Saving money = long HDMI cable??

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RoGuE
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Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by RoGuE » Sat Nov 27, 2010 8:01 pm

Hey SPCR,

ImageImage

Just wondering, has anyone here strung together a couple of HDMI cables to make the total distance about 30ft or so? To save some money, instead of building a small HTPC for my living room, I decided to get a nice GTX460 with HDMI out and run a long HDMI line to my livingroom TV. I basically just wanted the ability to watch online content and downloaded movies (legally of course...) on my new TV without having to build a whole new system. The one I have now is perfectly fast, and now that I've upgraded to a GTX460, it's more than capable of feeding my TV high def content.

I guess my question is, despite the fact that HDMI is all digital signal, does the quality noticeably degrade over 30 ft? My gut tells me, no. But I've been wrong before..

m1st
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by m1st » Sat Nov 27, 2010 9:29 pm

As we're dealing with a digital signal, you don't have to worry about signal degradation with a long cable. There are limits, however, to how long an HDMI cable can be.

Basically, HDMI cables come in two varieties: Class 1 and Class 2. Class 1 cables are guaranteed up to 720p/1080i, and Class 2 cables are good up to 1080p. As long you can find a 30ft cable that is Class 2 certified, then in theory you should have no problems outputting a prestine picture. Of course, this assumes that your cable manufacturer is being honest when it rates the cable in question as Class 2. I would suggest buying for monoprice.com. I've bought from them four times now and they seem to be the Newegg of home theater supplies - good service, fast shipping, and good prices.

Doing a quick search, it seems that you can get a 25ft 22AWG Class 2 cable for about $23. That's a little shorter than the 30ft that you specified, but maybe it would work? Also, I believe that the connector on your GTX460 is a mini-HDMi connector, so you may need an adapter, such as this one.

--Edit--

I just realized that I assumed that you'd need to output 1080p. If your TV is 720p, then you can get away with using a Class 1 HDMI cable, and those are cheaper. A quick search shows this cable available for $20, and Class 1 cables can go much longer - up to 45ft or more.

RoGuE
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by RoGuE » Sat Nov 27, 2010 11:16 pm

wow. thanks for such an informative response. I had no idea about the class 1 vs class 2. Since my tv outputs in 1080p, class II cable will be my best option I suppose. I was aware of the mini-hdmi output of my card, but thanks for looking into it enough to bring that up.

I'm glad you think the distance won't be a problem, that was my main concern. This just seemed like a great solution, since all my media is on my desktop/gaming/everything computer, so it simplifies everything if that's the computer feeding my TV as well.

Question: What would you say is the best way to have my card display content on the TV? Should I 'extend' my windows desktop? Should I just make it a duplicate of my computer monitor? I'm concerned that if I have my card sending a video signal in high resolutions to my TV all the time, when I'm gaming it will suck performance away from my computer monitor..is this a real concern? OR by doing that is the only consumed resource graphics memory?

As you can tell, I don't know a whole lot about the logistics of computers interacting with TVs...this is a new thing for me.

washu
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by washu » Sun Nov 28, 2010 4:04 am

RoGuE wrote: Question: What would you say is the best way to have my card display content on the TV? Should I 'extend' my windows desktop? Should I just make it a duplicate of my computer monitor? I'm concerned that if I have my card sending a video signal in high resolutions to my TV all the time, when I'm gaming it will suck performance away from my computer monitor..is this a real concern? OR by doing that is the only consumed resource graphics memory?
If both your TV and monitor have the same resolution then cloning would be fine. This should be 1920 x 1080 for a proper 1080P TV. It should have no impact on performance to do this.

If your TV and monitor have different resolutions then you should extend. Then you just drag windows from one display to the other. While technically it uses a tiny bit of video card resources, displaying a static screen on the TV while gaming should have no noticeable impact on performance. Just don't run another graphics intensive app on the TV while you game.

RoGuE
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by RoGuE » Sun Nov 28, 2010 7:36 am

Thanks! that's what I suspected, but wasn't sure. Unfortunately, my monitor outputs 1680x1050, so I suppose I can't clone which sucks. At least I know what I'm gonna do now. Thanks for your help.

Mats
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by Mats » Sun Nov 28, 2010 3:14 pm

I'm all in for using the regular computer for the TV as well.

Just want to share my unorthodox view: people are obsessed with making their computers quiet, and at the same time they put it as close to the monitor as possible. That was ok in the last century, but today very few people must swap floppys or CD's every day, so there's not the obvious need to put the computer next to your leg under the desk anymore.

