The evolution of the ever-necessary yet sometimes problematic HDMI cable has taken a pretty big step forward with active cable technology. Active cables employ either a standalone signal management device—repeater or booster box—or a chip built into the cable. These add an integrated circuit to the standard passive cable, the purpose of which is to offset losses that occur naturally. The ultimate results allow the cables to be more compact, thinner, longer, and faster.
RedMere's patented chip integrated with an HDMI connector
The chips are built into one end of the cable and manufactured by Irish company RedMere. Redmere has been licensing the chips for several years now, but they are now beginning to become more widespread.
There are two main applications that benefit from RedMere’s booster technology: portability, as the cables can be much thinner, akin to the small, portable products they often support; and the ability to hide the cables easier, also a result of their thinner width. The cables can be as thin as average headphone cords and easily fit into a pocket.
The thinner cords almost eliminate torque tension, leading to less connector strain, which can harm a TV’s connector.
RedMere’s chip serves as a “hearing aid for cable,” Peter Smythe, RedMere CEO and founder said.
Active cables are currently sold in the United States by RadioShack, VIZIO (also in Canada), My Cable Mart; worldwide by Monster, PNY; and in Japan by Buffalo Kokuyo Supply.
RedMere has also pioneered a single cable solution for directly connecting iPad/iPhone/iTouch’s directly to an HDTV, sans dongle.