HDMI cable when operating with the ATEM Mini (Extreme)

Since the introduction of this standard , HDMI cables have been available in different versions, currently up to version 2.1. These differ technically, among other things, in the maximum transferrable data rate, the image resolution and frequency, the sound transmission and the color space formats.

All HDMI cables used in the BSS Cases for the ATEM Mini (Extreme) comply with at least the HDMI specification 2.0. This corresponds to a maximum image resolution of 4k 60Hz. Since the ATEM Mini can process a maximum of 1080p 60Hz signals, there are enough reserves.

HDMI is a digital data transmission. In contrast to analog signal transmissions, in which the signal gradually loses level over the length of the transmission path, this is either available in full quality or fails completely. Therefore, please note the following information for trouble-free operation.

What to do if no signal arrives at ATEM Mini?

Reliable signal transmission with HDMI depends on several factors:

Specification and quality of HDMI cables

  • Use only HDMI 2.0 specification or better cables. These are also commercially available under the name “HDMI Premium High Speed”.
  • Use cables that are as short as possible.
  • With cable lengths >5m, the shielding and the cable structure are very important. Only use multiple (triple) shielded, high-quality cables.
  • Wherever possible, avoid cable lengths of 10m or more. Alternatively, use active signal converters on SDI, CAT5, fiber optics or similar transmission variants that allow longer cable runs due to their specification. HDMI cables with a signal repeater can also work, but should be tested with the signal source and receiver (ATEM Mini).

Signal source

  • The signal source is also crucial. Depending on the device, a cable can work smoothly at one source, the same cable at the same HDMI input of the ATEM Mini (Extreme) with another source cannot. This depends on the signal level provided by the source device, how high its attenuation is in combination with the cable, etc.
  • Our experience shows that with high-quality, well-shielded cables, even sources that no longer deliver a signal with poor-quality cables will work perfectly with the ATEM Mini. However, a test is necessary in advance in any case.

Compatible parameters

  • Normally, active HDMI devices agree on compatible parameters in a data exchange before they start transmitting. In the case of the ATEM Mini (Extreme), this means a maximum resolution of 1080p 60Hz, 8-bit color depth, as well as RGB or 4:2:2 color subsampling.
  • However, individual devices such as (professional) video cameras or (SDI) signal converters can or do output a fixed, pre-parameterized signal. If this is not compatible with the specifications of the ATEM Mini (Extreme) (e.g. 4k, 10-bit1, REC 2020, etc.), it does not emit a signal or a picture flicker on this input (a stable connection does not come about) regardless of the cables used!
  • Therefore, please set the output parameters of your signal source to match the specifications of ATEM Mini’s HDMI inputs.

Signal receiver

  • Not every receiver of an HDMI signal has the same input sensitivity. One device can establish a secure signal connection with the appropriate source-cable combination, another not. In our case, however, when operating with the ATEM-Mini, this question is obsolete. Here we have to live with what Blackmagic Design has developed and installed on components.

Conclusion

In all our tests with corresponding cables from different manufacturers, in different cable lengths (0.3m – 10m), at different sources, with different ATEM Mini and with the corresponding HDMI test device (signal generator), we came to the following results:

With high-quality cables (2.0 and good 3-fold shielding) as well as the correct, compatible transmission parameters, all tested sources easily deliver signals via BSS case to the ATEM-Mini Extreme). We only noticed a signal failure on the ATEM Mini with a (cheaper) cable with a length of 10m. It didn’t matter whether the cables were plugged into the BSS case or directly into the ATEM Mini. Alternatively, with a high-quality 10m HDMI cable, the signal flow with all tested sources was possible without any problems.

Recommendation

Based on our consistently positive experience, we recommend using HDMI quality cables from PURELINK (eg PI 1000 series or better). These are available in different lengths.

1) Due to the sockets and cables used (according to the HDMI specification 2.0), a maximum color depth of 8 bits is possible when using the BSS case.

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