HDTVs is no easy task when dealing with projectors and flat panels that require
long cable runs. Many companies have come up with clever ways to extend the distance
of HDMI signals going as far as converting the signals to optical. This can get
very costly and require a significant number of active components interfacing
the cables. Cables To Go has introduced a clever design called RapidRun,
a modular cabling system that makes installation a whole lot simpler.
Digital Runner Cable
We received a 50 foot RapidRun Digital
Runner cable along with passive and active Digital HDMI wall plates. This is by
far the best built cable we have seen for consumers and reminds us of commercial
gear. To help facilitate the installation process, the ends of the RapidRun cable
have threaded caps that are capable of 15 pounds of pulling tension when being
installed. What makes the RapidRun Digital Runner so unique is the cable
is designed to fit through ¾-inch conduit, even with a 90-degree sweep.
Unlike HDMI and DVI cables with large connector ends, these cables are actually
easy to install. Due to the length of our RapidRun cable, we required both active
and passive wall plates.
The RapidRun Digital Runner cable is carefully constructed
with four 24 AWG twisted pairs (with Mylar foil and drain wire), a single
24-AWG twisted pair and five single 24 AWG conductors. The four twisted pairs
are optimized (impedance controlled) for TMDS uncompressed digital video which
is used for both HDMI and DVI signaling. This is extremely important if the cable
is to work over any distance. The cable has an overall Mylar foil shield
and tinned copper braid and includes CL-2 rated PVC for in-wall installation.
The cable is significantly thicker than virtually all of the long HDMI cables
we have seen.
The long 50-foot cable has a 19-pin female connector on each end.
This matches the same number of pins found on the HDMI connector. The threaded
tip allows the keyed mating connector on the wall plate to firmly attach itself
and fasten onto the cable connector. Installers will be quite pleased with the
design and ease of installation.
Digital HDMI Wall Plates
The RapidRun cable is designed to
mate with (passive or active) wall plates. These plates fit in a standard J-box
and are compatible with Leviton Decora® brand cover plates. The manufacturer
recommends using an active wall plate on the driving side of the cable if the
cable length exceeds 25-feet. Passive wall plates retail for $70, while the active
wall plates cost considerably more at $180. The installer can configure the system
using the RapidRun
configuration website. The modular design makes it possible to mix and match
DVI-D and HDMI interfaces with the same cable. Terminating the cable is fast and
simple and allows the installer to choose from either breakaway wall plates or
flying leads. Both sides of the connectors have red arrows to make it easy for
the installer to align the keyed connectors before mating.
RapidRun Digital Active Wall Plate is the first HDMI/DVI wall plate solution
with an integrated equalizer/extender that is designed to correct for signal attenuation
and impedance issues. The manufacturer claims that the conditioned signal can
be transmitted over a runner cable as long as 65 feet with resolutions as high
as 1080p. We will see if the product lives up to those claims.
ran a series of tests using the configuration sent to us, which included one active
and one passive wall plate along with a long 50-foot RapidRun cable. The
solid connection at both ends of the cable gave us a good feeling about the long
term reliability of the product. As part of the review we also used a pair of
2-meter SonicWave High-Speed HDMI cables. We connected our Sony
PlayStation 3 console to our Mitsubishi HC5000. We selected 1080p as the video
mode and began testing movies at 1080p/24 and games such as NBA07 at 1080p/60
data rates. In both cases the video looked perfect with no dropouts encountered.
The screen shot shown in the photo is from our Mitsubishi HC5000 and shows the
information received from the PS3 through the long 50-foot RapidRun cable.
It should be noted that the HC5000 projector is capable of displaying Full HD
1080p and has excellent noise margin on the HDMI interface. Many cables claiming
1080p capability fail to work with certain source/projector combinations. It is
always my advice to test the source component, cable and projector as a system
before committing to any cable.
total system cost for this cabling system was just under $474 ($70 + $180 + $224)
and included both passive and active wall plates and a 50-foot digital runner
cable. For those needed a different color, Cables To Go also carries ivory
and black wall plates. The same cable can be used with DVI-D products by just
changing the breakaway cables from HDMI to DVI-D or vice-versa. Non-digital versions
of the runners are also available for sending analog video in the form of composite,
s-video, component, and RGB. The runners use a color coding system to simplify
the installation process and in our case the RapidRun Digital runners were
is no doubt the RapidRun Digital HDMI Cable system is every installers dream.
The robust construction and sturdy design make installation easy and prevents
debris from entering the sensitive connector area. Having run many HDMI and DVI
cables through the walls, I can safely say that this is the most user-friendly
design I have seen thus far. As always, one should minimize the length of these
high speed cables to prevent unnecessary signal loss. However, there will be time
when long cables are necessary, especially when using projectors. The RapidRun
Digital HDMI Cable system proved itself to us on our system and produced reliable