What to look out for with AV Connectivity
Audio cables need to have strong connectivity both from the inner cable to connector and connector onto equipment. This should include a tight pin for positive terminal and tight outer ring for the negative terminal. Gold plating gives long life by preventing material corrosion, which would inhibit signal performance. Cable construction must be of OFC copper in 26 or 28AWG overall size for both inner conductor and the shield, and with this construction, cable lengths of up to 20 metres can be tolerated.
Speaker cables are usually driven by the system power so where 18AWG gauge cables might be suitable for small speakers up to 50watt a small room, 16AWG or 14AWG is a more common size for 8 ohm or 100v systems up to 150 or 200 Watts. As these are usually contained cables then these are also more likely to be subject to Euroclass requirements. Speaker cables are not usually restricted by lengths and runs up to 50m can be used.
Coaxial Cables are usually chosen for the application such as CCTV, Satellite or TV installations. Although some cables perform better at longer lengths than others, this is not usually a driving factor in cable choice as it’s more down to the attenuation performance required for the application.
HDMI Cables are fussy beasts and the HDMI signal itself is quite complex. For example, where you might terminate audio cables, speaker cables or coaxial cables with your own connector after routing, that is not something to ever consider for HDMI as the signal is far too complex and sensitive for this. With 19 pins in use, not only does it feature multiple pins but is also complicated by the very nature of how it works. When you plug a cable in or turn on a piece of equipment, up to three signal handshakes need to take place before a full signal will even get passed down the cable.
How it’s made, matters!
Construction of the cables makes a key difference in performance from using stranded cores within the data cables to using solid cores. How each pair is foil wrapped and the sizing of each core all makes for a cable that performs well or doesn’t. It is also about speed of data and whilst many debate, “its digital so will either work or won’t” that’s not quite true. Whilst an initial picture might be established using an economical solution, if using with picture sources that are delivering high resolution, fast moving scenes, poor performing connectivity can let the end result down resulting in picture juddering or the loss of pixels of information during an essential movie scene.
HDMI and the bigger picture
HDMI Connectivity is also subject to different system requirements from individual equipment to a local TV, to full HDMI Distribution across a large building. In all instances good cables are essential, but then other hardware comes into play such as HDMI Distribution over IP or HDMI Extenders, and the performance of these also needs careful scrutiny to achieve success.
Generally, when dealing with HDMI distribution systems, this will also involve data cables being used for the core back bone of a network. Ideally these should be HDBaseT approved Cat6 cables but any reputable CAT6 UTP cable solid code will provide a good basis for optimum performance.
Use a quality brand
Install a quality brand, such as Aura, that knows how to define its products for best performance and ease of installation. Cables should always use OFC copper materials with enough copper strands and size to give good performance over reasonable distances. Well shielded cables should always be selected to avoid outside inference from disturbing the signal along with flexible sheaths that allow for best routing.
Performance of accessories is also a key element; these can sometimes be used to achieve connectivity over large buildings and can also become a weak link if not specified correctly. Choosing accessories such as HDMI extenders that perform well against the system requirements can prevent embarrassing end results and ensure confidence with the finished system installation.
The Aura brand is a quality solution with an excellent product choice, with the added advantage that all or the products are delivery in 100% plastic free packaging- a first for the AV market.
To find out more visit www.aura-av.com