Hands On: Altinex AnyWire Sends HDMI 1080p Over Any Two Conductors

Fred Harding takes the ‘ugliest’ wire in his garage and sends high-def video over two conductors, thanks to Altinex’s AnyWire HDMI transmitter and receiver. Verdict: Not an April Fools joke.

Fred Harding

It all kind of started with a joke, when an integrator posted on RemoteCentral.com this announcement from Altinex, a provider of signal-management products: “Altinex is pleased to announce that we are able to send 1080p/60 HDMI signal over any type of wire. And when I say any, I mean any. We called this system ‘Anywire.’”

The dealer responded: “When I first heard about this, I accused Altinex of being late to deliver their April Fools' product ….”

Another posted, “This is like that flaky field terminated HDMI ends, that manufacturer marketing were insisting worked so well. Total BS!”

And another: “Anyway, this whole scheme reminds me of the miracle data compression products that claimed to be able to compress the data on whole hard drives to a few hundred or thousand bytes. There were a few grand press releases, then silence — probably after their CTO discovered math and computer science.”

Upon learning that Anywire provides full HDCP and EDID compliance, yet another incredulous dealer wrote, “If this is true they should focus next on cancer research.”

Guess what? It seems the joke was on all those dealers. Altinex Anywhere does in fact work as advertised, as CE Pro contributor and Capitol Sales guru Fred Harding found out.

Thanks, Fred, for another great review. – Julie Jacobson

Hands On: Altinex AnyWire HDMI Transmitter/Receiver

by Fred Harding

I admit, I was more than skeptical when I first saw mention of this product, the Altinex AnyWire TP315-101 and TP315-102 (transmitter and receiver, respectively). When Julie Jacobson suggested I review it, I leapt at the opportunity.  

HDMI is a remarkably complex signal — especially when HDCP and EDID enter the equation — and the idea that it could be sent down “any” wire, just two copper conductors, was preposterous to me.

I was wrong.

It works. It works well. I’m impressed.

Here’s the back story. The Altinex HDMI Over AnyWire system consists of a transmitter, and up to four receivers. Each of those devices needs AC power. Each of the devices has HDMI ins or outs, a pair of five-way binding posts, and a 3.5 stereo jack for IR purposes.

The transmitter offers a loop-through HDMI output, so you can feed a local display as well as whatever device lives at the end of whatever wire you might deploy. I’ll talk about a couple of issues with that later.

I went out to my garage and got the ugliest box of wire I could find. It was leftover category 3 wire — 4 pair of 24 gauge wire, untwisted. I chose one pair of wires (the brown) for my test, and used solid brown for plus and white/brown for the minus. The footage markers on the wire indicated I have 160 feet of wire or so between the transmitter and receiver.

Altinex AnyWire
TP315-101 Features

  • HDMI over 2-conductor cable
  • Automatic input/receiver detection
  • HDMI resolutions 720p/1080p
  • Transmission up to 300 meters (depending on wire type)
  • IR pass-through control
  • Local monitor input
  • HDCP compliant
  • Fixed EDID
  • Available now
  • Price: $375 each for transmitter and receiver

I hooked up my Blu-ray player to the transmitter, attached the wires to the binding posts on the transmitter and then the receiver, and hooked up the receiver to the Panasonic plasma TV set in my living room. I loaded a Blu-Ray title (the newer version of The Italian Job) and powered the assorted devices up. I can’t recall the sequence in which I did that; I did get some sort of error message initially. I pushed the reset button on the transmitter, and in about five seconds the movie started to play.The sample I had did not come with any documentation (it was a test), so I stumbled through set-up as best as I could. I can’t tell you if there was a specific activation sequence required, at least when I set up my test, as I hadn’t downloaded the manuals yet.

The film looked good. Details in shadow were present. The scene in the mountains on the snowy bridge looked good. I couldn’t see any artifacts in the boat-chase scenes. Did it look as good as the Blu-ray straight through? Depends on who is looking.

For most folks, they’d look at the image and say, “Wow. That looks great!”

Insight from Altinex

After the test was over, using a variety of discs, streaming images, and the like, I called the folks at Altinex and spoke to Jack Gershfeld, who filled me in on a lot of the details.

