Locking HDMI cables!

Finally, a non-self-ejecting HDMI cable

Left: normal HDMI cable. Right: locking HDMI cable. Note the cantilevered paddle with two tiny retention hooks.

A colleague and I were discussing the sorry state of the physical HDMI connection; we call it a “self ejecting” technology. HDMI cables fall out of HDMI sockets with surprising ease. Fortunately there’s now a solution to this problem: a locking plug that works with any HDMI socket.

A nice Flash animation at http://lockinghdmi.com/ shows how they work.

I received an advance sample yesterday, and tried it out on every bit of HDMI gear in the house: AJA IO HD, Sony LCD TV, Nikon D300, and Sony HVR-Z7.

On the first three, the cable worked superbly: once inserted, it resisted any rational attempt to pull it out (the manufacturer claims that normal HDMI cables pull out with 1.5 pounds of force—which seems high in my estimation—while the locking connector takes 7 pounds to dislodge. I was unable to apply sufficient pull to validate this claim for fear of damaging the cable or the equipment is was plugged into; it didn’t let go!). Yet a simple squeeze on the raised release button let me pull the cable out when I wanted to.

The Sony HVR-Z7 uses a recessed HDMI socket. On this camera, the locking HDMI cable fits, but the side of the recessed socket well pushes in on the release button just enough to keep it from latching, yet not so much as to prevent insertion. Perhaps this is for the best; with the cable inserted, how would you push the button manually?

Locking HDMI cable on an HVR-Z7

Still, the normal (weak) HDMI retention springs operate with the locking cable, so the locking cable was no less secure than a normal one.

Verdict: Great idea, well implemented. Just be careful if you have recessed HDMI sockets; if the locks engage, you may need a putty knife to press the release button!

Ben Richardson, who represents the makers of the Locking HDMI cable, emailed me as I was writing this up to say he’s got an even better one than the sample he sent me, which he’ll show me at NAB. Stay tuned…

Website, taking orders starting next Monday, 14 April: http://lockinghdmi.com/

Adam Wilt

Adam Wilt

Adam Wilt has been working off and on in film and video for the past thirty years, while paying the bills writing software for animation, automation, broadcast graphics, and real-time control for companies including Abekas, Pinnacle, Omneon, CBS, and ABC. Since 1997 his website, adamwilt.com, has been a popular reference for information on the DV formats. He has reviewed cameras for DV Magazine and written its “Technical Difficulties” column, and taught classes and led panels at NAB, IBC, and DV Expo. He co-authored the book,”Optimizing Your Final Cut Pro System”, part of the Apple Pro Training series.