The Best Video Cable Options in 2017

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The Best Video Cable Options in 2017

In the AV world, we’re always looking for ways to enhance our products and services through the means of technology and proper planning. The client is never worried about the in’s and out’s of what we need to go through to make an event happen successfully. The end product is always about quality and that must be our main target.

Once we’ve achieved the quality design for the client, we must then sort out the best technology to reach the design as fast and reliable as possible. So today we ask ourselves, “what is the best method for video cable for today’s live industry?” HDMI? SDI? VGA? Composite?.... We’ve done some research and would love to fill you in.

Let’s get right to it. The answer is a combination of HDMI and HD-SDI.

Now the “Why?”
We want quality, so that immediately rules out VGA (which caps out at 720i) and composite (which can’t exceed 480p). HDMI is fantastic at sending High Definition signals, but it’s expensive and not capable of sending long range signals (more than 30’ - 49’). However, most everything we come in contact with today uses HDMI for their connectors so it’s still relevant and used regularly.

Now let’s take a look at HD-SDI.
HD-SDI uses standard coax cable (RG-6) which is drastically cheaper to produce than HDMI and uses non-proprietary BNC connectors which also keeps your cost down. BNC also “twist-locks” and keeps your connectors in the ceiling, behind desks and in hard to reach places safe. HD-SDI can also run lengths of up to 300’ before needing extenders or amplifiers.

Because of HDCP (technical video lingo you can learn more here), HDMI is not backwards compatible with VGA without a device that generates HDCP keys. HD-SDI can easily be scaled down for ease of use across most of your uses.

HD-SDI is also extremely reliable and with simple adapters to connect your HDMI devices, you can almost guarantee a simple and solid connection every time. We’ve seen attempts of long HDMI cables, Cat-5 converters/extenders and other options in the past that just don’t cut it.
HD-SDI is your clear choice up to 1080p for quality, clarity and cost.

We should note that video in general is a massive division in the AV world and there are certainly different applications that serve better purposes than HD-SDI, HDMI or anything else listed here, but if you’re reading this, you very likely will not need to get into that world yet. 

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Beamworks is a true American Small Business that has been running strong in the Tampa Bay Area since 1999. With years of experience we are able to pull off incredible shows and events and supply other people to do the same. We work to make every event more enjoyable and stress free so you can spend more time doing what you do best.