Pro Tip Needed: How Do You Pull HDMI Cables?

Experts, how do you handle pulling HDMI cable during installs? For reference, many HDMI cables look like this:

Many monitors/TVs use HDMI, so a common connection between NVRs/DVRs, or VMS servers is an HDMI cable. Especially in smaller systems, HDMI is a pretty convenient connector.

One problem I've always had with HDMI is the huge terminal at the end. If I am pulling HDMI cable through a wall, I might have to drill a 2" - 3" hole just to fish the head through. For longer pulls, I can damage the connector pulling long distances of cable.

I have seen HDMI cables sold in lengths of 100' and longer. I wonder then, how do you pull these cables over such a long distance?

Do you use 'field terminated connectors'? This always seemed somewhat risky without also having a method of testing connection quality:

Thanks in advance.

I prefer systems like RapidRun if it's going to be pulled. The runner cable gets pulled through the ceiling/wall/whatever, then you screw on whatever connector you need. It's not cheap, but it's much less risky, especially if you're going longer distances.

If it's a short run up the wall and I don't think there are obstructions, I tape the crap out of the connector and pull it up with a fish tape. You could also get a cable with a mini HDMI connector, which will pull through smaller conduits, and adapt it to standard HDMI. I would personally never use a field terminated connector unless you're going to be doing a lot of them and have had practice at it.

Also, people should keep in mind that most HDMI cables you get off the shelf will not be plenum rated, which could be a major issue.

I have had some connection issues using RapidRun for HDMI. We use it a lot, but if using it for HDMI I now test it before I pull it into the walls and ceilings. The problems seem to be worst when using it to connect video conference cams to the codecs and codecs to the monitors. I have started using HDMI Redmere cables and have had better luck with them. I have used them up to 60' with no issues. One minor issue is that they are directional and have Source and Display ends that can't be switched.

I used RapidRun in the past and it worked quite well. The ends of the cables have a cap with a loop to assist in pulling the cable as well. I've used them to run around 50 feet from a central server in a back room to LFDs mounted on a showroom floor.

I have used UTP wire to HDMI adapters with good success all the way up to 1080p resolution. It makes for a clean install that can be easily serviced down the road. If you are lucky you can use existing drops and save on install costs.

Have you thought about using RJ45 to HDMI converters like this one?

I've used the cheap two-wire HDMI-over-UTP extenders on several sites now with great success.

First time I used an HDMI extender though, was in a case where a client decided to add a remote monitor last minute, I only had one spare UTP anywhere near the area, and even that was a pain to fish to where it was needed. We went with a very expensive ($300+) high-end extender that also carried serial data and had full HDCP support... it worked fine with the system's onboard (Intel GPU) HDMI for a couple years, as well as with the DVI head on a loaner we put in when we sent the machine for warranty service, but after the machine came back with a new Radeon card installed (don't even get me started), it stopped working. As near as I was ever able to determine, the Radeon's HDCP wasn't getting along with the extenders, so while Windows would detect and add the display, it refused to send a picture.

Anyway... +1 for cheap, basic, two-UTP HDMI extenders; this specific unit has been flawless for me.

I use vanco extenders. They have a lot of hdmi and home theather supplys.

Anyone have any experience with Muxlab baluns?

Use wyrestorm hdmi baluns, they are awesome quality.

Dont' pull HDMI at all. Run Cat6 and use HDMI over category baluns. You can run thin and cheap CAT6 and you will be able to run as long as you want. There are baluns out there that can run high speed HDMI, ethernet, ARC audio and IR over a single CAT6 over long distance. Also if you run 2 CAT6 in place of an HDMI and use the current offering of baluns you can swap them in the future with new baluns for whaterver is new without having to rip your walls apart.

This was a helpful, informative discussion. Thx.