Frequently Asked Questions

 What is the difference between a wire and a cable?

A Wire is a conductor, usually copper or aluminum, which allows a signal to flow from one point to another. Wire is usually covered with an insulator or jacket, and comes in various gauges.

A cable is two or more wires bound together in a common jacket.  The individual wires inside the jacket may be bare, covered, or insulated..

 What is UL?

UL stands for Underwriters Laboratories. UL sets safety standards for wire, cable, electronics and other products sold in the USA. This not-for-profit organization provides testing for products to be recognized or listed for manufacturers. Sometimes you will see the label "CSA", which is the Canadian Standards Association, the Canadian version of UL. The National Electrical Code (NEC) requires the use of UL listed products to meet the requirements of various articles within the code. The Canadian Electrical Code (CEC) is the equivalent to the NEC.

 What are the levels of UL Ratings for CI Wire?

There are a handful of UL levels which the NEC and CEC specify for wiring purposes.

  • Plenum (highest) - identified with the suffix "P" (e.g. CL3P). Plenum indicates that these cables are intended for use within buildings in ducts or plenums or other spaces used for environmental air.
  • Riser - identified with the suffix "R" (e.g. CMR). The Riser rating indicates that these cables are intended for use within buildings in vertical shafts.
  • General Purpose - identified with no suffix (e.g. CL2). This rating indicates that these cables are intended for use within buildings.
  • Residential (lowest) - identified with the suffix "X" (e.g. CATVX)  Indicates that these cables are intended for use within buildings where the wire or cable is enclosed in a raceway or noncombustible tubing.


 What is RoHS?

RoHS (pronounced "Ro-Hoss") stands for the "Restriction of Hazardous Substances" which is directly aimed at companies who build electronic equipment and even wire and cable. To help the global environment, RoHS came into existence in 2006. The European Union (EU) industry manufacturers are required to limit the levels of lead, cadmium, mercury, hexavalent chromium, polybrominated biphenyl (PBB), and the flame retardant polybrominated diphenyl ether (PBDE). Not only have these six substances been linked to global change, they have all been linked to multiple medical conditions in humans. For example, PBDE has been found as an endocrine disruptor that can be linked to obesity.

All of Tributaries products are RoHS compliant

What is the difference between RG6 Copper Clad Steel and RG6 Copper?

 Before discussing the advantages and disadvantages of solid copper center conductors versus copper clad steel, let’s define them. Copper-clad refers to a center conductor that is manufactured from steel and coated with a very thin layer of copper. Solid copper construction is as the name implies, a conductor manufactured from solid copper.  This construction of copper-clad steel coax came into being for a few reasons. For one, copper clad steel takes advantage of a phenomenon called “skin effect”, the tendency for a signal to travel on the surface of a conductor at a given frequency. Simply put, as frequencies increase, the signal migrates to the "skin" of the conductor. Another factor is cost reduction, because steel is less expensive than copper. Lastly, steel has more tensile strength than copper. Although it isn’t as flexible, steel can withstand a higher load before failure.

Solid copper center conductors offer some advantages over copper-clad steel. All copper is more flexible than copper clad steel, reducing installation time and hassles. Another advantage of copper is better conductance.  For years, satellite companies have strongly suggested to use only RG6 solid copper. A copper clad steel cable could cause voltage problems for the satellite’s LNB.

What is the difference between RG59DC and RG59SSC?

The RG59DC, is constructed with a 95% tinned copper braid and a 100% aluminum Mylar® wrap and is swept to 3.0GHz. It is shielded to protect both baseband and broadband frequencies. RG59DC has replaced standard RG59 single shield (RG59SSC).  Because RG59SSC is built only with a 95% copper braid, it was designed for baseband applications of analog video and analog audio signals only

RG59DC is available with a translucent jacket in four different colors: red, green, blue and grey.


What is Delay Skew in Category Wire?

