In today’s world of high-quality picture and sound, figuring out which cable best works with your system can be a challenge, especially when you want to extend the range of your HDMI signal. Literally hundreds of cables exist, and for every cable there is an HDMI extender, which means you need to understand the difference between the cables your using. When you purchase an HDMI extender over Cat6, for example, you need to be sure that is the right product for your goals. To help you decide which one is right for you, here are the basics on the differences between Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6A, and how they will interact with an HDMI extender.

1. Cat 5e

Many people prefer using an HDMI extender over Cat 5e to using the HDMI extender over Cat 6 simply because of the price point. While many places demand extremely high levels of information, the Cat 5e is reliable, stable, and can suit many basic needs, including HD video, which was just becoming popular when this cable was created. The costs remain extremely low for this cable for a number of reasons, but one of the major ones is the materials. Higher level cables have more copper per inch, meaning their cost is considerably more. If you have basic needs and a range of under 328 ft., this cable might be right for you until you upgrade your other hardware.

2. Cat 6

Cat 6 cables are the in-between of Cat 5e and Cat 6A: faster than the former and less expensive than the latter. The only problem with these cables is their distance, which is usually limited to 164 ft.; this is why many places use these cables for the key points of connection and use Cat 5e cables for the smaller intersections. Overall, an HDMI extender over Cat 6 will produce high-quality images and sound with very little delay, but only up to a limited range.

3. Cat 6A

The most recent version of the Cat line of cables is the Cat 6A, a powerful cable designed to transmit the high levels of information that are now often required for high-quality audio and visual. These cables are able to connect most devices with the highest speeds presently available, which means you will see a lot less delay, but will be looking at a higher price tag. Generally, Cat 6A cables are best for when you need the highest level of information sent to the furthest distances. The cable can do 10 gigabits per second networking for up to 328 ft., the full range of ethernet, all while reducing the crosstalk among the pairs for even less delay. The cables are noticeably thicker than the others, which can cause some problems when running the wires, but it remains the best option for anyone who needs the best connection over the furthest distance. If you are looking at an HDMI extender over Cat 6A, you are looking for the best signal currently available.

Now that you know the differences between Cat 5e, Cat 6, and Cat 6A, you can now find the right HDMI extender for what you need.