HDBaseT Alliance Incorporated in 2010, the HDBaseT Alliance was founded to standardize and promote HDBaseT™ technology for home and commercial use of uncompressed HD multimedia. Alliance members – consumer electronics, professional AV and content providers – incorporating HDBaseT into their products play a vital part in the digital technology’s future, getting behind use of one dedicated cable delivering all multimedia, audio and communications.
What is HDBaseT?
The first set of defined 5Play™ technologies merged onto a single cable:
- Video – uncompressed HDMI 1.4 at 10.2Gbps or HDMI 2.0 at 18Gbps, up to 4K/UHD, including 3D.
- Audio – including Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD-Master Audio formats and both S/PDIF and I2S (Inter-IC Sound) connectors.
- Data – control signals via bi-directional RS-232, IR, Ethernet, and USB 2.0.
- Power over Ethernet (PoE) aka power over HDBaseT (PoH) – reduces cable clutter by eliminating need for a power box up to 100 watts. Power can come from the transmitter or receiver.
- 100BaseT Ethernet – also known as Fast Ethernet, allows for 100 Mbps megabits per second to pass through an Ethernet (CATx) cable. “Base” refers to baseband signals, which means that only Ethernet signals are being carried.
What You Should Know About HDBaseT
With HDBaseT, we now have the option to setup a simple network. For example, an HDTV that supports 5Play™ allows for installation anywhere, without the need to have a power outlet nearby or an extension cord. The TV can be placed up to 100 meters (330 ft.) away from the source or further, using repeaters.
Although most TVs only support 4K/30Hz at this point, HDBaseT already has the capacity to support up to 4K/60Hz over an existing Cat5e, Cat6 or higher infrastructure. This is a major plus.
The technology works by using a Valens chip. There are multiple chipsets that they sell, so you must know which chip is in the equipment you are purchasing. Note that maximum distances for each chip are not guaranteed; it depends on multiple factors: the amount of electrical noise in the environment, including the number and type of other cables nearby, the quality of the cable, and how well the cables has been laid and terminated.
The first released chip, VS100 (“type A”), supports all features of the 5Play™ system up to 100 meters (330 ft.) for 1080/60Hz and 4K/30Hz. For situations of over 100 meters, repeaters can be added for up to 8 hops or 800 meters (2624 ft.). It also supports long range connectivity of 150 meters (492 ft.), but only for 720P.
The second, VS010 (“type B”), removed Ethernet functionality and limited distance to 70 meters (230 ft.) for 1080P/60Hz, allowing for a cheaper product. It also supports 4K/30Hz on cables up to 40 meters (150 ft.).
The third chip, VS020, was made specifically for CCTV applications. It also removed Ethernet functionality and supports 1080P/30Hz up to 150 meters (492 ft.) over Cat5e or Cat6a cable.
HDBaseT released a new chipset in June 2014 to support 4K and HDMI 2.0. The chipset includes 4 different chips:
- VS2110 – Supports daisy-chaining for HDMI 1.4 up to 1920×1200/165Hz over a 30 meter (98 ft.) Cat6a cable. Here again, Ethernet is removed for a cheaper product.
- VS2000 – Supports enhanced HDBaseT delivery of 5Play, for HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 up to 4K/60Hz over a 100 meter (330 ft.) Cat5e/Cat6 cable, and 1080P/60Hz over a 150 meter (492 ft.) Cat5e/Cat6 cable.
- VS2310 – Supports true multi-streaming and daisy-chaining, as well as, establishes the “New 5Play™” of audio/video, control, Ethernet, power and native USB 2.0. Supports HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 up to 4K/60Hz over a 100 meter (330 ft.) Cat5e/Cat6 cable, and 1080P/60Hz over a 150 meter (492 ft.) Cat5e/Cat6 cable.
- VS2311 – Supports true multi-streaming and daisy-chaining, as well as, fiber. Supports HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 up to 4K/60Hz over a 100 meter (330 ft.) Cat5e/Cat6 cable, 600 meter (1969 ft.) OM3 multimode fiber, and 800 meter (2625 ft.) OM4 multimode fiber, as well as, 1080P/60Hz over a 150 meter (492 ft.) Cat5e/Cat6 cable.
Then depending upon which of the new chipset is used in the equipment you purchase, it will allow for some or all of the following:
Audio Return Channel – enables sending audio from a TV “upstream” to an A/V receiver or surround audio controller, increasing user flexibility and eliminating the need for a separate audio cable.
