HDMI cables have left their infancy behind and have now stabilized and become somewhat more commonplace. While handshake issues have largely been solved, with most HDMI cables on the market today being 1080p-compliant, there is still one shortcoming that has plagued the do-it-all wire: length. Long runs, in excess of 20 feet or more, have always been a bit of a crapshoot when it came to the HDMI format. DVI was, and remains, much more suited for long-run trouble-free operations. However, DVI cannot pass an audio signal and runs into issues regarding the latest deep color and other picture enhancements.
That's where Accell cable comes in, specifically their Ultrarun line of products reviewed here. Most of my set-ups involve the use of an HDMI cable longer than 25 feet. In my office rig, my needs extend to 40 feet, since my rack is located in another room altogether. Accell sent me an 82-foot length of their Ultrarun HDMI 1.3 cable that is not only stable, due largely to its included low-voltage repeater, but is also able to take advantage of all of the latest HD enhancements, such as 120Hz, 12-bit color, uncompressed audio formats and x.v. Color Ranges. To make the deal even sweeter, the 82-foot length of cable retails for an affordable $449 retail.
• The Ultrarun HDMI cables are in-wall-compliant, making them some of the more flexible and user-friendly high-end HDMI cables I've ever come across.
• The included AC-powered repeater dongle aids in making sure all of the HD goodness is getting from your source to the display, even in lengths greater than 50 feet. The dongle can be replaced (should it become inoperable) without having to remove the Ultrarun cable from your installation.
• Picture quality utilizing the Ultrarun cable was superb and trouble-free. Images popped with brilliant saturation and detail and changes in HD source material were dealt with brilliantly, with little to no dropping of signal. If there was dropping of signal, it was undoubtedly due to the sources themselves and not the cable.
• Motion, especially hand-held or rapid pans, was smooth and judder-free through the Ultrarun, provided the display was up to the task. The better your source and display, the more the Ultrarun will impress you.
• Lastly, and we rarely view price as a high or low side, for what it costs, the Accell Ultrarun is pound for pound (or should I say foot for foot) the best value HDMI cable I've encountered by a wide margin.
• The HDMI repeater that is included with the Ultrarun cable is no doubt necessary, but it does require an AC power source and thus can make installation a bit tricky, unless you've run an outlet directly behind your display or projector. I had a nearly hidden installation, with the exception of the thin squiggly cable running from the repeater to the outlet below my set.
In today's high-end cable market, it's not uncommon to find meter lengths of HDMI cable retailing for $500 or more. What is uncommon is finding an 82-foot length of reference-grade HDMI 1.3 cable for under $500. Well, that's what I've found with the Accell Ultrarun 1.3 HDMI cable. Stable in every way, boasting compatibility that even a high-priced receiver can barely match, the Ultrarun series of HDMI cables from Accell is an absolute revelation in more ways than one. If you can work around the slightly obtuse repeater dongle and require a long run of modern HDMI capability, than look no further than the Ultrarun series from Accell. Highly and emphatically recommended.