Cables and Connectors Technology Showcase
May 31, 2011 8:21 AM, by Bennett Liles
Tech people have long known that the weak links in any cable assembly are at the ends in the connectors, and conventional wisdom has it that the solidity of the connector attachment counts a great deal for the quality of the whole cable assembly. However, the introduction of high-definition digital video formats and the requirements for carrying their high-speed signals has ushered in a higher demand for quality cable construction all the way down the line. The rapidly changing landscape in digital AV signals and the coming analog sunset has also made cable choice as critical to future-proofing as the selection of the connected components. A new level of care and expertise in installation is required to avoid damage and accompanying loss of bandwidth. Here we take a look at the current field of cables, connectors, and related accessories being offered to meet these new challenges.
The best way to protect HDMI connections in public areas is to rigidly mount them into wall plates and Atlona offers such a solution with the Model AT80HDMI-2. Behind the plate is a 4in. strain-relief cable with 24k gold connector ends for each of the two HDMI ports. The strain relief avoids bending the HDMI cable, while the gold contacts protect the signal. The cosmetic cover plate is paintable, and the whole unit fits onto a standard single-gang electrical box. To accommodate extension of computer signals at 10.8Gbps with color depth up to 16-bit at resolutions up to WQXGA, Atlona also offers the AT-F13044L-10 Mini DisplayPort fiber-optic cable.
BTX Technologies’ patent-pending ProBlox-Dall-in-one connector system contains two Cat-5e connectors along with 16 HD video and 18 audio and control contacts, all for field termination. The Cat-5e components allow HDMI, DVI, and VGA to be run over one or two Cat-5e cables. The ProBlox-D connector system simplifies setup for AV applications in any setting where multiple signals of different formats need to be delivered to a single connection point. In addition to saving installation time, it also provides nontechnical users with the ability to connect to a podium without the need for technical assistance.
A component part of Belden’s Total Enterprise Networks (TENs) networking approach, the FiberExpress Brilliance field-installable connector can be used as a backbone, horizontal, or fiber-to-the-desk component in commercial buildings and data centers. Designed to speed the process of fiber installation, it provides a reliable termination in as little as five seconds with no termination tools needed. According to Belden, the contractor is able to re-terminate the connector up to five times to improve fiber termination yields and lower materials/installation costs. A number of connector types in the line have also been introduced.
Black Box Network Services has cables and adapters for DisplayPort v1.1 with data speeds up to 10.8Gbps and color depths of six, eight, 10, 12, and 16 bits with two-way connectivity. The EVNDP01 series cables feature 28 AWG conductors and male/male connectors. For HDMI applications, the EVHDMI01T series cables handle standard HDMI signals, while the EVHDMI06 series cables are designed for high-speed HDMI 1080p displays, as well as 4K, 3D, and Deep Color. The EVHDMI05 series cables are coiled HDMI cables that resist knots and tangling. The EVHDMI04 series HDMI cables feature one or two swiveling connectors that rotate 90 degrees up and down.
Among its huge product selection, Cable Wholesalehas a Premium Grade Digital Toslink fiber-optic cable with a universal head that allows it to plug into another Toslink connection from virtually any angle. Also helpful in tight places is a lighted head when the connection has been made. The cable comes in 12ft., 25ft., and 75ft. lengths, and the company will be adding more versions of this cable soon. Also available is an extremely thin speaker cable that can easily be attached to walls or other surfaces. The cable includes a clear outer jacket with a white, peel-able guard over an adhesive strip. Once the guard is removed, the cable can stick to walls. Also from Cable Wholesale is its 10ft. IR emitter for AV control systems.
Among the wide variety of products from Cables to Go, the RapidRun modular cabling system supports multiple signals over a single cable. Only the breakaway flying lead or wall plate need be changed to accommodate new gear. Supporting resolutions up to 1080p for HDTVs and up to 1920x1200 for computer monitors, the Pro series commercial-grade digital plenum cables provide 24 AWG copper conductors in lengths from 6ft. to 50ft. The Velocity rotating HDMI connectors cover 180 degrees for placement in tough spots, and the VGA270 is a monitor cable that can rotate 270 degrees side to side with click stops every 90 degrees. The company’s Classic series of integrated aluminum wall plates offers various combinations of audio, video, and pass-through connectors. The CMG-rated line of low-profile VGA cable saves space in gang boxes and is easily hidden.
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