How It’s Done: 4K Connectivity

How It’s Done: 4K Connectivity
  • At an increasing pace, an onslaught of UHD and 4K distribution solutions such as cables and extenders, transmitters, receivers and switchers are being announced at industry trade shows. But some caution and planning are needed to ensure that your system will deliver that stunning ultra HD picture on the display every time, without fail or question.

Crestron’s DM Ultra Cable

A lot of facilities have infrastructure comprised of standard, unshielded twisted pair, off-the-shelf network cable. However, 4K signal distribution requires twice the bandwidth of 2K distribution, and therefore carries more stringent infrastructure demands.

The most important consideration is whether the cable can deliver 4K content over HDBaseT at the distance required without introducing more errors than permitted by the HDMI specification (one error per billion pixels). Ordinary CAT5e cable can do this at no longer than 50 meters.

Mismatched Resolutions, Aspect Ratios, and Frame Rates

While HD distribution is fairly simple, with the vast majority of signals sharing the same aspect ratio (1.78:1) and frame rate (60 fps), for various reasons 4K introduces both a second aspect ratio (1.90:1) and several frame rates (24, 30, and others.) What’s more, it’s quite common that a 4K system will also contain some HD displays.

This makes it critical to equip systems with video scaling technology that can convert any resolution and frame rate to any other, up to 4096x2160 at 60 fps.

Think About the Future Now

With 8K resolutions and 3D 4K already being announced, is there ever any rest for the AV/IT technology manager? Now that wouldn't be any fun at all.


DigitalMedia Ultra Cable

"It's critical to use a cable that's designed to meet the HDMI limit on the number of errors. When we test 100 meters of cable, we run the test with four junctions in it to simulate real-world usage. Normally you'll have wall plates and then there will be a patch cable so then you'll basically have five pieces of cable and four junctions totaling that 100 meters. Our DM Ultra Cable delivers 4K without any errors at 100 meters through those conditions. It also meets the standards for a Cat7a cable so you can also use it for 10 gigabit ethernet." —Tom Barnett, Director, Marketing Communications, Crestron

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