Projector Reviews

Simplified MFG EXeARC1 18Gbps HDMI 2.0b Extender Review

Simplified MFG EXeARC1 is one of the few HDMI extenders that support eARC

The Simplified MFG EXeARC1, which retail for $799, is one of the only HDMI-over-Ethernet audio/video signal extender system that supports [email protected] HDR content as well as eARC (enhanced audio return channel).

One of the biggest challenges when installing a projector or new flat panel TV is running the HDMI cable from the video display to the A/V rack. Routing the cable to hide it from view usually requires a much longer HDMI which could be very expensive.

The Simplified MFG EXeARC1 18Gbps HDMI 2.0b Extender is the first of its kind.  With this device, you can bring uncompressed Dolby+/Atmos audio from your display back to the source/rack up to 50m. You can use it in ARC (Audio Return Channel) or eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) mode. The EXeARC1 supports HDR10, HDR10+, and Dolby Vision, as well as the entire HDMI 2.0b.

Since it is an HDMI 2.0b device, the EXeARC1 HDMI extender system supports bandwidth transmission of up to 18 Gbps which is more than enough to view 4K HDR content. In addition, the EXeARC1 is rated to support the transmission of 4K HDR @60p content at distances up to 50 meters/33 feet.  It also supports Bidirectional Infrared control, RS232.

OVERVIEW

Simplified MFG EXeARC1 Transmitter and Receiver

The Simplified MFG EXeARC1 18Gbps HDMI 2.0b Extender can deliver an 18gbps video signal along with audio and control signals distances up to 50 meters/230 feet. This should be more than enough distance for most home/business applications. Notably, the Simplified MFG EXeARC1 is the least expensive HDMI extender that I have encountered that supports eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) for high-quality multi-channel audio playback.

HDMI can deliver great picture and sound from a single cable while providing the copyright protection demanded by content creators.  When the HDMI was developed, the creators assumed that the display would be near the source. In most home theaters, this assumption was correct because the video display, which is usually a TV, is located only a few feet away from the cable box, video game, or Blu-ray player.

However, with the growth of both the Custom Integration and the projector market, the demand for longer and longer HDMI cables continues to grow. Furthermore, 4K HDR video, part of the HDMI 2.0b standard, also demands much higher bandwidth capability than 1080P due to increased resolution and color depth.  In addition, an HDMI cable must also transfer additional data like HDCP copyright protection and HDR metadata and high-resolution multichannel audio.

The ability for an HDMI cable to deliver high bandwidth drops as the distance gets longer. High-quality passive HDMI cable work can only reliability deliver 18gbps which is the maximum bandwidth of HDMI 2.0b content for about 5- 8 meters. Over the years, different solutions have been developed for applications requiring longer HDMI lengths, but each has pros and cons.

One solution is Active HDMI cables, where the signal is amplified to ensure maximum bandwidth. Unfortunately, these cables can be extremely expensive. Also, many active HDMI cables are powered by the 5V supplied by the display’s HDMI input. This voltage can drift, causing sporadic video drop out and sync issues.

Another solution is HDMI extenders, where the video information is transferred from a transmitter to a receiver via an inexpensive ethernet cable. HDMI extenders vary widely in price and performance. Lower-end solutions don’t support important features like 18Ggpbs, HDCP 2.2, and eARC.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • eARC and ARC are fully supported to bring Dolby+ and Atmos audio back to your rack or AVR
  • HDMI 2.0b (18Gbps), HDCP 2.2 and DVI compliant
  • Video resolutions up to [email protected]/60Hz (YUV444)
  • HDR8/10/10+pass through
  • Dolby Vision™ pass through
  • Supports HDMI High Bit Rate(HBR) audio pass through
  • Supports CEC 
  • Two way POE, either the TX or the RX can power the entire (only one supply is needed)
  • Bidirectional Infrared control signal together with the HDMI signal 
  • Transfer Bidirectional RS232 control signal together with the HDMI signal 
  • Transmission distance: Over CAT6 cable (50 meters)
  • [email protected]/60Hz (YUV420), [email protected]/60Hz (YUV444)
  • Nearly zero latency for lag free gaming

HARDWARE

Simplified MFG EXeARC1 HDMI Extender Kit

The Simplified MFG EXeARC1 system consists of a transmitter and a receiver unit along with a single power supply. On both receiver and transmitter units, there are power and status lights, an HDMI connection, and a single function button. The transmitter should be connected to the source device while the receiver should be connected to a TV, projector.

Simplified MFG EXeARC1 Transmitter

On the transmitter, there is an HDMI input to connect to the source along with an RS232 port, IR in/outs, and an HDMI audio output. When the eARC function is enabled the audio from the display is sent to a connected AVR through this HDMI output. If eARC is disabled, the HDMI audio out can be used to pass the audio from a source connected to the transmitter HDMI input to a connected receiver.

On the back of the transmitter are mode switches that can be used to enable eARC/ARC and/or CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) functionality. CEC is an HDMI feature that allows users to control multiple connected HDMI devices from a single remote control; A single CAT port (RJ45) is used to send the video and control information from the transmitter to the receiver along with a power connection.

Simplified MFG EXeARC1 Receiver

The receiver has a CAT port (RJ45) HDM output, IR in/out, and RS232 along with power connection since it can also be used to power via POE.  Both units are slim and compact so they can be easily hidden in a rack or behind a display.