Daisy-chaining for distributed digital signage displays – the same source can be fed to several displays daisy-chained to each other, up to 100 meters apart, and/or connected to a central control room.
Multipoint-to-multipoint configurations aka multi-streaming – the same or different sources can be fed to multiple displays without needing to duplicate the source, when connected through an inexpensive matrix switch that will distribute video using the same CATx wire, dramatically lowering cost.
USB 2.0 host/device support – enables manufacturers to remove multiple interfaces and conversion components, resulting in a more cost-effective, smaller and simpler-to-implement switch.
Retransmission of data packets – HDBaseT sends packet-based signals like IP/Ethernet with zero latency and even has an Ethernet channel, but its packet-based technology is different from traditional Ethernet packets. Most of the Valens chipsets do not have a re-transmission mechanism for any failed packet deliveries, meaning, is if there are significant packet errors it will be most evident when it comes to video. However, chip VS-2311, does allow for retransmission of erroneous packets over fiber.
High Dynamic Range (HDR) content – Dolby’s HDR technology (“Dolby Vision”) enhances HDR-enabled TV picture quality by enabling greater color and contrast – actually brighter, not simply whiter – of a video image coming from HDMI sources such as A/V receivers and media players, like 4K Blu-rays. It more faithfully reproduce light captured from the real world, resulting in richer, more lifelike video images. HDR metadata layered on top of video tells HDR-enabled TVs how to best take advantage of the image information.
While HDR content will likely arrive first from streaming services like Netflix and Amazon, the HDMI 2.0a spec doesn’t regulate streaming connections because it skips HDMI entirely, allowing direct communication between the Internet and the TV’s decoder, which typically utilize HEVC / H.265 or VP9 compression for 4K.
ITU-R BT.2020-1 – The International Telecommunications Union (ITU) establishes the standards for TVs and add-on devices. Their recommendations (the “R” in ITU-R) for resolutions and “wide color gamut” establish a direction and guidelines for the next generation of UHDTVs (ultra-high definition). Go here to see the full guidelines.
BT.2020-1 specifies two resolutions: 4K (3840×2160) and 8K (7680×4320), and frame rates of 24Hz, 25Hz, 30Hz, 50Hz, 60Hz, and 120Hz. This standard assumes no more interlaced TVs, which displays every other horizontal line of the image, and now we will only have progressive TVs, which contain all of the horizontal lines that make up the image. We’ve been using the progressive standard for a while now, since 720P.
BT.2020-1 also specifies significantly better color, even to the point of oversaturation, with 12-bit color depth. Wide color gamut establishes the chrominance for red, green, and blue (Cb and Cr). White, or brightness (luma or Y’), stays the same. This recommended standard pushes the boundaries of what TVs are capable of at this time.
The concept behind the standard is to allow viewers to see colors as realistic as what we see in the real world, and to see exactly what the videographers were shooting. Should this standard be adopted, the content and the entire system, not just the chip, will need to support the wide color gamut to fully deliver the benefits of this feature.
Fiber support – HDBaseT was originally designed to operate over twisted pair cabling but the new chips now also support fiber systems, allowing for AV, control and Ethernet. Fiber is the only pipe that you can lay today that is future-proof to support all video standards right now, including 8K, is completely unaffected by electrical noise and generates no EMI. This allows for sending HDBaseT 2.0 up to 600 meters (1969 ft.) with OM3 multimode fiber or 800 meters (2625 ft.) with OM4 multimode fiber. Dual video streams – you can get two full HD shows on the same screen at the same time.
Electronic Programming Guides (EPG) – menu-based systems that provide TV users with continuously updated menus displaying program and scheduling information.
Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) – allows user to operate up to 10 devices with just one remote control, including your TV, DVD player, AV receiver and even your computer/laptop with just one remote control. CEC-enabled devices can also control each other, for example, you can set it up so that when you power off your TV it can power off other devices, such as your computer.
EDID – Extended Display Identification Data (EDID), sometimes referred to as the “handshake” signal, is what is used by a display to tell the video source (computer or other device) connected to it what resolution it is capable of.
HDCP – High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) encrypts video and audio to protect movies and music from being copied and sold in the black market.
Summary of Valens Chipset Capabilities