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The Best Coax and Connectors for Making SDI Cables (2024)

This is a complete list of bulk coax cable and BNC connectors I use and trust for making SDI cables to interface cameras, video switchers, routers, converters, monitors, recorders, and more.

Belden 4694R

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The best overall coax for most SDI transmission situations.

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An industry standard coax made by an industry standard cable brand that is rated for all current SMPTE standards, including 12G-SDI.

This will cover a vast majority of needs and last for many years.

Simply a no-brainer.

Be aware that this cable is fairly stiff and not the easiest to manage in some situations. It's best used for permanent installs and static placement in mobile environments. If you need a more flexible cable for things like mobile cameras, I recommend the flexible variant listed in the specs below or a thinner alternative like 4855R.


Belden 4694R SMPTE Transmission Distances

*Distance provided from updated testing that allows for 40dB loss at 1/2 the clock frequency.

HD-SDI 383' / 117m
3G-SDI* 538' / 164m
6G-SDI 374' / 114m
12G-SDI 257' / 78m

Belden 4694R Specifications
Environment Indoor, Riser
Available Lengths 1000'
Per Foot
Recommended Connectors Belden 4694RBUHD3 (Crimp)
Belden 4694RBUHD1 (Compression)
Kings 2065-10-9 (Crimp)
Alternate Versions Plenum - 4694P (1000', Per Foot)
Flexible - 4694F (1000', Per Foot)

Belden 1694A

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The best value coax for SDI transmission.

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I would venture to guess that there is more Belden 1694A being used for SDI transmission today (at least in North America) than any other coax.

While I still recommend running a coax rated for 12G-SDI as much as possible nowadays, this is going to be just as good for a vast majority of situations.

Shop around and you should be able to find it for less than $0.60 USD per foot.

Just like 4694R, this cable is fairly stiff and a bit difficult to manage. It works best for permanent installs and static placement in mobile applications. So if you need a flexible cable for a mobile camera or to make tighter bends, check out the flexible variant in the specs below.


Belden 1694A SMPTE Transmission Distances

*Distance provided from updated testing that allows for 40dB loss at 1/2 the clock frequency.

HD-SDI 367' / 112m
3G-SDI* 509' / 155m
6G-SDI 340' / 104m
12G-SDI Not Rated

Belden 1694A Specifications
Environment Indoor, Outdoor, Riser
Available Lengths 500', 1000'
Recommended Connectors Belden 1694ABHD3 (Crimp)
Belden 1694ABHD1 (Compression)
Belden 1694ABHD1L (Locking Compression)
Kings 2065-10-9 (Crimp)
Alternate Versions Plenum - 1695A (500', 1000')
Water Exposure - 1694WB (1000')
Flexible - 1694F (1000', Per Foot)

trueCABLE RG-6

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The best budget coax for SDI transmission.

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I know, I know... This breaks my rule by not having published ratings for SMPTE standards.

Don't @ me! 🫣

But, I get it. Sometimes you just need to get the job done with the least expense possible.

So if you are on a tight budget, only need a maximum length of 150', don't need to support any standard higher than 3G-SDI, and the cable will not be in a mission-critical position, then this could be your answer.

With that said, this coax is pretty impressive for the price point...

  • Bare copper conductor
  • Quad shielded
  • Durable PVC outer jacket
  • Rated for in-wall (CL2) and riser (CMR) applications

All in all, this is a great bang for the buck for less critical applications.


trueCABLE RG-6 SMPTE Transmission Distances
HD-SDI Not Rated
3G-SDI Not Rated
6G-SDI Not Rated
12G-SDI Not Rated

trueCABLE RG-6 Specifications
Environment Indoor, Riser
Available Lengths 500', 1000'
Recommended Connectors Klein Tools VDV813-613 (Compression)

Belden 4731R

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The best coax for SDI transmission that money can buy.

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When you need ultimate performance, durability, and distance, this absolute beast of a cable is your answer.

Just be aware that this RG-11 coax is THICC, stiff, and heavy. So it's not the easiest to handle, especially in mobile environments.

But it is flat out 🤯!


Belden 4731R SMPTE Transmission Distances

*Distance provided from updated testing that allows for 40dB loss at 1/2 the clock frequency.

HD-SDI 598' / 182m
3G-SDI* 828' / 252m
6G-SDI 566' / 173m
12G-SDI 383' / 117m

Belden 4731R Specifications
Environment Indoor, Riser
Available Lengths 1000'
Recommended Connectors Belden 4731RBUHD3 (Crimp)
Alternate Versions Plenum - 4731P (1000')

Belden 4855R

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The best coax for SDI transmission inside racks and tight spaces.

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A miniature RG-59 rated for 12G-SDI transmission that is perfect for racks and short runs.


Belden 4855R SMPTE Transmission Distances

*Distance provided from updated testing that allows for 40dB loss at 1/2 the clock frequency.

HD-SDI 221' / 67m
3G-SDI* 310' / 94m
6G-SDI 215' / 66m
12G-SDI 149' / 45m

Belden 4855R Specifications
Environment Indoor, Riser
Available Lengths 1000', 5000', Per Foot
Recommended Connectors Belden 4855RBUHD3 (Crimp)
Belden 4855RBUHD1 (Compression)
Kings 2065-11-9 (Crimp)
Alternate Versions Plenum - 4855P (1000', Per Foot)

Belden 4794R

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Another great coax for SDI transmission.

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Maybe you fall into a rare position where you need slightly more performance than the top pick but don't have quite the budget for the premium pick. Or, maybe you just want a little extra peace of mind over the top pick and have some budget to spare.

Either way, this stuff is a great step up from Belden 4694R while not completely breaking the bank.


Belden 4794R SMPTE Transmission Distances

*Distance provided from updated testing that allows for 40dB loss at 1/2 the clock frequency.

HD-SDI 494' / 151m
3G-SDI* 686' / 209m
6G-SDI 471' / 144m
12G-SDI 321' / 98m

Belden 4794R Specifications
Environment Indoor, Riser
Available Lengths 1000', Per Foot
Recommended Connectors Belden 4794RBUHD3 (Crimp)
Belden 4794RBUHD1 (Compression)
Alternate Versions Plenum - 4731P (1000', Per Foot)

Why You Can Trust Me

I have more than 23 years of broadcast television, international filmmaking, and corporate video production experience. I started my career as a freelance camera operator for major U.S. television networks including ABC, FOX Sports, and Speed Channel. Since then I have run countless miles of cabling for SDI in all kinds of mobile productions and permanent installs. In addition, I have spent the last decade running this website and consulting with other organizations to help them maximize their systems and results. Learn more about Joel

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