We use Cat5 cabling for a number of networking related tasks, but not many people will have seen it used as a HDMI extender. Nevertheless, that’s exactly what TruLink has gone and done with this extender. They’ve taken a HDMI connection and paired it with Cat5e technology which will allow you to transmit video over a long distance in your home or workplace up to 60 metres.
The kit is wall mountable, and comes with two small boxes. One of the units is a transmitter, and the other is a receiver. The product itself is quite simple to set up. The transmitter has a HDMI in port on the front of it, and two RJ45 (Ethernet) port around the rear.
To transmit a signal from the unit, you simply connect your HDMI cable from the video source to the box, and then connect two Cat5e cables from the transmitter to the corresponding ports on the receiver. On the other end, you can use the HDMI out port to transmit that signal to a TV up to 60 metres away.
The receiver will need to be plugged in for it to function, and the power adaptor is supplied with the unit, although there are no HDMI cables supplied so if you’re short, you’ll have to grab these for yourself. When everything is hooked up and you have connected the power, the LEDs on the RJ45 ports at the rear of each unit will light up like they would on the back of your PC. This indicates that the signal is active and that the signal is being sent over from the transmitter to the receiver.
On the front of the receiver, you will also find an equaliser, which can be adjusted if the video signal being output to the TV is flickering or isn’t clear. I personally didn’t have to do this with the review unit, but depending on the conditions upon which you’re using the product, you may get different results to me. Either way, it’s always good to have the equaliser there as a manual adjustment tool.
When outputting video over a distance of 40 metres or less, the video content can be transmitted at full 1080p resolution. If you increase the distance to 60 metres, you’ll have to settle for 1080i or 720p, but I had no issues with image quality when testing, and the video which was transmitted looked really sharp.
I was impressed with the build quality of the units themselves, which feel really solid and not at all plastic like when compared to some other TruLink products. The casing has clearly been designed with more than just home usage in mind, so whether you’ll be using this in your house or commercially, you shouldn’t see any problems with build quality at all.
If you want to pick up the TruLink HDMI over Cat5e Extender for yourself, you can pick it up from a range of stores on the net, although prices do range from around £80 to the £100 mark, so you may want to shop around for the best deal.