What I'm trying to say here is that if it's possible to move the computer to somewhere between the TV and the monitor you can use 2 x 15 ft cables instead, and you might remove some apparent system noise, if you have any.
I realize that this isn't possible in all homes.

I also know that this a bit like cheating for some people here, as it isn't true silencing. Who cares. :wink:

CA_Steve
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Nov 29, 2010 6:47 am

Just curious: How are you going to interact with the PC from 30' (and probably a wall) away? Will a wireless mouse and keyboard work at that distance?

Yep, Monoprice is great.

"As we're dealing with a digital signal, you don't have to worry about signal degradation with a long cable. "

All signals attenuate and degrade with distance, analog or digital. Here's the HDMI wiki listing for cables. Looks like a well made 24awg Category 2 cable would work.
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washu
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by washu » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:01 am

CA_Steve wrote: All signals attenuate and degrade with distance, analog or digital. Here's the HDMI wiki listing for cables. Looks like a well made 24awg Category 2 cable would work.
While you are correct, I think the point was that as long as it doesn't degrade too much it still works perfectly. It's digital, either the cable is good enough or it fails. A crappy HDMI cable will simply not work, or give you a horrible unwatchable breaking up picture. It won't cause colour defects, give you a washed out picture, or any other minor defects that proponents if rip-off HDMI cables claim. In other words, the inherent analog attenuation and degradation of any HDMI will not cause the picture to degrade in an "analog" way.

Mats
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by Mats » Mon Nov 29, 2010 8:13 am

CA_Steve wrote:Just curious: How are you going to interact with the PC from 30' (and probably a wall) away? Will a wireless mouse and keyboard work at that distance?
Powered USB hubs are cheap. :wink:

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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by CA_Steve » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:33 pm

washu wrote:In other words, the inherent analog attenuation and degradation of any HDMI will not cause the picture to degrade in an "analog" way.
<Nods.>

As an aside, I ordered some cables from monoprice on saturday am and found the delivered box on my doorstep this morning. Fastest delivery ever. The 24AWG HDMI and the TOSlink cable are pretty darn sturdy. :D
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RoGuE
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by RoGuE » Mon Nov 29, 2010 12:45 pm

Thanks again for all of your help guys..I'm confident the signal will come in 'loud and clear' despite the 30ft cable length and female/female extender piece. I still haven't quite firgured out how to control my media easily though..since cloned desktop is out of the question due to slightly different resolutions between my monitor and TV, i have to use Dualview extended desktop. Annnnd now that Nvidia no longer supports overlay video onto the second screen, I'm not sure of the best way to setup a movie for example..

Right now, my plan is to just move it over to my TV (by dragging it off my monitor), then full screening using the keyboard, and finally hitting play on my keyboard. I can't see my TV from my computer, so this complicates things.

Even when I do eventually buy a trackball keyboard, I'm not sure what good it will do me since my monitor will remain my primary display so my taskbar will still live on that monitor.....gah.

This is much more complicated than I originally anticipated. Anyone else have this problem? HTPCs are starting to make more and more sense.....

cordis
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by cordis » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:08 pm

Hey, I actually used a 35ft. hdmi cable for a while, it worked fine, so I wouldn't worry about it. Doing screen cloning is probably the easiest way to go, but keep in mind that it breaks hdcp drm, so if you want to play blu-rays on your pc, you'll have to adjust your setting to turn one screen off. I had a setup where I had a single htpc hooked up to my living room tv with one hdmi cable and the 35ft one went to the bedroom, and I hooked up a logitech remote with rf capability so that I could control it with the remote control from the bedroom. Kind of a complicated system, I recently moved to having a local htpc in each room, but it turns out that I can't share protected content on that setup. Always something to adjust....

Edit: Ah sorry, didn't read your last message. My two tvs had different res, one is 720p and the other is 1080p, so I had to run them both at 720p, luckily the bigger tv could handle it. Hopefully you can do something like that, otherwise it'll drive you crazy having two separate screens. Well, you may be able to just keep one browser in the tv space (like firefox), and a different one in the desk space (like chrome), so you can copy and paste interesting sites over to the tv space for watching. It really depends, if you can pick one as your primary window and do most of your stuff there, that would be best. Hope it works out!
Last edited by cordis on Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Hayate19XX
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by Hayate19XX » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:01 pm

RoGuE: Have you tried using XBMC? :D
Wireless mouse? keyboard?, that's where Dinovo Mini comes in, sure it's not complete but better than nothing :P

Regards
Hayate.
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Big Pimp Daddy
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by Big Pimp Daddy » Mon Nov 29, 2010 2:14 pm

RoGuE wrote: Right now, my plan is to just move it over to my TV (by dragging it off my monitor), then full screening using the keyboard, and finally hitting play on my keyboard. I can't see my TV from my computer, so this complicates things.

