An HDMI Cable That Ditches the Bulk
By Stan Sholik
When you need to do a presentation, bigger is better for the screen that you'll use to show your work, but smaller is better for the equipment you need to bring with you. On a location assignment, showing your portfolio to an ad agency, or selling your services to a couple looking for a wedding photographer—the less you need to carry, the happier you’ll be.
An active HDMI cable lets you show a wedding portfolio
on your iPad 2 to an engaged couple in their own home
without toting a bulky cable. ©Stan Sholik
RedMere cables are roughly 1/4 of the diameter of standard HDMI cables and will coil into a diameter of less than one inch. Yet the cables are guaranteed to deliver full 1080p HD picture quality while you control the show from as far away as 10 feet. Most 10-foot HDMI cables are heavy and bulky and won’t coil comfortably in your pocket, camera bag or iPad case. That is the problem that RedMere has solved with their RedMere HDMI cables.
The availability of an HDMI output on most digital SLRs gives traveling photographers the option to leave the laptop at home and take along a compatible HDMI cable to preview photos and videos in any hotel room with an HDTV that has an HDMI input. For photographers showing their portfolio to prospective clients, the iPad 2 is becoming the device of choice. With a Digital AV Adapter and an HDMI cable, you can connect an iPad to an HDTV and make the presentation even more impressive.
RedMere’s technology is based on a tiny, self-powered chip built into the HDMI cable connector. The RedMere chip boosts the signal so that the cable can be even thinner than an iPad USB cable and still handle the 10.2 GB/s data rate. Cables with RedMere technology, also known as “active” cables, are the world’s thinnest, lightest, and most flexible cables for products that connect using HDMI technology, according to the company.
I tested a RedMere cable using both my iPad 2 and a Nikon D3X as input devices to an HDTV. Still photos from the iPad 2 are impressive to view on an HDTV. Sharpness and color quality are an excellent match to the iPad screen, but contrast and saturation are slightly greater on the HDTV screen. By paging through the HDTV menu we discovered that both of these settings had been increased. Resetting them to 0 resulted in a near-perfect match to the iPad screen, but even if you are using the cable to connect to an HDTV of unknown adjustments, the quality on the screen should be excellent.
Still images from the iPad 2 did not display full screen on the HDTV, but that has nothing to do with the cable. I suspect this is the result of the iPad recording images at 1,280 pixels in the longest dimension and the 3:2 ratio of still digital SLR images. HD movies played from the iPad on the HDTV were displayed full screen. Full-resolution JPEGs from the D3X also displayed full screen with black bars at the sides from the difference in aspect ratio. Vertical images from both the iPad and D3x displayed as vertical on the HDTV with wide black borders on each side.
Both devices that I tested use the full-size (Type A) HDMI connector, although active HDMI cables are also available with Mini (Type C) and Micro (Type D) connectors.
Photo courtesy of RedMere
While RedMere developed the technology for ultrathin active HDMI cables, they do not sell the cables directly. The cables are sold by Vizio, PNY, Monster, Samsung and AUVIO (at Radio Shack stores). MSRP is about $100 for the 10 foot cable, but the street price is less than $30.
Stan Sholik is a commercial/advertising photographer in Santa Ana, CA, specializing in still life and macro photography. His fifth book, “Nik HDR Efex Pro After the Shoot” (Wiley Publishing), is now available.