Connecting high-resolution video and audio sources such as computers, laptops and DVD players to HDTVs, monitors and projectors can quickly get complicated, especially when it’s over long distances and includes multiple displays. To ensure you choose the best hardware connectivity solution for you application, here are some key questions you should ask before purchasing.

How many video sources and how many displays do you have?

The components in your connectivity solution need to have enough ports to support the number of video sources and displays in your installation. Do you need to send content from one source to one display, one source to multiple displays, multiple sources to one display, or multiple sources to multiple displays simultaneously?

Where are the video sources and displays located and what are the distances between them?

The connectivity solution you choose should be suitable for the location of the source and display. Some through-wall installations may require wall plate components or may benefit from easy pull solutions.

The distance the video signal needs to travel also helps determine the type of solution you need. For example, if your source and display are hundreds of feet from each other, you might need an over Cat5 solution.

What type of connectors are on the video source and the display (DVI, HDMI, DisplayPort, VGA, etc.)?

Determine what type of connectors are on the video source device and what type of connectors are on the display. Your connectivity solution needs to be compatible with those technologies. A wide variety of adapters are available for installations that involve more than one technology.

What video resolution needs to be supported?

The maximum resolution you can achieve is the highest resolution that both the source and the display can support. Your connectivity solution should at a minimum support this resolution. If you want to plan for the capability of future equipment, choose a connectivity solution that supports a higher resolution than your equipment can currently achieve.

What are the building codes?

Building codes vary by municipality. The codes in your community may define how cabling needs to be run between spaces, especially in ceilings, between floors and through walls. For example, cables may need to be run in conduit.

Codes may also define what type of cable is used in a particular application. For instance, some installations require plenum-rated cable. Always check local building codes when planning your connectivity solution.

Is HDCP protection needed as content travels across connections?

HDCP stands for High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection. It’s a form of digital copy protection that prevents interception of digital audio and video content as it travels across connections. If you’re transmitting content from a DVD or Blu-ray Disc™ player to a display, your connectivity solution needs to support HDCP to transmit the HDCP signal.