Boccaccio: Massive HDMI Cable Problems Loom with Increased HDR Adoption
Calling HDMI 'plug and pray' technology MRI Expo keynoter DPL Labs' Jeff Boccaccio says many HDMI cables are going to start to fail as High Dynamic Range (HDR) becomes more prevalent requiring increased bandwidth.
Jason Knott · November 3, 2015
“HDMI is the four-letter word of the industry,” said Jeff Boccaccio of DPL Labs ominously during his keynote address at the 14th Annual Fall MRI Expo in Sturbridge, Mass., on Oct. 27. “Never has there been something so dynamic and yet so hated.”
Boccaccio, columnist for CE Pro’s HDMI Corner, didn’t pull any punches with the audience of several hundred New England area dealers.
“You have to believe in HDMI. It is ‘Plug and Prayer’ technology. You plug it in and you pray it is going to work,” he said, noting one of the big problems is that many integrators are "living in a component-by-component world, but HDMI is a system. And it is only going to get worse.”
Boccaccio’s “get worse” comment about HDMI is in relation to the coming trend of High Dynamic Range (HDR), which he believes is going to give 4K a huge boost in the market. And when that boost comes, most multiroom video distribution systems will be unable to handle it, he says.
“HDR is stunning. The gradients of scale are so dynamic it looks like 3D. But it drives HDMI all the way up to requiring 18 Gbps bandwidth,” he says, which many systems cannot handle. Boccaccio says today’s 4K content is lacking in color depth and is transmitting at 10.2Gbps, well below the higher bandwidth in the HDMI 2.0 spec.
“4K today has worse color than 1080p,” he adds. “In six months as HDR becomes more prevalent, your cables will start to fail. Ask your manufacturers if they can handle HDR, not if they can handle 4K. If they do not know, walk away.”
Citing the testing that DPL Labs has done on existing Alternative Transmission Devices on the market, Boccaccio says two-wire Cat 5 balun, single-wire coax and single-wire HDBaseT cables have all failed to transmit 4K HDR content.
Extensive Training Slate, 50 Exhibitors
Boccaccio’s keynote was just one of a handful of educational sessions on tap at the MRI Expo. Other sessions from Luxul, Sony, RTI, URC, Panamax, Lutron, Yamaha, Nest, IC Realtime, Samsung and Sonance were also held, some to standing room only.
The afternoon featured an exhibit hall with 50 vendors, including Sony, Epson, Samsung, Luxul, URC, Yamaha, 2GIG, Ubiquiti, RTI and more, according to Robert Dean, president of MRI Distribution, a member of the Powerhouse Alliance.
“For nearly 15 years, we have put in the time and effort to make this event a true resource for our dealers and showcase who we are as a distributor partner to potential customers,” said Dean. “This year, we made sure to fill our training program with the most important classes that dealers will need as we near the end of 2015, and bring in products that received the most attention on the show floor at CEDIA.”
“As a dealer, we don’t always get the opportunity to go to the larger shows like CES or CEDIA, and the MRI Expo provides necessary trainings and the venue to get one-on-one time with manufacturers,” said Chris McDonald of Northeast Entertainment, Inc. “I know many fellow dealers who believe they don’t have the time to attend these shows, but this expo is important enough to mark on your calendar and work around it.”
“This has been one of the best shows I’ve ever participated in, there was a solid turnout and a great response from the audience because they were really eager to learn,” said Boccaccio. “I think almost every single person who sat in on the keynote came up to me afterwards with questions and interest in the challenges our industry is facing with HDMI interoperability.”
“For the past three years the MRI Expo has allowed us to get our new products in front of at least three hundred people that we would not normally get to meet,” said Charlie Boornazian, sales manager for Epson. “It lets us put Epson in front of a whole new installation audience and has always been a positive experience for our team.”
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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