Cables & interconnect

A well-constructed quality cable is a subtle and remarkable piece of technology.

After all, it has to perform a very difficult task. Put simply, a cable’s job is to carry and deliver delicate and highly complex signals from point to point in an entertainment system. It must do this without altering or degrading the signal in any noticeable way. Therefore the quality and efficiency of your cables, or their Signal Circulation, will determine the ultimate performance of your equipment. When you choose your cables you should remember that they are the life line between your equipment and you should always choose cables to match or exceed the quality of your equipment.

The Future is Fibre Optic Cable

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Think of a fibre cable in terms of very long cardboard roll (from the inside roll of paper towel) that is coated with a mirror on the inside. If you shine a flashlight in one end you can see light come out at the far end – even if it’s been bent around a corner.

Fibre optic cables benefit over traditional Cat.x copper cables in the following;
• SPEED: Fibre optic networks operate at high speeds
• BANDWIDTH: large carrying capacity – up into the 10’s of gigabits per second.
• DISTANCE: Signals can be transmitted further without needing to be strengthened.
• RESISTANCE: Greater resistance to EMI, created by nearby cables or other sources.
• MAINTENANCE: Fibre optic cables costs much less to maintain.

In recent years it has become apparent that fibre-optics are steadily replacing copper wire as an appropriate means of communication signal transmission. They span the long distances between local phone systems as well as providing the backbone for many data network systems. Other system users include cable television services, university campuses, office buildings, industrial plants, and electricity utility companies.

Functionally a fibre-optic system is similar to the copper wire system that fibre-optics is replacing. The difference is that fibre-optics use light pulses to transmit information down fibre lines instead of using electronic pulses to transmit information down copper lines.
At one end of the system is a transmitter, this is the place of origin for information coming on to fibre-optic lines. The transmitter accepts coded electronic pulse information coming from copper wire. It then processes and translates that information into equivalently coded light pulses. A light-emitting diode (LED) or an injection-laser diode (ILD) can be used for generating the light pulses. Using a lens, the light pulses are funnelled into the fibre-optic medium where they travel down the cable. At the other end this operation is reversed by a receiver and turned back into an electrical signal.

Cat5, Cat6 or Cat7

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What is the difference between CAT-5, CAT-5e, CAT-6, CAT-7…
The Simple Answer:
CAT-5 is rated to 100M
CAT-5e is rated to 350M
CAT-6 and CAT6e is rated to 550M or 1000M depending on your source
CAT-7 is supposedly rated to 700M or presumably 1000M

In the context of the 100-ohm UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair) type of cable used for Ethernet wiring the only categories of interest are Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat7. CATx is an abbreviation for the category number that defines the performance of building telecommunications cabling as outlined by the Electronic Industries Association (EIA) standards.

Up until the late 1980s thick or thin coaxial cable was typically used for 10-Mbps Ethernet networks, but around that time, UTP cabling became more commonly used because it was easier to install and less expensive. Since the emergence of 100Base-TX networks meant a quick shift to CAT5. By the year 2000, moves to gigabit (1000Base-TX) Ethernet LANs created a need for another specification, CAT5e.
CAT5e is now superseded by CAT6 cable and there is a developing standard for CAT7 although uptake is likely to continue to be low due to the many benefits of Fibre Optic Cabling.

Specifications for Cat3, Cat4, Cat5, Cat5e, Cat6, and Cat7 Cables
Cat5 UTP 100MHz 100m 100Base-Tx,ATM,CDDI Common for older LANs
Cat5e UTP 100MHz 100m 1000Base-T Common for existing LANs
Cat6 UTP 250MHz 100m Most used for new LAN installations
Cat7 ScTP 600MHz 100m Little used, likley to be killed off by Fibre Optic

HDMI interconect

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HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the first industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, and A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a High definition digital television (HDTV).

HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all HDTV standards and supports 8-channel digital audio, audio return and ethernet, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.

The new HDMI digital interconnect provides superior, uncompressed digital video and audio quality along with a simple, user-friendly connector that replaces the maze of cabling behind the entertainment center.

HDTV uses less than 1/2 of HDMI’s available 5 Gbps bandwidth. With capacity to spare, HDMI can incorporate new technology advancements and capabilities long into the foreseeable future.

Advantage HDMI

There are several advantages of HDMI over existing analog interfaces such as composite, S-Video and component video. HDMI transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality.The all digital connection ensures rendering of video without the losses associated with analog interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analog conversions. HDMI provides the quality and functionality of a digital interface while also supporting uncompressed video formats in a simple, cost-effective manner.

HDMI also supports multiple audio formats, from standard stereo to multi-channel surround-sound so combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems.

HDMI supports communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality.

HDMI is also fully backward-compatible with DVI using the CEA-861 profile for DTVs. HDMI DTVs will display video received from existing DVI-equipped products, and DVI-equipped TVs will display video from HDMI sources. Currently there are TVs with DVI-HDTV inputs available from a variety of manufacturers. Those devices will be compatible with future HDMI-equipped products.

HDMI has the capacity to support existing high-definition video formats (720p, 1080i, and even 1080p). It also has the flexibility to support enhanced definition formats such as 480p, as well as standard definition formats such as NTSC or PAL.

HDMI technology has been designed to use standard copper cable construction at long lengths. In order to allow cable manufacturers to improve their products through the use of new technologies, HDMI specifies the required performance of a cable but does not specify a maximum cable length. Cables are expected to be lengths of up to 10 meters before requiring repeaters. As semiconductor technology improves, far longer stretches can be reached with fiber optic cables, and with active cable technologies such as amplifiers or repeaters.

Other Cables & Connectors

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Cable and Hook up Tips

Follow these general rules of thumb to get the best results from your cables:

Cables should be as short as possible—but not too short! Since even high-quality video and audio signals can degrade over long distances, shorter cable runs help to maximize signal quality. Just make sure you have room to connect all your equipment comfortably.

Don’t try to make a short cable reach. Avoid kinks or bending cable at sharp angles—this can damage cable connectors, or the terminals of your A/V equipment. It’s better to buy a longer cable, if you must.

Arrange excess cable in an “S” shape or a figure-eight: do not leave it lying in round loops. This can help minimize electromagnetic interference, which can produce static or noise.

Keep power cords away from audio and video cables if you can. Even shielded cords can cause electromagnetic interference and signal degradation. If you must cross cables over power cords, try to do it at right angles.

For interconnects or other audio cables with arrows printed on the outer jacket, hook it up so that the arrow follows the signal from source (DVD Player, CD Player) to destination (Plasma TV, A/V Receiver).

For further information call our London office now on 020 8515 1666 or email by clicking here