabling quality is now more critical than ever in every application. For manufacturers, the challenge is to ensure that they are not only at the forefront in connecting this technology together, but that they are able to provide solid, reliable solutions to meet the needs of the industry users. It’s important for them to continue to focus on enhancing quality and developing more cabling products for the latest available technologies.