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AudioQuest Field Terminates HDMI Cables

by January 29, 2009
AudioQuest cracks the HDMI field-termination nut

AudioQuest cracks the HDMI field-termination nut

According to an article in CE Pro online, AudioQuest has announced a way to field terminate HDMI cables. This is a first as far as we can tell, and means that installers will soon be able to pull raw cable through the wall and terminate it to exact lengths. The company invented a connector, appropriately named "Bayonet" which utilizes V pins that cut through the wire insulation and trim the excess wire in one action of the proprietary crimping tool. A cable tester will be provided by the company to test the cables following the HDMI field termination.

Audioquest HDMI crimp connector

In case you don't understand the concepts involved, field termination of HDMI has been a recent holy grail - unattainable and elusive. Here are some reasons why this would be a good thing:

  • Installers can now pull multiple HDMI cables through the wall without having to worry about the huge connector heads.
  • Homes can be wired for HDMI "down the road" simply by pulling the trunks now and adding the connectors at a later date
  • HDMI cables can be cut to exact lengths - critical when projectors and displays require long lengths, but you want to keep the cables as short as possible to maintain high speed signal resolution.
  • Excess HDMI cables are difficult to manage due to excessive thickness, so installations will look cleaner as a result
  • You can make repairs should the cable or connector be damaged in any way.

The HDMI Licensing Group has not yet figured out a way to certify the cables. We're not too concerned with this. As soon as they figure out how to charge extra for their troubles, we're sure the organization will come up with a solution. After all, this is a company (Silicon Image) that has several wholly-owned subsidiaries all designed to profit from certifying HDMI cables and products (think HDMI Licensing, SimPlay, etc).

What we don't yet see are any measurements which specify the speed rating capability of these terminated cables. While AudioQuest touts better impedance through the crimped connector (and even aims to replace its solder assembly methods with crimping), we have yet to see intra-company or independent tests of the terminated cables. If they don't keep up with current soldered cables at high speed bitrates in appropriate lengths then this will quickly end up back on the drawing board.

To-date the most innovate solution for multiple length HDMI has been Impact Acoustics Digital RapidRun cables. These have a field termination connection but have to be purchased in fixed lengths, making them slightly less flexible (but certainly much quicker) than a true field-termination solution.

This is something we'll be watching with eyes wide open as AudioQuest attempts to lead the industry in a new and most certainly welcome direction.

About the author:
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Clint Deboer was terminated from Audioholics for misconduct on April 4th, 2014. He no longer represents Audioholics in any fashion.

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Recent Forum Posts:

highfigh posts on February 04, 2009 22:05
lsiberian, post: 518742
Cat5e? That's crazy.

Why is it crazy?
highfigh posts on February 04, 2009 22:05
GlocksRock, post: 518671
Why can't we just use cat5e or cat6 for all of our cabling needs, that would make it so much easier. You could easily make any length you need, get it just about any color, and the wire can be had for cheap.

Because they don't ask us what we would like to use, they allow the cable manufacturers to set standards and they convince the equipment makers that it's the best way. One HDMI jack on a BluRay player costs less than 3 component, 1 composite, 2 analog audio, a digital coax and an optical output with all of the necessary circuitry.
lsiberian posts on February 03, 2009 17:57
GlocksRock, post: 518671
Why can't we just use cat5e or cat6 for all of our cabling needs, that would make it so much easier. You could easily make any length you need, get it just about any color, and the wire can be had for cheap.

Cat5e? That's crazy.
GlocksRock posts on February 03, 2009 14:49
Why can't we just use cat5e or cat6 for all of our cabling needs, that would make it so much easier. You could easily make any length you need, get it just about any color, and the wire can be had for cheap.
highfigh posts on February 03, 2009 11:36
sokrman14, post: 518400
All I meant by it is that I am glad your dislike of their company for their theories on cables doesnt influence your judgment that this field termination could be a great thing for HDMI.

Anything that makes terminations easier and still retain reliability and durability is a great thing. $7200 for a 2 meter pair because it has six 12V garage door remote batteries and unterminated wires in the sleeve that supposedly bias the dielectric- not so much.

If Monster Cable were to come out with a product that legitimately improved sound or video with unanimous agreement in many double blind tests, it should be considered, unless the price is just too high. A .1% improvement just isn't worth big money.
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