Here’s what he said:

First, there is some compression, and about a half-second of latency on the model I tested. If you had two displays next to each other — one wired directly and one through the AnyWire product —  the lag would be noticeable and annoying. If you are planning on running sound along with picture at the remote location, you will want to address that by yanking audio off the remote display. That’s an easy fix.

Second, Jack clearly was smiling when I talked about the ugly wire. He said that the system will work nicely with anything between 12- and 30-gauge wire. It doesn’t care about twisted pair. If you have it, great. If you don’t, fine.

The signal travels on the surface of the wire, and if you have too heavy a gauge of wire, surface radiation can cause issues. Since I didn’t have 8-gauge speaker wire at home, I will take his word for it. Jack suggested not running four transmitters down one 4-pair wire, as surface radiation could cause problems.

Third, Jack reports that the system will support up to four receivers off a single transmitter. Simply daisy chain off the receiver’s binding posts and go to the second, third and fourth receivers. After four, your mileage will vary. I only had one receiver, so was unable to confirm or deny that.

Fourth, the system supports 200 Mbps throughput. That’s a lot of data, and clearly it can handle 1080p signals all day long. Down the road, 4K issues will be addressed, but knock it off, guys. This is amazing all by itself, and will solve a bunch of problems that exist today.

Fifth, the system supports bi-directional IR, and comes with devices to plug in to either end for transmit or receive. I did not test that, as it didn’t occur to me to try these things. I figure there are responsible RF repeating systems out there, and you will use this for HDMI, and if it does IR, great. But this is about HDMI.

Sixth, the system will support 1080p signals on a pair of 24-gauge wire on distances of 900 feet.

The system is currently not UL-certified, but Altinex is in process of getting that certification.

This is a very cool product that will clearly solve a lot of problems. Did I mention I was impressed?

Read Altinex AnyWire press release, next page.

{pagebreak}PRESS RELEASE

Altinex Releases AnyWire TP315-101 AND TP315-102 Transmitter/Receiver System

Altinex, a leading manufacturer ofSignal Management Solutions®, is pleased to introduce the Anywire TP315-101 and TP315-102 Transmitter / Receiver System. The new Anywire video transmission system is designed to be capable of sending 1080p/60 Hz HDMI signal over any type of copper wire, including speaker wire, low voltage wires, any type of CAT wires, coaxial wires, and more. Anywire facilitates the transmission of live video and computer video signals with synchronized audio over long distances, even without the presence of CAT6 cable—making this innovative new video transmission system ideally suited for digital signage, use in existing structures where running traditional CAT6 lines would be disruptive to a building’s existing architectural aesthetics, and many additional applications.

The TP315-101 HDMI over Anywire transmitter facilitates the transmission of 1080p HDMI signals up to 600 feet using a simple 2-conductor cable. The TP315-102 HDMI over Anywire receiver allows the receipt of 1080p HDMI signals up to 600 feet using a simple 2-conductor cable. A single TP315-101 transmitter is capable of driving up to four TP315-102 receivers using either four individual wire pairs over 600 feet each, or by daisy chaining the receivers.

The Altinex TP315-101 transmitter and TP315-102 receiver create an economical solution for many audiovisual installations. The 2 wire solution makes installation easy—without the need to cut and splice wires and install expensive connectors or purchase costly cables. Integrators need only to route the wires, cut and trim the installation, and connect to the terminals. The unique design of the Anywire video transmission system provides stable video over greater distances than other designs. IR pass-through for receiver side to transmitter side control is provided without corrupting the HDMI signal during transmission of IR signals. Operation does not require any user control or interaction. Simply connect the Anywire input and when the transmitter detects the receiver, the receiver begins video transmission to the display.

Jack Gershfeld, President of Altinex, commented on the company’s new Anywire video transmission system, “Our new Anywire transmitter converts HDMI signals into a serial data stream. This data stream is then encoded for transmission over any copper media—making the entire setup very intuitive to use. Further, the TP315-101 transmitter incorporates a local video output to support a local monitor. The local monitor enables the user on the transmitter side to know what is being presented on the far side of the installation. Equally important, both transmitter and receiver have integrated power supplies and compact form factors so as to be easily hidden.”

The Altinex Anywire TP315-101 and TP315-102 Transmitter / Receiver System is available now. MSRP is as follows:

TP315-101 transmitter:    $375

TP315-102 receiver:        $375