Where can you get a 200′ HDMI cable?

It’s a trick question. HDMI cables can’t go much further than fifty feet, and that’s by design. HDMI is designed to be a secure, two-way format where the TV and the output device (the satellite box, the streaming device, etc.) are in constant contact. Long cables mean too much time spent waiting and the system will simply not work. This is actually how it’s supposed to work… the designers of the HDMI standard figured that if the output device lost communication with the TV then there must be piracy taking place. It’s an inconvenience that we all live with because a few studio heads and a few bad apples can’t agree.

There is something you can do, but it’s not cheap: Use an HDBaseT connection to send signal up to 200 feet using plain old Ethernet cable. Solid Signal has a large variety of HDBaseT products including this complete package from CableTronix that gives you everything but the cable. Of course you would choose the length of cable you need for your particular need.

Setup is easy: the transmitter and receiver are plugged in, and HDMI cables are run to the output device and the TV. The transmitter and receiver are connected by Ethernet cable. If you choose, you can get an IR receiver and blaster and connect them as well so the remote can be used at the TV to control the output device.

With most HDBaseT devices, you must use a dedicated cable, but newer, more expensive HDBaseT 2.0 devices are available that let you use the same cable you use for your building’s wired network. This can be convenient in large, prewired buildings, but the devices are usually about ten times the price. Hopefully that will change in the future.

HDBaseT works because the transmitter and receiver fool the output device and TV into thinking that they are talking to each other, while most of the communication stays on one side of the Ethernet cable or the other. The data that passes over the Ethernet cable is still encrypted and it’s not normal network communication, so don’t think that the door is wide open to piracy with this technology. It’s designed to be just as secure as regular old HDMI.

HDBaseT can make wiring easier in bars and restaurants, as well as commercial buildings, and it can even help in large homes where you want to put all your stuff in a media closet. If you are able to keep the distances under 50 feet, though, you can save a lot of money buy just using Redmere cables which use a similar technology built right into the cable without the need for external power. It’s also worth noting that if you’re using DIRECTV or DISH, you can use ethernet cable or coaxial cable plus a TV with a client built in, and it’s usually good for runs up to about 150 feet