Every type of cable has a maximum distance. These distance limits can vary greatly from one type of cable to the next. Along with determining whether a cable will work, distance limits will also determine how well a cable works. Knowing the fundamentals behind cable distance limits is the first step in selecting the best cable for your needs.
Cables will always have some sort of “maximum signal” rating, depending on the type of the cable. For ethernet cables, it will be the maximum upload/download speed. For HDMI, it will be the maximum resolution of the video. And so on and so forth for other cables. Any type of “maximum” rating should be taken with a grain of salt.
Those ratings are the best possible rating the cable is capable of under t
American Wire Gauge (AWG)
What is American Wire Gauge (AWG)?
American Wire Gauge (AWG, sometimes called the Brown & Sharpe wire gauge) is the standardized wire gauge system used to measure the size of electric conducting wire in the United States since 1857. AWG refers to wire made with a solid metal core. It is represented as a simple number that is calculated by finding the radius of the wire, squaring that number, and multiplying it by pi (AWG = πr²). The smaller the number is, the thicker the cable will be.
Stranded wire is also commonly referred to using AWG, but it a little more complex. Because standard cables are made using multiple wires instead of a single solid core, they can be given multiple numbers. For example, a
Audio and video cables go hand-in-hand, often being paired together. Some cables can even transmit audio and video on just one line. Over time a lot of new audio and video cables have been introduced, so the cable you need will often depend on the age of the equipment you are using. Most TVs, computers, and other devices can use multiple types of audio and video connections, so it is good to be able to identify them and know your options.
Audio-only cables include:
- Optical Toslink
Video-only cables include:
Audio/video cables include:
HDMI: The New Standard
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cables are the new standard for audio/video cables on modern televisions, computers, video game consoles, and more. The majority of new electronics today are built with at least one HDMI port. HDMI is excellent at what does, being able to transmit digital audio and video through a single line.
While HDMI is fantastic, many older devices that predate HDMI are still around and in use. Some newer devices are also built with only alternatives to HDMI, although this is much less common. When either of these scenarios come up, the easiest solution is to use an HDMI adapter. There are different types of adapters (as well as converters) that you may need depending on what you want to convert to HDMI.