Product Review (June 2008) - Cables To Go
RapidRun™ Digital Runner Cabling System

Installing 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.

RapidRun 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.

Cable Design
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.

Connector Design
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.

RapidRun 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.

The 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.

Performance
We 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.

The 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 coded red.

Conclusion
There 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 video.

- Kevin Nakano





OneCall: Your Home Theater, Digital Camera, and HDTV Experts



Review System

Projector: Mitsubishi HC5000 Full 1080p High-Definition LCD Projector
Screen: Stewart Filmscreen 100" FireHawk Screen on a Luxus Deluxe ScreenWall
Video Processor/Scaler: Anchor Bay Technologies DVDO iScan HD+ A/V Processor
Preamplifier/Processor: Parasound AVC-2500U THX-Ultra DTS/DD Preamp/Processor
Amplification: Parasound HCA-2205AT THX-Ultra Five Channel Amplifier
Bass Management: Miller & Kreisel BMC Mini 5.1 Bass Management Controller
Front Speakers: Miller & Kreisel S-150THX (L+R) and S-150AC (Center) Speakers
Rear Speakers: Miller & Kreisel SS-250 Tripole® Surround Speakers
Subwoofer: Two Miller & Kreisel MX-350THX MkII THX-Ultra Push-pull Subwoofers
Room Treatments: Echo Buster panels and Bass Buster towers
Set-top Box: Dish Network ViP722 HDTV Satellite and Terrestrial Receiver with HDMI
Blu-ray Player: Sony PlayStation3 Blu-ray Player with HDMI
HD-DVD Player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD Player with HDMI
DVD/CD/SACD Player: Sony DVP-NS900V DVD/CD/SACD Player
DVD Audio/Video Player: Kenwood Sovereign DV-5900M 400-Disc DVD Changer
DVD Player: OPPO Digital OPDV971H DVD Player with DVI Output
D-VHS VCR: JVC HM-DH30000U D-VHS High-Definition D-Theater VCR
Media Server: Kenwood Sovereign MRH1 Entre
Remote Control: Remote Technologies Inc. T4 Controller
HDMI Video Switcher: Atlona AT-HDMI41 4:1 HDMI Video Switcher
HDMI Cable: Two SonicWave™ 2-meter High-Speed HDMI™ 1080p Cables
HDMI Cable: VizionWare Hi-Wirez 20-meter Active 1080p Cable
HDMI Cable: Accell UltraRun 45-meter 1080p Cable
DVI Cable: AudioQuest DV-1 20m DVI-D Cable
A/V Cables: Ultralink Platinum and Advanced Performance Series Cables


Review at a glance


Cables To Go - RapidRun™ Digital Runner Cabling System

Features

  • Color Code: Red
  • Connectors include a protective pulling cap capable of 15 pounds of pulling tension
  • Four 24 AWG shielded twisted pairs with drain wire, one 24 AWG twisted pair, five 24 AWG conductors
  • Mylar® foil shield and tinned copper braid overall
  • Supports HDMI and DVI-D high resolution video up to 1080p
  • CL-2 rated for in-wall installations
  • Requires an Active Break-Away on the source end of the installation
  • Requires a Passive Break-Away on the display end of the installation



  • RapidRun™ Digital Runner Cable (50-Feet)

    Product Number: 40862
    List Price: $223.99


    RapidRun™ Digital HDMI Passive Wall Plate – White

    Product Number: 40856
    List Price: $69.99


    RapidRun™ Digital HDMI Active Wall Plate - White

    Product# : 40855
    List Price: $179.99