Anyone used Activewire HDMI or other active HDMI?


Standard Member
Hi All,

Just wondering if anyone has used an Activewire or other active HDMI cables for longer lengths? considering them as an option rather than cat6 and baluns. Any real feedback based on experience welcomed :)


Distinguished Member
I wouldnt recommend any active cable like that for a long run.

The problem with long runs is attenuation , both the video/audio TMDS channels and the DDC channels suffer from voltage drops over a long distance , these solutions attempt to fix that by using active electronics to boost this failing signal.

The problem is that all active electronics must have power , and the only way these units can get that power is by stealing it from the HDMI interface.

The HDMI interface is not a USB interface , it was not designed to power external devices like this , it is only designed to supply power to the sink ( display ) side electronics.

The spec only calls for a minimum of 50 milliamps to be supplied to the sink , and any devices grabbing some of this to power themselves are making the problem worse , not better.

Now some devices out there supply more than the spec requires so with some equipment you might get away with it , but a lot of equipment supplies exactly what the spec requires and with these this solution wont work.

It is not a universally stable solution , and by design it is abusing the HDMI spec.

Any active solutions must have their own power if they are to have any guarantee of working with all equipment.

As such HDMI baluns/Cat5/6 solutions with their own PSU are much a much more stable solution.


Standard Member
Could you point me in the direction of reliable good quality baluns?

Would you still run a std cat6 20m long incase the baluns at issues?

im hearing mixed views on baluns, some people love them, others hate them :)

I assume with a powered extended at one end of a hdmi cable that i would get the same efffect as this active solution? i particularly liked the thin wire for in wall installs.


Distinguished Member
These units are pretty reliable ,

Neet® - HDMI Extender over Cat5 / Cat5e / Cat6: Amazon.co.uk: Electronics

To avoid issues with any HDMI extenders/baluns/Cat5/6 units , note the following ,

The two runs of cable must be the same length , and unbroken from send unit to receive unit.

They are not carrying Ethernet/TCP/IP signals , they are carry HDMI TMDS signals and are not compatible with Ethernet or network devices.

They must be terminated to To either T568A or T568B at both ends , pick one and stick to it for all four plugs. If the manufacturer specifies either one , then use that.
Not following the correct termination schemes is the most common reason why people cannot get these units to work, so make sure and follow it , if you dont , you will be splitting the TMDS signal pairs and that definitely wont
Heres a link to the termination schemes , remember , either T568A or T568B should work , pick one and stick to it.

TIA/EIA-568 - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Don't cheap out on the Cat5/6 cable , use quality certified cable and plugs.

Once you have your cables made up , functionally test everything before burying anything in a wall.

I assume with a powered extended at one end of a hdmi cable that i would get the same efffect as this active solution? i particularly liked the thin wire for in wall installs.
Any active circuitry must have its own power , it doesn't matter if its stealing from the source or the sink electronics it shouldn't be stealing it at all and stealing from either end causes problems.

Thin HDMI cable aggravates the attenuation problem , if your putting cable in a wall , use good quality good gauge cable , not thin cable , thin cable over long distance is just asking for trouble.
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Joe Fernand

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HDMI over Twisted Pair Extenders are (like anything in this complex landscape) a part of your system so it’s impossible for anyone to say 100% that something will work all of the time – you are relying on way too many variables.

In terms of percentage of Problems reported and Problems unsolvable we find our Octava HDCATIR-UK to be very straightforward to integrate into most systems – where we do hit an initial problems 9 times out of 10 it can be traced to poor crimping of one or more RJ45 connections and is usually a pretty simple ‘fix’ - Media Factory - Octava HDCATIR, HDMI + IR over CAT5 or CAT6 Extender

HDMI Extenders should , as andy1249 points out, always be externally powered – though keep in mind they assume there has been a certain level of signal attenuation over the Input cable, in our experience with our Octava product the ‘safe’ limit for the Input cable being 15m, Media Factory - Octava HDE-UK, HDMI cable extender

I’d also follow andy1249’s input on ‘Active’ cables – they can work but are a potentially a short or long term problem in this ever changing landscape that is HDMI!


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