In standard Category wire, each pair has different twists per inch (TPI) to help prevent cross-talk.  Because each pair has different TPI, each pair will have a different length if untwisted.  This means each signal traveling down a pair of Category wire, will arrive at different times, timed in nanoseconds. (40ns is normal delay skew in standard CAT5E at 100 meters)

 When using "Baluns", the electronics may call for a low skew Category wire. A low skew Category wire is constructed to where all of the colored pairs have the same twists per inch.  This makes each pair the same length when untwisted.  Having the same TPI in all pairs ensures the signal on each pair arriving at the destination at the same time.  Most low-skew or nano-skew Category wires will have a delay skew ranging from 4 to 12ns at 100 meters.

What do all these color coding mean on the connectors?

 When looking at RCA and BNC connectors, you will find a variety of colors.  Each color represents a certain video or audio format or signal.  These colors correspond to the back of your electronics. Please note: Video cables can be used as audio cables.  Audio cables cannot substitute for a video cable.


Yellow                                  Composite Video

Red, Green, Blue                  Component or RGB Video


Red, White                           Right and Left Audio

Brown or Purple                    Subwoofer

Orange                                 Digital Audio Coax

How do Tributaries 1piece RCA compression connectors compare to other in-the-field terminations?

Tributaries 1-piece RCA connectors have a 360 degree lateral/radial compression which does not change the dielectric; this is the only termination system that is AT&T approved and meets both SCTE and Bellcore standards.

The 1-piece connector is water tight and requires 75lbs of pull pressure to remove it from the wire, giving it a more permanent, reliable connection.

The 1-piece RCA connector has a “visible” entry t for ease of connection which ensures proper fit 100% of the time.

Can an audio cable be used for a video cable?

No.  When dealing with video and digital audio, the cable must have a 75 ohm impedance to achieve its maximum performance.  All TRIBUTARIES® video and digital audio cables are 75 ohm. Analog audio cables are typically 30-50 ohm in impedance, below the required 75 ohm impedance. The reason is a digital audio & video system’s inputs and outputs must be designed for 75 ohm impedance cables to prevent the signal from being reflected back to the signal source. These reflections can cause video issues, such as "ghosting", where the image will appear as a weak and displaced image (typically to the right of the primary image).

 What is different between the Series 7 & Series 9 cables vs. the Series 8 cables?

 There are a few differences between Tributaries Series 7 & 9 vs. the Series 8 cables.

  • Type of Copper: The Series 8 is built using LC-OFC or Long Crystal Oxygen Free Copper. White the Series 7 & 9 cables were designed with Oxygen Free High Conductivity (OFHC) copper.
  • Improved Coaxial Specification: Series 8 Digital Audio/Video cables are constructed of 2.5% silver-plated LC-OFC with a heavier 18AWG conductor engineered to the RG6 specification and can be terminated in the field using PROFIT RG6 connectors making the Series 8 to be a major improvement over RG6 , Series 7 and Series 9 cables for performance
  • Improved Audio Performance: Series 8 Audio cable is made of individually insulated, dual gauge conductors, designed to maximize the balance between the bass and midrange/high frequency signals, while improving sonic resolution over previous models of Series 7 and Series 9.
What is Long Crystal copper?
Long Crystal copper is drawn to have a smaller crystal make up. Crystals cause boundaries which causes signal distortion and resistance. The fewer the crystals the less change in the signal. Long Crystal copper has about 70 crystals per foot, while OFHC copper has about 400 per foot.

Why is a silver-plated, copper center conductor better than a copper center conductor?

 Since silver is a lower resistance metal than copper, a signal is capable of traveling further.  Also, higher frequencies tend to flow closer to the surface.  Since silver has a 10% gain in conductance, the data transfer is superior to that of copper.

Can component carry a 1080p signal?

 Yes. All component cables have more than enough bandwidth to carry 1080p. However, if you do not include the gaming and Media Server world, there are NO sources that will output 1080p over Component. In ongoing attempts to prevent high-definition from being copied, the CEA has sided with Hollywood, and will continue to support HDMI.  As of November 2007, this means that CEA will not be defining 1080p analog.

