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Product Review
 

Accell UltraAV and UltraRun HDMI Cables, Repeaters, and Switchers

October, 2006

Kris Deering

 

Accell UltraAV HDMI Cable
 

Specifications:

 

Available With CL3 Rating
Lengths up to 10 Meters

24kt Gold Plated Termination
MSRP: Starts at $29 USA

 

Accell

www.accellcables.com

Accell UltraRun HDMI Cable
 

Specifications:

 

Available With CL3 Rating
Lengths to 45  Meters

Built-in Equalizer and Signal Booster

Optional Power Adapter for 45 Meter Runs

24kt Gold-plated Termination
10-yr warranty
MSRP: Starts at $299 USA

Accell UltraRun HDMI Signal Repeater
 

Specifications:

 

Lengths to 50 Meters
Supports Resolutions up to 1080p
Compatible with DVI-enabled Devices

Fully HDCP Compliant
Powered from Most HDMI Devices

24K Gold-plated Terminatioin

MSRP: $149 USA

Accell UltraAV 2x1 HDMI Switch
 

Specifications:

 

Supports up to 1080p
Fully HDMI 1.2 Compliant
Compatible with HDCP Devices
Remote Control

5-foot IR Extender

MSRP: $99 USA

Introduction

I was introduced to Accell Cables a few years ago. I had begun work on a review of the DVDO VP-20 video processor, and DVDO had provided some cables to ensure that I had all the ones I would need to take advantage of the processor. All of the supplied cables were by Accell, and I was immediately impressed with the quality of the product. Now, several years later, Accell has increased their range of products to include HDMI cables and HDMI accessories as well.

HDMI is quickly becoming the cable of choice for digital video and audio. Most of the new products we see hitting the market have HDMI inputs and outputs, allowing for high definition video and multi-channel high resolution audio over one connector.

While I am a fan of what HDMI brings to the table on paper, execution has been a different matter altogether. The communications standards are supposed to be a certified factor, but it appears that most products do not adhere as strictly to the code and I've run into countless communication issues between products.

Another problem is the cables themselves. With new formats sending high resolution 1080p video and high resolution multi-channel audio over one connector, bandwidth use greatly increases. I've had several cables in my system that were not up to the task, and I started experiencing drop outs in video and communications issues between products. In most cases, it was a problem with sending too much information too far.

Accell has come up with a few solutions for these dilemmas.

The UltraRun Line

For this review I am going to focus on the UltraAV and UltraRun products in Accell's line of cabling. The UltraRun series is comprised of several different HDMI cables that use a built-in signal equalizer and booster to allow for longer cable runs than most HDMI cables. The UltraRun HDMI cable series starts out with lengths of 10m and goes up in 5m increments all the way to 45m!! That is an incredibly long cable run for a digital signal. Prices for this line range from an MSRP of $299 for the 10m run, up to $599 for the 45m run. The average on-line price for these cables seems to be a lot lower than MSRP, so shop around to get the best deal (Accell does not sell direct).

The design of the UltraRun cables eliminates the need for an in-line booster or amplifier up to mid-length. As the cable runs get longer, Accell has provided the option for a power adapter to boost the signal, but this is only necessary if you are experiencing issues in the signal like "sparkles" or communication errors (this will depend on the quality of the HDMI output on the source). The small powe adapter connects to the opposite end of the cable from the source. During my use, I never needed the adapter, but, again, this really depends on the quality of the source output.

For my review, I was sent two separate UltraRun cables, a 10m and a 45m. Both cables delivered as promised with no drop out issues at all.

Recently this line of cables went through a new design change and the UltraRun line of cables are now CL3 listed and can be used as an in-wall cable. They were also ATC certified.

Another part of the UltraRun line is a small HDMI signal repeater ($149). This is essentially a dongle of sorts with an HDMI input and output and is about the size of a bulk eraser. This repeater was designed to provide a means of increasing the cable run to 50m. This device is connected to the end of a 45m HDMI cable and allows you to add another 5m cable to it. I did not have a 5m cable on hand but I did have a 3m cable and it worked just fine using the same setup that I had before. I did not experience a single dropout or communication error between the two products (A/V processor and digital projector).

The construction of the UltraRun HDMI cables is solid and definitely on the no frills side. The inside of the cable consists of a nitrogen-injected dielectric that surrounds high quality copper conductors. These are surrounded by a triple metal shielding to eliminate interference. The outer jacketing is a simple black polymer with no fancy mesh or details. The terminations are slightly larger than most HDMI cables I've dealt with because of the inclusion of an internal equalizer and booster. All connectors and contacts are 24K gold plated.

The cabling does allow for a decent amount of bending, but due to the size of the connector, I don't recommend placing your components too close to a wall or back plate. You'll need room to accommodate the connector and the bend of the cable.

The UltraAV Line

For this review, Accell also sent some products from their UltraAV line, which consists of DVI cables, HDMI cables, and a few accessories. I received an UltraAV 10m HDMI cable and their new HDMI Switch. HDMI cables in the UltraAV line provide lengths from 1m to 10m.

The UltraAV HDMI cable is very similar to the UltraRun 10m cable I already had. The biggest difference was the lack of a equalizer and booster in the termination, which made the terminator smaller in size (but equal in build). The jacketing and internal makeup were all the same, and you can get the UltraAV line with full CL3 rating for in-wall use.

I connected the 10m cable between my A/V processor and my digital projector, and fed both 1080p video and 720p video signals through them. Regardless of the signal I used, I had no issues with dropouts or signal degradation.

Communication between the two devices was flawless. The high definition picture looked just as good as when I was using a high-end HDMI cable that costs several times more.

Accell's new UltraAV HDMI switch ($99) is a 2-in-1-out solution for people that don't want to buy a large switcher or a new receiver to do the job. The switch is quite small, measuring about 2"x2" in size and requires no power source. It comes with a small remote control that is extremely thin and light weight. It also has a small button on the top of the switch that can be used to toggle between sources. The top of the device has two LEDs that tell you which input is currently active. On top of that, Accell has provided a 5-foot extension cable with an IR sensor on it so you can tuck away the switcher and still control it with the remote.

Hook-up was a snap. You simply connect the sources to the labeled inputs and connect the output to your projector. For testing, I connected a Samsung Blu-ray player and my JVC D-Theater D-VHS player. The switch is HDMI 1.2 compliant so I had no issues passing the 1080p video feed from the Samsung as well as the high resolution uncompressed PCM multi-channel audio. At less than $100, this thing is a great alternative for people who have two HDMI sources to switch and only one HDMI input on their projector to work with.

Conclusions

Accell has continued to impress me with their line of products. I constantly recommend their analog video cables, which have served me well for quite a few years. I've been using their analog cables for our DVD Benchmark for over three years now, without a single hitch. Their HDMI products continue that trend with superb performance and value. Very few products out there have a guarantee for such long cable runs. For anyone wanting exceptional cable performance without gimmicks, but having a solid value, Accell delivers in spades.
 

- Kris Deering -

Copyright 2006 Secrets of Home Theater & High Fidelity

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