Even when I do eventually buy a trackball keyboard, I'm not sure what good it will do me since my monitor will remain my primary display so my taskbar will still live on that monitor.....gah.
If I recall correctly from when I had a similar setup a few years ago, Windows remembers which screen a program was last open on. So if you use a HTPC frontend like Windows MCE/Meedio/whatever else is available, and drag it to the TV once, it will remain there on future restarts of Windows. This will let you browse your media files from the TV too and save dragging windows about. Obviously you can still watch videos on your main monitor if you wish using Windows file browser and VLC/Media Player/whatever.
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RoGuE
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by RoGuE » Tue Nov 30, 2010 6:57 am

Hayate19XX wrote:RoGuE: Have you tried using XBMC? :D
Wireless mouse? keyboard?, that's where Dinovo Mini comes in, sure it's not complete but better than nothing :P

Regards
Hayate.

Nope, I've never used anything other than windows built in media center..anyone have a favorite 3rd party program they like to use?
I forget who said it, but someone suggested if I have that program open up to my TV every time, all I will need is some sort of wireless keyboard or remote and I'll be able to access everything right there on my TV, despite the fact that it won't be my primary monitor.

Is there a super fast way to shut off that display when I go to game? or is going into the display options and shutting it off manually the only way? I'm talkin about a keyboard shortcut or something quick like that. I'm all about efficiency..

EDIT: Big Pimp Daddy mentioned that strategy..thanks!

andymcca
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by andymcca » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:29 am

Just a thought: Perhaps you should consider running a USB cable too, so you can plug in a wireless mouse/keyboard receiver right by the television? That would be neat. Otherwise you might have reception issues. Are you planning on dropping the wiring from an attic? There may be a usb + hdmi combo faceplate! A very quick google turned up
http://www.datapro.net/techinfo/plate_info.html
There may be better/cheaper/faster alternatives, though.

As for shutting off the display, I know you can do that with a linux shell script. Perhaps there is some windows console equivalent you could throw in a batch? This is how I overclock my video card when launching certain games, too :). It would be nice if the screen was turned on automatically when you launched your media player.
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RoGuE
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by RoGuE » Tue Nov 30, 2010 8:54 am

I'm pickin up what you're puttin down. The batch file idea just might work...

I read somewhere that USB lines don't go longer than 6 meters. When it comes to the reception thing, the layout of my apartment is such that although my HDMI cable has to be 30+ feet long, the straight line distance (through a door I keep open all the time) is probably only about 15 ft..which I imagine is close enough for just about any quality wireless trackball keyboard.

I was planning on something along the lines of this: ADESSO WKB-3000UB Black 86 Normal Keys 13 Function Keys 2.4 GHz RF Wireless Mini Keyboard w/Optical Trackball or this - SPCR did a review on this one

andymcca
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by andymcca » Tue Nov 30, 2010 9:12 am

RoGuE wrote:I read somewhere that USB lines don't go longer than 6 meters.
Yeah, to reach your television, you would need a usb extender. Something like:
http://www.amazon.com/Meters-Active-Ext ... 002VG39BI/
IIRC, they actually use a little bit of the 5V power to boost the signal. The AV installation guy I occasionally work with mentioned that he extends USB to a maximum of 125' (using 5x 25' extenders), but I'm not sure if that is due to power limitations or something else. (Perhaps each extender counts as a single unit load? What was the USB unit load current? 125mA?)

But since you said you are in an apartment I guess you are probably not cutting holes in the walls! So I guess fewer wires is better!
Currently running Mint 14 MATE on all machines.
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Big Pimp Daddy
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Re: Saving money = long HDMI cable??

Post by Big Pimp Daddy » Tue Nov 30, 2010 11:20 am

If you have a wireless network you can use something like Gmote (for Android, equivalents exist for iPhone but cost) to control your PC over WiFi. You wouldn't want to do much web-browsing or write emails on it, but it's fine for media browsing/playing. Plus no wires or extra setup costs if you already have the phone and network.
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[b]Server:[/b] Sempron 140, ASRock A780GM-LE, 2Gb Kingston, 6TB of Assorted hard drives, 3x 120mm Fans.
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