What is the difference between HDMI 1.3 and 1.4?
HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) is a data channel that will enable a Bi-directional Ethernet connection that sends and receives up to 100mbps. The HEC will allow HDMI Internet enabled devices to share the internet connection and eliminate multiple Ethernet cables and Ethernet hubs. To take advantage of the HEC, a new HDMI cable (Standard Speed or High Speed) with Ethernet will be needed. HEC cables will use the HDMI connector (Type A) commonly found on previous HDMI versions.

Audio Return Channel (ARC) allows audio from a display with a tuner to be sent to a receiver over the HDMI cable. This will reduce the amount of cables in the system. Existing Standard Speed HDMI, High Speed HDMI cables and the new HDMI w/ Ethernet cables will support the ARC. The last mentioned connection is known as HDMI Ethernet and Audio Return Channel (HEAC)

 Content Type feature enables a display to auto-select the correct viewing mode to match the content it is receiving from the source. Whether the content is movies, gaming, photographs or text, the display will automatically adjust to the content. Check the equipment’s list of features for Content Type auto selection, and simply connect using any HDMI cable.

 3D video and gaming formats as well as 4K X 2K resolution has been added to HDMI 1.4. 3D specifies dual-stream resolutions and is capable of twice the amount of resolution as 1080p. 4K X 2K is capable of displaying about 4 times the resolution as 1080p. Existing High Speed HDMI cables and HEC cables will support these various formats and resolutions.

 Expanded support for Color Spaces Support is a feature designed for digital still cameras only. Color space formats such as “syCC601”, “Adobe RGB” and “Adobe YCC601” has the capability of reproducing more accurate life-like colors for digital photos. Existing High Speed HDMI cables and HEC cables will support these formats.

 The Micro HDMI Connector (Type D Connector) will be 50% smaller than that of the Mini HDMI and is designed specifically for hand held devices. This connector will have 19-pins and will be compatible with a standard HDMI connector (Type A).

 Automotive Connection System (ACS) for HDMI cables and electronics was created to distribute HD content throughout an automobile up to 1080i/720p. The ACS is specifically designed to withstand the environments within a car, such as heat and vibrations. The ACS cable's connector (Type E) will have a new connector with locking capabilities. This will be the only HDMI cable with a locking connector. 

Are Tributaries HDMI cables 1.4 certified?

In November 2009 HDMI LLC removed the version numbering system from all HDMI cables. HDMI cables are now identified by how much information they can pass (Speed Ratings) and whether they are built to carry the Ethernet channel. A cable designated as” High Speed with Ethernet” is tested to pass the full bandwidth capability (10.2Gbps) of HDMI as well as the Ethernet channel.

Do Tributaries HDMI cables pass 3D and 4K x 2K?

All Tributaries cables rated for “High Speed” will pass 3D and 4K x 2K. It is possible for some “Standard Speed” cables to pass these formats, but to ensure a passing signal, use “High Speed” HDMI cables.

Do Tributaries HDMI cables pass Audio Return Channel?
Any Tributaries HDMI cable you purchased since 2002 is capable of passing the Audio Return Channel (ARC). The ARC travels on the Hot Plug Detect, an integral conductor in the HDMI cable. 

 What do the different HDMI Cable Nomenclatures mean?

This new nomenclature is to help reduce end-user confusion when it comes to purchasing the right HDMI cable for his or her system. Here are the 5 new names:

  • Standard Speed is an HDMI cable certified by HDMI LLC to pass 2.23Gbps
  • High Speed is an HDMI cable certified by HDMI LLC to pass 10.2Gbps
  • Standard Speed with Ethernet is an HDMI cable certified by HDMI LLC to pass 2.23Gbps and Ethernet up to 100Mbps
  • High Speed with Ethernet is an HDMI cable certified by HDMI LLC to pass 10.2Gbps and Ethernet up to 100Mbps
  • Standard Automotive is an HDMI cable certified by HDMI LLC to pass 2.23Gbps and has a locking mechanism
Are Tributaries HDMI cables certified by HDMI LLC?

 Yes, Tributaries cables are all certified by HDMI LLC.

Are Tributaries HDMI cable UL rated?
Yes. All Series 3 and 5 HDMI cables are CL3 rated. The Series 7 and Series 9 HDMI cables of 4 meters and longer are CL3 Rated. 

