When it comes to wiring smart homes and businesses, times are changing. Up until the last few years, wiring for present and future trends could be very expensive due to the need for multiple cable technologies. However, the introduction of revolutionary connectivity technology standards like HDBaseT have made wiring and installation more affordable. If you aren’t familiar with HDBaseT yet, it is a relatively new consumer electronic and commercial connectivity technology that enables the optimized delivery of uncompressed, high definition video, audio, power, home networking, Ethernet, USB, and some control signals over a standard (Cat5e or above) cable with a standard RJ45 connector.
You might be wondering how HDBaseT is superior to current popular connectivity standards like HDMI. Below is a list of the primary benefits of HDBaseT to help you determine if it is the right solution for your system or installation.
Benefits of HDBaseT:
- Distance: Cable lengths and management have always been a headache, but not anymore. HDBaseT technology can be used over 100 m (330 ft) with a single hop or up to 800 m (2,600 ft) with 8 hops.
- 5PlayTM: HDBaseT is built upon a 5PlayTM feature set, which delivers uncompressed ultra-high-definition AV, 100BaseT Ethernet, USB 2.0, up to 100W of power, and control signals through a single Cat5e/6 cable, up to 100m (330 ft). This allows you to simplify cable management by reducing your assortment down to a single super cable. For increased reach, the latest HDBaseT specification also allows for fiber as a transmission medium for 4K/UHD, some control signals, Ethernet and USB.
- Simplicity: HDBaseT uses a standard Cat5e/6 twisted-pair LAN cable with a standard RJ-45 connector.
- Quality: HDBaseT delivers smooth, uncompressed high definition video up to 4K resolution and fully supports 3D video standards.
- Affordability: Since HDBaseT relies on low-cost Cat5e/6 infrastructure, it greatly reduces installation costs. Additionally, because HDBaseT has an inherent power transmission capability, electricity infrastructure costs are also reduced.
- Standardization: Promoted and advanced by the HDBaseT Alliance, HDBaseT is becoming an industry standard. The Alliance’s HDBaseT Certification Program provides enrollees with a formal framework to ensure cross-vendor product interoperability and standard compliance.
HDBaseT vs. HDMI
Despite the fact that the HDMI specification does not define a maximum cable length, typical HDMI cable constructions are between 5 and 15 meters (16 to 50 ft). Beyond that length, HD signals begin to degrade significantly and require an extender or booster to maintain quality. For applications requiring the delivery of uncompressed, low-latency 4K signals over HDMI, cable lengths may need to decrease even more.
Although short cable lengths may be adequate solutions for residential consumers, they typically do not suffice for commercial applications like digital signage, industrial PC, or command and control. These applications require much longer cable lengths. With HDBaseT’s ability to deliver HDMI content up to 100 meters (330 ft), distance limitations can be easily avoided.
In addition, HDMI connectors can become easily dislodged, are virtually impossible to terminate in the field, and make it difficult to pass HDMI cables through conduits. By contrast, HDBaseT can be easily terminated in the field with common RJ-45 connectors. This reduces complexity by eliminating the need for predetermined lengths and labor costs through simplified and consistent installation practices.
Keeping Up With Demands
Today, end-users demand more than ever from their AV installations and experience, which is why industry-wide standards need to form around and adapt to their needs. Fortunately, HDBaseT has stepped into that role to fulfill consumer needs by offering a single cable solution that accounts for the necessity for converged distribution of HD.
To learn about Opticomm-EMCORE’s solutions for HDBaseT, check out our C-Linx Series! The C-Linx Series are small, wall or table mountable units, perfect for fast and easy extension of HDMI, DVI VGA and component video sources along with, depending upon the model, stereo analog audio, digital audio, HDCP compliance, IR control, RS-232 control, and Power over Ethernet (also known as Power over HDBaseT), which saves space and eliminates the need for external power supplies.
HDBaseT solutions like the C-Linx Series are helping to drive the industry toward a new HD digital connectivity standard. Those who support its implementation will play a vital role in defining the future of digital connectivity in the consumer electronics, professional AV and content provider industries.