have become very popular among home theater enthusiast and for good reason. However,
setting up a projector can be difficult because of the long cable runs and high
data rates, both of which work against each other. Designing an HDMI cable that
can perform over these long distances is challenging for manufacturers and often
requires active electronics in the cable to maintain good signal integrity. We
have seen plenty of cables that are marginal in performance that often results
in picture artifacts and dropouts. Recently, several companies have introduced
long HDMI 1.3 compliant cables capable of running 1080p with deep color.
such company is Accell Corporation, a leading supplier of high quality A/V cables
for the audio and home theater market. Accell has recently introduced the UltraRun
1.3, an HDMI cable capable of running up to 25-meters while still maintaining
good signal quality. UltraRun 1.3 cables are HDMI 1.3 Category 2 (High-Speed)
compatible, supporting data rates as high as 6.75 Gbps (225MHz). The cable comes
equipped with a detachable signal repeater designed to boost the differential
HDMI signals and increase performance after long cable runs.
attached HDMI repeater regenerates the electrical signals to improve signal integrity
after they have been sent from a distance of up to 25-meters (82 feet), ensuring
that the display device (in our case a projector) sees valid HDMI (TMDS) signal
levels without errors. The repeater is directional (due to the active electronics)
and its orientation is indicated with an arrow on the body of the unit. While
many solutions exist for sending HDMI signals over long distances, few work well
and those that do carry high price tags. The UltraRun 1.3 cable is very reasonably
priced with an MSRP of $259 for the 10-meter model. Various lengths are available
from 10 to 25-meters in 5-meter increments. The cable design has a screw at one
end that is used to fasten to the repeater module to keep the connector from slipping
out when installed. Accell includes a small switching AC power supply if needed.
Accell UltraRun 1.3 cables features 24K gold-plated connectors and contacts for
long-term reliability of your A/V system. The cable has a Underwriters Laboratories
(UL) Listed CL3 rated jacket making it ideal for in-wall installations. The connector
housing is small, making it easier to pass through walls. Our test cable was the
full 25-meter length, so we were ready to put the cable to the test with some
Full HD 1080p at 24 fps
Blu-ray is the format of choice for high performance
home theater systems. Recently, Warner Brothers tipped the scale and put HD-DVD
on the endangered species list. However, while Sony may have won the battle, they
have not won the war. At least not until Blu-ray becomes accepted by the masses.
So far that has not happened, but hopes are high that as prices of Blu-ray players
drop, more consumers will eventually move towards the new high resolution format.
These new Blu-ray machines have the advantage of playing movies at 24 frames per
second, matching the original film frame rate. This results in video that is smooth
and free of judder (artifacts seen with motion) often seen with traditional DVDs.
For years, movie watchers were subjected to 60 frames per second or worse 30 frames
per second (with interlacing) resulting is a lack of smoothness due to the 3-2
pulldown process needed to convert the two different frame rates. Newer displays
and projectors typically multiply the 24 frames per second rate to prevent flicker
and some even interpolate between frames to try and further increase smoothness.
Regardless of the frame rate, 1080p requires significantly more bandwidth due
to the number of pixels per frame being sent over the HDMI cable.
HD 1080p at 60 Hz
Finding material to push the bandwidth envelope is easy
when playing games. Gaming is largely responsible for driving faster computing
technology along with high performance graphics. While most Hollywood movies run
at 24 frames per second, games such as NBA07 can run 1080p at 60 frames per second.
This more than doubles the bandwidth requirement of the HDMI cable. NBA07 has
some excellent scenes with fine detail and natural looking contours that fully
exercise the display's capabilities. Pushing these high data rates is usually
where many standard HDMI cables begin to fail. Even at these high data rates,
the new 25-meter Accell UltraRun 1.3 HDMI cable we tested never missed a beat
and the video looked flawless at all times. This was very impressive for a 25-meter
HDMI cable with a street price of less than $200.
Accell's new UltraRun 1.3 cables are now available at prices that are very
tough to beat. The performance, design, and value of these cables are unsurpassed
and if you value your home theater system you owe it to yourself to check them
out. We have reviewed many long cables over the past year and the new UltraRun
1.3 is the best value we have seen that is currently available to consumers.