How long can I run HDMI?

 The desired length of an HDMI cable is dependent on many factors:

  • The quality of the transmitter and receiver inside the electronics being used
  • The resolution, bit rate, and refresh rate being sent to the display unit
  • The material in which the cable is built, and the gauge of the conductors
  • Passive or active device built into the HDMI cable

 Given the transmitter and receiver of the electronics are fully compatible:   Not all HDMI cables are certified to pass 1080p resolutions. Use the following chart to determine the best TRIBUTARIES HDMI Cable for a certain application.

  • Series 1: High Speed up to 3m
  • Series 3: High Speed w/Ethernet up to 6m
  • Series 5: High Speed w/Ethernet up to 8m; Standard Speed w/Ethernet up to 15m
  • Series 7: High Speed w/Ethernet up to 10m; Standard Speed w/Ethernet up to 20m
  • Series 9: High Speed w/Ethernet up to 12m; Standard Speed w/Ethernet up to 25m
What is Go! Technology

 Go! Technology™ is a passive network placed inside an HDMI connector. Using the combination of a resistor (R), inductor (L), and capacitor (C), an RLC circuit, this network creates a high pass filter that eliminates unwanted low frequency information. The performance of the filter is optimized by the selection of components according to the length and gauge of the cable.

Being a passive network, Go! Technology™ requires no power from the HDMI bus, thus the DC voltage remains constant.  Built in to only one HDMI connector, Go! Technology requires the cable to be directional.  An arrow is printed on the sleeve of the HDMI connecter in which the Go! Technology™ network is housed. 

Does Tributaries have HDMI products to help signals over long HDMI cables?

Tributaries has a couple solutions for long distance HDMI runs. For existing HDMI cables in the wall, Tributaries HX101, a HDMI extender can be used. This HDMI extender can extend a High Speed HDMI signal at least 25 meters. The HDMI extender re-syncs an incoming signal back to HDMI specifications. The HX101 is compliant with HDCP and HDMI standards. Powered by a transformer, this small electronic device is placed at the end of the run near the display. The HDMI extender will restore a 1080p signal, even though the signal is being transmitted over a cable that is specified as Standard Speed.

Can the HC100 convert HDMI to component?
The HC100 is designed to convert component and optical to a HDMI signal.  This is perfect for those who have a new display with older electronics. HDMI LLC and HDCP organizations will not allow digital HDMI signals to be copied or converted to analog signals. Since component video does not carry The HDCP link, this act is considered “HDCP Ripping” by the authorities mentioned.

 What is an MOV?

 A Metal Oxide Varistor (MOV) is an electronic component that is used to protect circuits from transient (quick but brief) voltage spikes. MOVs are also known as Transient Voltage Surge Suppressor (TVSS) components. As the voltage increases, the MOV dissipates voltage and shunts excess energy (current) away from connected equipment, usually to the ground.  During a surge, an MOV will change from high to low resistance to help dissipate heat. After the heat is dissipated the MOV recovers itself.

 What is a Joule?

 A joule is a unit of measure that is basically used to identify the ability to absorb energy. In surge suppression devices, the joule is commonly used to explain the surge performance. In surge suppression units, joules are only associated with MOVs (Metal Oxide Varistors)

 What is the difference between a standard MOV and Tributaries’ X3 MOV?

 The weakness of MOVs is high temperatures. The MOV has to dissipate heat quickly to protect itself from deterioration. Traditional MOVs use a type of tape as protection, but it burns easy and heat dissipation is slow. Oddly enough many power products still use this type of MOV to keep the cost of the unit low.

 Tributaries Power Strips and Power Components use an advanced type of MOV. This advanced MOV is housed in a ceramic casing isolation design which increases the resistance to high temperatures and is virtually fireproof. This new MOV is designed to quickly lower the temperature during a surge and prevent current leakage. Because of the exceptional way it handles surges and dissipates heat, this MOV can last up to 10 times longer than standard MOVs.

 Of course, no MOV can stop a direct hit from a lightning strike, but Tributaries Power Products will keep your equipment safer over a longer period of time.