Genius! Vanco ‘Boost’ Adapter Converts Old HDMI Cables to HDBaseT
All of that legacy HDMI cable behind the walls can now support 4K, 3D, Ethernet and two-way control with HDBaseT Boost from Vanco, debuting at CEDIA Expo 2013.
Julie Jacobson · September 17, 2013
Vanco’s patent-pending HDBaseT Boost, debuting at CEDIA Expo 2013, takes old HDMI cables and turns them into HDBaseT solutions, supporting newer video formats such as 3D and 4K Ultra HD, and delivering Ethernet data and two-way control over the single cable.
We all know that HDBaseT transceivers can turn Cat 5 into HDMI and more, but this product turns HDMI – any version—into HDBaseT. The new product, developed by CE Pro contributor and iElectronics principal Joe Whitaker, solves the problem of older jobs in which HDMI behind the walls was supposed to future-proof an installation.
“I remember the days when Circuit City installers were telling customers that they were future proofing themselves by burying HDMI cables in the walls,” Whitaker says. “I needed a solution for all these customers that were being held back from 4K and 3D without breaking the bank.”
Vanco exclusively has licensed Whitaker’s technology, and is manufacturing and marketing the product under the name HDBaseT Boost. The product will retail for about the same price or less than most traditional HDBaseT adapters in the market – less than $600.
In addition to supporting HDBaseT over HDMI, the new Boost product supports traditional HDBaseT over Cat 5/6 UTP as with other baluns. Dealers can carry a single SKU and it doesn’t matter what they encounter in the field.
“When an installer is on the job site, he has a solution for Cat 6, Cat 5 or legacy HDMI,” says Vanco owner Brad Corbin. “We look at it today as the ultimate balun.”
Brian Pulver, VP distribution markets for Vanco, says, “We want to position it at a price point of existing products but with added features.”
Boost is optimized for HDMI runs of more than 150 feet and Cat 5/6 runs of 330 feet (100 meters). Over both media, it supports HDMI 1080p and 3D signals, 4K/2K , 24 bit/48 bit deep color and various audio formats including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It includes IR transmitters and receivers, sold separately.
The idea seemed like a no-brainer to Whitaker, who says he figured the product could work, “knowing the way the individual wires, pins, drains and shielding within all versions of HDMI work, and knowing the way HDBaseT uses ‘Super Packets’ to transfer video, audio, and data/control.”
He thinks the intuitive solution was not developed earlier because “unfortunately, most HDBaseT engineers and HDMI engineers do not often cross paths.”
Whitaker, with Vanco, is already at work on an adaptation for HDBaseT 2.0, he says: “It will probably be done before products are shipping with HDBaseT 2.0.”
The first version of Boost does not deliver power over HDMI – like it does with the UTP version of HDBaseT – but the feature is on the roadmap, Whitaker says.
Towards a More Innovative Vanco
Vanco started life about 50 years ago as an importer and distributor of unbranded CE gizmos—“a bunch of little things,” Pulver calls them—and has emerged as a leading distributor of those little things… plus a variety of higher-end A/V products such as HDBaseT switchers by Wyrestorm and thin, powered HDMI cables by Redmere.
Lately, the company has been innovating on its own, inspired by gems found in some of the 50 factories it knows in Asia. One of those finds resulted in Vanco’s Super Flex flat HDMI “extension cord.”
“TVs have gotten so close to the wall that even traditional 180- and 360-degree adapters are too big,” says Corbin. “I was just playing with a project at home and realized the problem. Then when Brian and I were in China we saw a flat-ribbon cable with very small connectors. The depth was much smaller than traditional HDMI so we said, ‘Why not, let it be Super Flex.’”
Moving forward, Vanco hopes to patent more products like Whitaker’s, relying less on factories to conceive of problem-solving solutions, and more on Vanco and its distributors and dealers.
Visit Vanco at CEDIA, Booth #3609.
Vanco HDBaseT Boost
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Julie Jacobson is founding editor of CE Pro, the leading media brand for the home-technology channel. She has covered the smart-home industry since 1994, long before there was much of an Internet, let alone an Internet of things. Currently she studies, speaks, writes and rabble-rouses in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V, wellness-related technology, biophilic design, and the business of home technology. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, and earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin. She is a recipient of the annual CTA TechHome Leadership Award, and a CEDIA Fellows honoree. A washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player, Julie currently resides in San Antonio, Texas and sometimes St. Paul, Minn. Follow on Twitter: @juliejacobson Email Julie at firstname.lastname@example.org
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