HDBaseT Awareness Widespread Among Integrators
A survey by HDBaseT Alliance reveals 80% awareness of the video transmission technology, and perception of it as a 'luxury' technology.
When Valens introduced HDBaseT technology in June 2010 and formed the HDBaseT Alliance with LG, Samsung and Sony Pictures, the long-term vision was simple and ambitious: to create a new global connectivity standard for HD digital connectivity for commercial and consumer applications. HDBaseT delivers uncompressed high definition video, audio, Internet, controls and power via one long-reach CAT 5e/6 LAN cable using the standard RJ45 connector, and is ideal for consumer and commercial applications.
The Alliance’s first priority was to raise awareness of the HDBaseT technology within the Pro AV market and achieve widespread adoption within those communities. A few months ago, we commissioned a survey of professionals in North America to determine what progress we have made to that goal and, more importantly, what steps we need to take in 2013 to meet the evolving needs of the professional community. The results are both encouraging and instructive.
While a majority of the survey respondents indicated they are familiar with the HDBaseT technology, in case you are among the minority, here is the elevator pitch. HDBaseT enables connectivity between HD video sources and remote displays through a single 100m/328ft CAT5e/6 cable, delivering uncompressed high definition video, audio, Internet, control signals and up to 100 watts of power. For consumers, it means a home with only one cable connecting all devices, and not being beholden to the location of power outlets.
For commercial projects such as a digital signage network throughout an airport terminal, installers can save time and money by running the single CAT cable. HDBaseT enables a network of sources - such as AVRs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, PCs and mobile devices - to be connected directly to displays in multiple locations. HDBaseT can replace all of the cables, power bricks and cords that clutter up the typical home entertainment system or professional installation project.
The purpose of the survey was to measure how well the HDBaseT concept has penetrated North America, the world’s largest audiovisual market. Are designers and systems integrators aware when they are using products incorporating the Valens chip? Do they see the potential the technology offers? Just how well do the North American AV communities know, understand, and are applying HDBaseT technology?
Join us March 27, 2013 to learn exactly what HDBaseT is, how it affects signal transmission quality, distance limitations, typical connectivity topology, and specific applications in both residential and commercial applications. Register
The survey included over 200 professionals, and overall the results are encouraging. In response to the question “Are you familiar with HDBaseT?” nearly 80 percent answered in the affirmative. More than half of that group understands the HDBaseT 5Play feature set: HD video, audio, controls, power and Internet over a single cable.
Interestingly, the survey also discovered that of the roughly 20 percent of respondents who indicated they had not heard of HDBaseT, half of them actually were using HDBaseT-enabled products without realizing it.
Our take away from that finding is just how important it is for us to show the HDBaseT product ecosystem to professionals first-hand at industry events. That has become the focus of our exhibitions at industry trade shows in 2013. At ISE 2013 in Amsterdam in January, the Alliance’s booth featured a large gallery of new HDBaseT-enabled products from several Alliance members including Atlona, Belkin, Crestron Electronics, Emcore, Epson, Gefen, HD Connectivity, Kordz, Kramer, Orion, projectiondesign, Silver Telecom and Wyrestorm. The HDBaseT Alliance booths at upcoming industry events like InfoComm China 2013, InfoComm International and CEDIA 2013 will feature dozens of members’ products.
One independent design consultant told us, “we put it into every project… the main advantage is that on a single wire, we get digital video, IP connectivity, and analog legacy video and audio. Very clean rack, and more centralized distribution. We’ve taken multiple conference rooms, back to central HDBaseT box, located in the storage telecom room, allows us to be in a more controlled environment to have proper cooling and redundant power rather than under a console or in a closet. If you are extending UTP or fiber to go 50 feet, why not go 300 feet to extend to the telecom room. (We are) doing this in large installations with hundreds of conference rooms.”
HDBaseT Certification Program
That same respondent also stated that he “would like to see it as an industry standard for connecting all devices.” He is not alone, that was one of the report’s top findings: advocates of HDBaseT want to see standardized and interoperable implementations across multiple products and manufacturers to eliminate a lot of expensive cabling and signal matching products.
This feedback is a primary reason why the HDBaseT Alliance created and promotes the HDBaseT Certification Program, which provides Alliance members with a formal framework that ensures cross vendor interoperability and standard compliance. Each vendor that would like to place the HDBaseT logo on its product is required to submit the product for testing at an HDBaseT recognized testing facility. The HDBaseT logo indicates the product complies with HDBaseT standard for current and future specifications, is interoperable, and will work with other vendors’ certified products. The report makes it clear how important interoperability is to professionals, and the Alliance’s top priority now is to encourage its members to submit their products to testing and certification, and to educate the professional installers’ community to look for the HDBaseT logo.
More End-to-End Solutions
Along with demanding interoperability among HDBaseT-enabled products, a majority of respondents indicated they want to see the release of more end-to-end solutions that allow HDBaseT to be applied from source, through routing and distribution and on to the display.
We both agree and take (friendly) issue with this finding. The Alliance is always striving to add new members, and in fact in January 2013 alone, Belkin, Epson, Pioneer, Onkyo and Orion all announced their decisions to join. The ecosystem is robust: there are currently hundreds of HDBaseT products available, and with many more projectors, displays and A/V receivers scheduled to launch in 2013, consumers and professional installers will be able to choose components from a true interoperable HDBaseT ecosystem. The HDBaseT Alliance is growing, to see the membership list, visit our web site: http://hdbaset.org/about_us/membership_list
A third key finding of the report was that budget is still a major consideration for systems integrators that design and build projects. HDBaseT solutions are seen as a luxury in applications where low-cost signal transport systems will suffice.
Establishing HDBaseT as the global connectivity standard, we have to eliminate this perceived cost barrier, and that work is ongoing. Prices have decreased as a growing variety of products become more accessible. Search for “HDBaseT” on Amazon.com, and you’ll find a number of HDBaseT extenders for around $200. Adding mass market members like Belkin, Epson, Pioneer and Onkyo will play a significant role in bringing down the cost.
The primary lesson we have learned from this report is that HDBaseT represents a platform as much as a component, and demand for HDBaseT-enabled products depend on the professional community’s awareness and acceptance of the technology. The HDBaseT Alliance is working openly to create a global standard for advanced digital media distribution. The Alliance’s standardization activities cover the entire value chain of the digital media ecosystem and the various industry segments: television sets, projectors, professional A/V equipment, PC, portable devices, home theater, content providers, IT companies and more. As we move through 2013, the goals are two-fold: add new companies to the Alliance membership rolls, and help all members ensure their HDBaseT-enabled products pass the Certification Program requirements. Doing so will create an ecosystem of projectors, displays, A/V receivers, extenders, and other products that ensure professional installers and systems integrators can choose from a wide selection of interoperable, cost-effective HDBaseT products.
Micha Risling is the HDBaseT Alliance marketing chair and a Valens Semiconductor representative; he brings 16 years of expertise in marketing and R&D executive roles in established NASDAQ and startup companies, plus vast experience in the global mobile and telecommunications industry. Micha received an executive MBA from the Kellogg School of Business through Northwestern University in Chicago. He also holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from Tel Aviv University. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Micha at [email protected]
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