HDMI Wallplates – Good Idea of Spawn of Satan?

You’ve done the work. You’ve run your cables inside your walls for that truly “clean” look. All your wires are hidden and your room looks great. But you’ve run into a problem. Your wall plate looks great with an input for each speaker and device. But you’ve been hearing some people grumble about the HDMI wallplate insert. That it has been causing issues? Should you be worried? What’s the solution? Let’s discuss!

The Issue with HDMI Wallplates

Wallplates allow you to add inserts for most if not all of the different types of connections you may need. Speaker wire, RCA, Ethernet, and even HDMI are available. These inserts are double-sided. This means that the wire inside the wall and the wire outside have the same connection. The insert allows for a cleaner installation with the signal being passed through the insert without being modified in any way.

The problem with HDMI is that any connection requires an HDMI handshake. There is no option to pass through the signal without an HDMI handshake. This means that not only must your HDMI cable be compatible with the HDMI signal you are sending, but so must the HDMI insert. If that sounds stupid…you are correct. It is. But because of the way HDMI works (specifically HDCP), it is necessary for your HDMI connection.

Unfortunately, HDMI inserts notably lag behind the latest HDMI iterations. HDMI 2.1 has been around for years and we are only now seeing HDMI wallplates that support HDMI 2.1. You’ll also find people who complain that they don’t work as advertised. This might be because of how they are being used or that the wallplates are being pushed to the limits of the HDMI 2.1 connection. Either way, you may find that your HDMI wallplate doesn’t work in your installation.

The Solution

HDMI connections are notoriously finicky. We’ve written countless articles on how to fix or troubleshoot HDMI problems. Adding an HDMI wallplate is just asking for trouble. As you upgrade devices, not only will you need to upgrade your HDMI cables, but you’ll be forced to upgrade your wallplates as well? No, thank you! Instead of buying HDMI wallplates, consider using a brush plate passthrough. These allow the cable to pass through the plate without looking too unsightly.

While it is not as elegant a solution, it cuts two additional HDMI connections from your system. For those who have run into HDMI problems, reducing the number of HDMI connections is worth a little aesthetic compromise.

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