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Handling 4K Distribution Using HDBaseT 2.0

Explore HDMI 2.0, HDBaseT 2.0, and the challenges trying to transmit 4K content over 60Hz.

Jason Knott · July 23, 2014

The technology landscape for video distribution advanced significantly when HDMI 2.0 and HDBaseT 2.0 were introduced. But there will still be new challenges for integrators trying to transmit 4K content over 60Hz.

HDMI 2.0 and HDBaseT 2.0 are not fully compatible when it comes to bandwidth. Transmitting 4K content over 60Hz requires the “full envelope” of 18Gbps bandwidth in HDMI 2.0, but HDBaseT 2.0 does not extend beyond the 10.2Gbps bandwidth found in HDMI 1.4.

“Clearly, the big word is 4K content over 60Hz, and you will need the entire 18Gbps envelope to do that,” says Jeff Boccaccio, president of DPL Labs.

There’s not much 4K content at this point, but integrators looking to send HDMI over Cat 5 using HDBaseT need to check the size of the signal being distributed.

“HDBaseT does not support the full 18Gbps of HDMI 2.0,” admits Micha Risling, marketing chairman at HDBaseT Alliance. “If we see a need for the full 18Gbps, it will require a new chip, and the Alliance has started looking into this solution.”

Related: More on HDBaseT

There is another potential challenge for integrators with bulky 4K content, even over short distances. According to Boccaccio, integrators need to use active HDMI cables vs. passive. He advises integrators to move to active cables for any 4K HDMI transmission over 3 meters or about 10 feet. Of course, active cables are more expensive and require a power source, which will cause some new design and sales challenges for integrators.

“From the experience and testing we have done, I personally believe it is going to be an active cable environment in the future,” says Boccaccio.

He believes the price for active HDMI cables will plunge as they become more pervasive.

“Power is an issue. Watch what they are using. Some [cables] do an amazing job,” noting that he has been testing many of the active cables and seen them maintain their efficiency with various levels of power provided to the cable.

“I can’t stress this hard enough. If you don’t know what the products are doing, call the manufacturers and find out,” Boccaccio says. “Ask them these questions. If they don’t know, walk. If they think they don’t know, walk a little faster.”

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  About the Author

Jason Knott is Chief Content Officer for Emerald Expositions Connected Brands. Jason has covered low-voltage electronics as an editor since 1990, serving as editor and publisher of Security Sales & Integration. He joined CE Pro in 2000 and serves as Editor-in-Chief of that brand. He served as chairman of the Security Industry Association’s Education Committee from 2000-2004 and sat on the board of that association from 1998-2002. He is also a former board member of the Alarm Industry Research and Educational Foundation. He has been a member of the CEDIA Business Working Group since 2010. Jason graduated from the University of Southern California. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jason at jason.knott@emeraldexpo.com

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  Article Topics

Networking & Cables · HDMI · HDBaseT · Audio/Video · Distributed Audio · News · 4K · HDBaseT · All Topics
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