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REVIEW

Audio: Audio formats carried include, 8-channel LPCM (Linear Pulse-Code Modulation), Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD-Master Audio. Ethernet: The format includes a full 100Mbps Ethernet channel, plus Ethernet Fallback Mode for situations where an Ethernet link is required without any other HDMI signals. Control: Other low-speed data channels available include RS-232, USB, and IR control extension. In conjunction with TCP/IP control protocols over the Ethernet link, this provides a pretty extensive array of control capabilities. Power: As a bonus, HDBaseT delivers 100W of DC power over the twisted pair cables, which is impressive considering the copper losses of the 24 gauge (0.51mm) wire generally used in cat5e cable. This power feed, although quite modest in what it delivers, has been critical in the success of HDBaseT because it brings with it the potential for devices to receive everything they need down a single run of inexpensive UTP cable. When I first met HDBaseT on demo at InfoComm 2010 there was just one prototype LCD monitor that could run on a 100W power supply, but it hadn’t yet been fitted out to run off a single cat5e cable. Today, there are a wide variety of LED backlit LCD panels that can run on that power budget. However, I imagine that it may still be a little while before we see real projectors running off a single HDBaseT cable. CHEAP AS CHIPSETS

HDBaseT has been picked up in a huge number of applications, both commercial and domestic; sometimes because it provides an economical means of transporting high-definition video and multichannel audio over long distances; sometimes because it is a very cheap way of getting data from place to place; sometimes because it can use existing cable infrastructure; and other times because it’s a convenient and

was released in mid-August to specifically address Alliance members’ requests for a more consumer-oriented technology. Labelled as HomePlay this version extends the capabilities of HDBaseT in several directions. Rather than simply providing all the capabilities of the raw HDMI data for manufacturers to access as part of their product design, this version gives specific simplified access to each of the data streams. This enables products to be implemented that directly access the USB, audio and video channels without any additional interface design or any outboard electronics. Such products are much easier to engineer and quicker, simpler and cheaper to bring to market. The video streams are now capable of being directly addressed, making it very much simpler to build pointto-multipoint media replay and distribution systems with few additional circuit elements and little additional engineering. simple way of getting power and a multitude of AV signals down a single cable. In some products, such as the recent spate of HDMI-over-Ethernet extender devices that have appeared on the market, the HDBaseT chipset inside the box is not even mentioned. In others, such as the amazing variety of HDBaseT matrix switchers now available, the presence of RJ-45 connectors on multimedia distribution equipment is clear acknowledgement of its presence. CONSUMER-FRIENDLY V2

Of course having a successful product that’s rapidly gaining wide acceptance across the AV and digital signage industries is never enough to keep the R&D department from finding even more things to do with its brainchildren. Even more importantly, it doesn’t stop the product development teams working for the Alliance members from demanding more capabilities from the HDBaseT technology. The result, inevitably, was HDBaseT version Two which

BEYOND THE HOME

The view of the HDBaseT alliance is that the new chipset will result in the development of a wide variety of media centre appliances based around the chipset acting as a media switch and router to consolidate and distribute all the various classes of media and data connectivity found in a modern home. Despite all the interest in home media applications, when I look at these functions I see a whole bunch of applications in small AV presentation and production spaces, classrooms and tutorial spaces, retail applications and digital signage. It’s going to be fun to see where this all goes.  MORE INFORMATION HDBaset Alliance: www.hdbaset.org Valens Semiconductor: www.valens.com HDMI: www.hdmi.org AVB: www.avnu.org

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AV Issue 34