Over the years audio and video technology has drastically evolved. Today the current standard in high definition audio and video is HDMI or High-Definition Multimedia Interface.The HDMI interface is designed to transfer both high-definition audio and video through one cable (HDMI Cable). CCTV security camera systems have also added HDMI capabilities (RCA, BNC, and VGA capabilities are still there as well). This may lead to the question, “How do I choose a proper HDMI cable for my DVR?” The two most important things to take into consideration are the type of monitor you will be using to view your DVR and the the distance between your monitor and DVR.

The Monitor

It’s no surprise that there are a number of choices when it comes to monitors. The most obvious thing to look for is if it has an HDMI port (not to be confused with a firewire port). These will always look the same and will more than likely be labeled with the HDMI logo. See the image below (courtesy of Wikipedia) for a quick reference.

hdmi port


Once you determine that your chosen monitor has HDMI inputs, it’s a great idea make sure it can support full HD. High definition is defined by a range of resolutions. In terms of HD resolution, 480p is the lowest while 1080p is the highest.  Many cheaper monitors will be advertised as supporting HD. These monitors support up to 720p so it’s not wrong that they’re advertised as HD. It is however, not full HD. In short, if you want the best possible image to be displayed, you will need a monitor that supports full HD at 1080p.

The HDMI Cable

Now that you have selected your monitor, you must choose an HDMI cable that is most applicable to your situation. Two things to take into consideration are the length of the HDMI cable and the gauge (thickness) of the wire inside of it.

The length of the cable matters to a certain extent. Generally speaking, all HDMI cables are the same. The differences come into play when looking at lengths in excess of 50 feet. For example, your DVR is located in one part of your home or building and you want to bring it up on a monitor that is located more than 50 feet away from the DVR itself. You can certainly run a cable of this length, but you risk the possibility of losing some of the resolution.

The next thing you want to pay attention to is the gauge of the wire inside the HDMI cable itself. On most cables you will notice an AWG number imprinted along the cable, not the connector. AWG stands for American Wire Gauge which is a standardized system for measuring the diameters (thickness) of electrically conducting wire. AWG works backwards in a sense because if the number is higher, the wire is thinner. Check out the image below (courtesy of diyaudioprojects.com)  for a visual explanation.


The smaller the number, the thicker the cable.

HDMI cables usually come in gauges of 28 AWG, 26 AWG, 24 AWG, and 22 AWG. In general a user will want a thicker gauge wire if they plan on running the cable a long distance. A thinner gauge will be usable for longer runs but it won’t be able to handle a full HD signal load. If you only need to run your cable a few feet, a 28 AWG HDMI cable will be fully capable of providing full HD audio and video.  For anything longer, 26 AWG should do just fine up to about 75-100 feet depending on the quality of the manufacturing.  You’ll simply want to keep gradually going up in gauge as the distance expands.

The Result

What this all boils down to is the quality of the image you want to be displayed and where you want it to be displayed. If you can handle a lower resolution, by all means, run your cable as long as necessary. If you need the best picture possible, plan accordingly when setting up your CCTV security camera system.

Don Stephens is a Technical Support Manager at CCTV Camera World, a leading Security Camera distributor located in Buffalo, NY. His area of expertise is in designing professional security camera systems for medium and large scale businesses, schools, and government projects.

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