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HDMI Over Ethernet - How to Extend HDMI With Cat 5e/6a

Find out what HDMI over Ethernet is and if it's worth using for your setup.

HDMI cable Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: December 28, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

If you need to connect a device to a display farther away than usual, like across a house, you may be limited by the reach of standard HDMI cables. For this case, HDMI over Ethernet extenders may be worth getting. There are multiple solutions to extending an HDMI cable, but HDMI over Ethernet can be a great way to extend them farther than other options.

This article will discuss HDMI over Ethernet extenders and the limitations of standard HDMI cables. Afterward, you'll be able to connect your displays where you want to, without being limited.

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What Is an HDMI Over Ethernet Extender

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HDMI over Ethernet extenders increases an HDMI connection's reach, as you can do with a fiber optic HDMI cable or HDMI over Fiber extender.

HDMI over Ethernet extends the connection using a Cat 5e or Cat 6a Ethernet cable, which connects to the converters on each end of the cable. You connect a standard HDMI cable from the converter devices to your display.

HDMI over Ethernet extenders eliminate the typically limited range of standard HDMI cables since Ethernet transfers the signal differently while the converter device retransmits the signal.

When connected, the picture quality will look the same as if you had your device (PC, game console, or similar) connected close by your display. The HDMI over Ethernet extender can convert the signal through an Ethernet cable and back to the HDMI signal without disrupting the quality.

Uses for HDMI Over Ethernet

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HDMI over Ethernet is best used inside your house to extend the HDMI signal from a device to another room. There are other ways to extend HDMI connections, but this option is suitable for medium distances.

For example, if you want to extend the connection from upstairs to the basement, you'd run an Ethernet cable through the walls then put the extender devices at each end of the cable close to your display. Then run a standard HDMI cable from the extender to the display. If you are using this for outdoor use, be sure to use an Ethernet cable rated for using outdoors.

The HDMI over Ethernet extender is similar to an HDMI over fiber optic extender but uses an Ethernet cable for a shorter extension.

An HDMI over Ethernet extender can extend the connection up to 130 ft (40 m) for 4K @ 60 Hz or 230 ft (70 m) for 1080p.

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Other Ways to Extend an HDMI Cable

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HDMI over Ethernet is an excellent way to extend an HDMI connection. Still, there are other options, like an HDMI repeater, fiber optic HDMI cable, or HDMI over fiber extender. Each solution has its limits, so it's best to pick the best type for your situation.

For example, if you need to extend an HDMI cable across a room, an HDMI repeater would be good enough. If you wanted to extend the connection from your top floor to the basement, you could use an HDMI to fiber or Ethernet extender.

Below, I list the recommended ranges and devices and more details about each solution:

HDMI Repeater

An HDMI repeater is suitable for shorter ranges of up to 60 to 100 ft for 4K displays. An HDMI repeater isn't recommended for extending through walls.

An HDMI repeater extends the connection for shorter runs by connecting two HDMI cables and amplifies the signals for better transmission.

Determining the max length when using a repeater depends on the HDMI repeater and the HDMI cable type, but I give the average ranges below. Remember that HDMI repeaters are directional, so be sure to use the device's correct input/output sides.

HDMI Repeater Range
ResolutionLength
4K @ 60 Hz 60–100 ft (18–30 m)
4K @ 30 Hz 100–130 ft (30–40 m)
1080p @ 60 Hz 135–195 ft (40–60 m)

To be safe, assume a repeater can reach only the shorter end of those ranges.

Fiber Optic HDMI Cable

A fiber optic HDMI cable can reach as far as HDMI repeaters. The benefit to using a fiber optic HDMI cable is that you only need the cable instead of extra devices/cables, making this a cleaner option.

Fiber optic HDMI cables are like standard HDMI cables but made with optical fiber inside the cable and meant for farther distances up to 164 ft (50 m) for 4K @ 60 Hz.

These cables aren't meant to be used with an extender, repeater, or switch and should be used alone. They also must be installed in the correct direction, with the output/display label connecting to the side with the display.

HDMI Over Fiber Extender

An HDMI over fiber extender is similar to the HDMI over Ethernet extender but instead uses a fiber optic cable. HDMI over fiber is best for in-wall installations or for extending the connection a lot farther than the other solutions can go.

For example, if you wanted to extend from the top floor of a building or to another house, you could run the cable through the walls or underground. Then connect the extender devices on each end of the cable and a standard HDMI cable from the device to your display. If you are using this for outdoor use, be sure to use an optical fiber cable rated for using outdoors.

An HDMI over Fiber extender uses an optical fiber cable to transmit the data to reach a much farther distance. You could use an HDMI over Fiber extender to extend the connection up 1,000 to 3,300 ft (300 to 1000 meters) for 4K @ 60 Hz.

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