If you take anything away from this post, know two things:
- Over short distances, all HDMI cables are the same.
- Over longer distances (10+ feet) the signal may cut out depending on the quality of the cable, but you should still never buy offensively over-priced HDMI cables.
In other words, if you’re connecting your Blu-ray Player to your TV 3 feet away, use a really cheap HDMI cable. But, if you’d like to watch your TiVo from the living room in your bedroom on the second floor, the distance might be too far for cheap HDMI cables.
Fortunately for you, you ran ethernet cable between floors in your home, right? With ethernet cable, you can use an HDMI over Ethernet device to watch your Tivo shows on either TV. The HDMI output of your Tivo goes into an HDMI splitter; from there, one end goes to your TV and the other to the HDMI extender. The beauty of using HDMI over ethernet cable is that a) the digital signal travels further over ethernet than HDMI, b) the cable can be cut to length, c) foot-for-foot, ethernet cable is WAY cheaper than HDMI, and d) infrared signals can also be transmitted over the cable for control of the source device.
Unlike HDMI cables, though, HDMI over Ethernet extenders aren’t all the same. The devices range from the low-end, which require two separate ethernet cables to carry the HDMI signal, to the high-end, which requires only a single ethernet cable and can transmit infrared (remote control) signals at the same time. Thanks to Amazon’s great return policy, I tried the cheap one (and was disappointed) before settling on – and being very happy with – the higher-end model. Like the HDMI cable recommendation, your best bet is to start at the low end to see if the solution works for you, and gradually work your way up.
One final note: if your goal is to watch programs recorded on your TiVo in one room on a TV in another room, you may opt for a TiVo Mini. But for me, the idea of a perpetual monthly fee for this basic feature is a slap in the face for a device that already charges you $20/month for a basic program guide and ad delivery mechanism on top of what you already get from your cable company.