Get Up to Speed on HDBaseT - AvNetwork.com

Get Up to Speed on HDBaseT

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Almo’s Rob Ziv Makes the Case for This Unifying Technology

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NAME: Rob Ziv
TITLE: Business Development Manager
COMPANY: Almo Professional A/V
OVER TIME : Ziv is responsible for coordinating Almo’s sales and marketing efforts with those of its vendor manufacturers by providing product expertise, managing the exchange of information, and being a technical resource. He also focuses on developing and delivering technical training and informational resources for Almo partners.

Gigabit ethernet, 10/100BaseT, 802.11b/g/n, IPv6, HDBaseT… For some folks in AV, just hearing IT terminology requires a dosage increase in the antacid du jour. The good news is that HDBaseT, while sounding like something borrowed from the world of networking, is actually an easy-to-implement AV technology.

Many of us are familiar with pulling cables from multiple sources to an output device, along with the potential challenges that can arise when doing so. A basic projector installation may require pulling nine or more cables and then labor for terminations; one for control, one for HDMI, five for RGBHV , and perhaps a couple for audio. Nine terminations at roughly 15 minutes each equates to over two manhours of just terminations on a single projector!

HDBaseT can reduce materials cost and installation time by reducing the total number of cables and field terminations to a single Cat-5e/6 cable with RJ45 connectors—all without the need to know anything about networking, switches, IP addresses, or other reflux-inducing technology.

HDBaseT can carry all of the following signal types simultaneously:
* Uncompressed full HD digital video—it is HDMI 1.4 compliant and HDCP approved
* Uncompressed audio
* Control signals—however, it is not compatible with CEC
* 100BaseT ethernet with future support of gigabit ethernet
* Power—100 watts maximum

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The Panasonic ET-YFB100 provides two HDMI inputs, two PC inputs, and S-video inputs, along with associated audio.Implementing HDBaseT is not much different from other AV signals. This is a point-to-point technology. On the projector or display, just select HDBaseT as input in the same manner as selecting any of the other conventional inputs. There are no IP configurations or other network-related settings to fiddle with. Cable runs up to 100 meters are supported, along with up to eight hops (or 800 meters). It is important to use solid wire with a shielded cable as signal dropouts have been reported with UTP (Unshielded Twisted Pair). Cables listed as STP, FTP (Foiled Twisted Pair), or ScTP (Screened Twisted Pair) are acceptable. The same common sense that applies with other signal types applies with HDBaseT, such as the need to avoid running parallel to power cables.

Digital Link is a Panasonic brand-specific feature set added on top of HDBaseT that provides two-way communication with Panasonic projectors. This includes the ability to control other devices from the projector’s remote.

Many manufactures are now building HDBaseT outputs into their control devices and signal extenders. Signals feeding these systems are output as HDBaseT. This allows short cables to be run to a device mounted in a rack near the sources. Then a single cable can be run from the rack to the display device, potentially replacing 15-20 pounds of various signal-carrying cables running through conduit.

If a control system is not being used, then an interface box can be used, like the Panasonic ET-YFB100. This interface provides two HDMI inputs, two PC inputs, composite, and S-Video inputs, along with associated audio. In addition, LAN and control signals can be connected. The interface converts the selected input to HDBaseT/Digital Link. While source switching for the interface can be accomplished from the front panel, Digital Link’s bi-directional communication from the projector also allows switching from the projector’s remote.

If the projector does not have a Digital Link or HDBaseT input, thirdparty HDBaseT receivers can be installed at the projector or display end. The HDBaseT/Digital Link signal is sent from the interface and connected to the line input on the receiver. HDMI and RS-232 cables are then connected to the projector or display.

In summary, a single Cat-5e/6 cable with RJ45 connector simplifies and reduces cabling and termination costs, eliminates the need for long and expensive pre-fabricated HDMI cables, reduces potential points of failure, and provides reliable, extended cable runs. While reducing installation cost may help win more business, it can also potentially help increase profits.

Rob Ziv, CTS is a business development manager for Almo Professional A/V. He has nearly 25 years of experience in the sales/management and professional AV and recording industries. He’s worked as an independent recording engineer and has held positions at Global Crossing Conferencing, Premier Technologies, Power Station Studios, and ICB Audio & Video.

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