Different type of cable maximum runs



Hi, got a questions concerning for different type of cables as I'm not familiar with cables. What is the maximum length that these different types of cables can run (averagely) before the signal loses it's quality - without using any signal amplifier or repeaters?

VGA (say for XGA format)
Audio cables (unbalanced)

Thanks people ;)


Distinguished Member
without using line drivers any fancy bits of kit
VGA (say for XGA format) 15-20m
DVI 12m (unless you go for stupid cables £1300 for a 20m)
BNC is is a termination not cable/
Component 10m (can do 15-20m with good quality)
S-Video 15m (can just do 20m)
Composite 10m(why bother???)
Audio cables (unbalanced) 20m ish....
RGBHV varys........(upto 120m with a line driver)

Joe Fernand

Distinguished Member
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Just to expand a bit on Horny's reply.

The maximum signal run you can get away with varies dramatically depending on the quality of the source and receive kit - the same length of cable may produce very different results in different set-ups depending on the kit used.

Pre test everything before you install the cables and don't assume anything will work just because it worked in another system - and ensure you test the system with the type of video and data signals you'll be viewing; you can often 'get a picture' though it may trip over with some material.

01. VGA from a PC is RGBHV.
02. Component is YUV from a Video source

Both of theses will normally go to 10m (15m at a push) with a decent 75 ohm Multicore (5 core for RGBHV and 3 core for YUV) after that you may well require a signal amp.

03. DVI from a PC or Video source. You can be unlucky and bin out at 5m.

A 15m DVI over copper cable tested to 720P or 1080i will cost you just over 200.00 GBP; though even then you may be unlucky and require a DVI signal amplifier.

A 20m DVI over Fibre will cost you just under 500.00 GBP - again you need to test it works in your system. The Fibre cables go up to 100m.

You can also convert DVI to run over CAT5 - as you can with all of the signals your asking about.

04. S-Video will usually be OK up to 15m - though again no guarantees and often a signal amp will help retain signal quality.

If you run 2 x 5 core 75 ohm Multicore cables you can use One (terminated with HD 15 [VGA] connectors) for RGBHV and the other (terminated in BNC connectors) for YUV (3 cores) + S-Video (2 cores) using short BNC to S-Video adapters at each end.

05. Composite video is usually OK up to 15m.

06. Stereo audio as Horny say usually 20m - though ensure its well screen cable.

07. RS232 and 485? comms cables will usually run a good deal further than any of your video sources before its needs any amplification.

Best regards



Active Member
RS232 is unbalanced and only spec'd to 50ft. though you can get away with longer with well shielded cables.

RS485 uses 24AWG twisted pair cable with a shunt capacitance of 16 pF per foot and 100 ohm characteristic impedance and is balanced. It can go to 1km.

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