Monday, February 6, 2012

HDBaseT Explained

by Mike Konkle - Intelix Chief Technology Officer

HDBaseT is an exciting and groundbreaking technology, allowing several cables between a source and a destination to be consolidated into a single LAN cable. Furthermore, thanks to robust processing, high-definition signals can be transmitted further and more reliably over twisted pair than ever before.

Is HDBaseT right for every application? No. There are other technologies currently on the market which provide similar capabilities - the Intelix DIGI-HD-COAX, for example, transmits HDMI up to 675 feet (1080i over RG6) over a single coaxial cable and traditional HDMI over twisted pair extenders are great solutions for shorter runs (under 200 feet) - but many installations will benefit from the HDBaseT offering.

There has been some misunderstanding as to what HDBaseT technology is and, just as important, what it is not. Let's take a closer look at this innovative technology.

What HDBaseT Is
The HDBaseT technology was originally created by Valens Semiconductor to optimize video applications and unify the HD digital video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, power, and control connections of entertainment devices. In essence, HDBaseT enables a single LAN cable to replace multiple audio-visual cables.

In June 2010, an HDBaseT Alliance was incorporated by leading industry manufacturers, lending credence to the technology and facilitating a far wider adoption.

Fully implemented, HDBaseT provides the following capabilities:

    * Uncompressed video/audio up to 10.2 Gbps. (Full HD/3D and 4K x2K uncompressed video)
    * Maximum cable lengths of 100m, including support of multiple hops, up to 8 x 100m
    * Use of industry standard Cat5e/6 LAN cable
    * Use of a standard RJ45 connector
    * Supplies up to 100W of power (Power over Ethernet)? which can be utilized to power a remote audio-visual device
    * Support for 100Mbps Ethernet
    * Easy installation utilizing existing in-wall Ethernet connectivity (Cat5e/6 & RJ45)
    * USB support
    * HDCP support
    * Networking support (of HDBaseT enabled devices), including extended-range daisy chain and star topologies

These features are enabled through the use of a special encoding algorithm running on a custom designed DSP processor. The processor is essentially the brains behind the technology, inserting or extracting all the various portions of the signal stream - HDMI, Ethernet, IR, etc. Valens puts it simply in the following diagram:

Though the HDBaseT feature list is rich and robust, it is ultimately up to the individual partner manufacture to deploy the portions most relevant to their core audience. Liberty AV Solutions has incorporated into the DIGI-HDE a feature set - HDMI, 3D, IR, RS232, and Ethernet - which directly address the concerns of the AV integrator.

What HDBaseT Is Not
Perhaps the most misunderstood issue surrounding HDBaseT is Ethernet, both in terms of transmission and deployment. HDBaseT does transmit 100Mbp Ethernet - standard 802.3 Ethernet is transported through the system in the same way that the HDMI or RS232 signals are. The signal is inserted into and extracted from the stream (and ultimately the DSP processor) through a standard LAN cable. This is a capability of the hardware.

On the flip side, the HDBaseT signal is incompatible with standard Ethernet LAN switches and routers. Proper deployment requires devices designed for HDBaseT integration.

That said, products which properly deploy HDBaseT technology - such as the Intelix DIGI-HDE- do act as a tunnel for standard Ethernet traffic. Specifically, the transmitted Ethernet signal portion of the stream is compatible with network switches and routers.

One way to think of it is as a cable bundle with a separate RJ45 connector for the Ethernet connection. Ethernet is fed into the HDBaseT transmission device (Intelix DIGI-HDE transmitter) and extracted from the HDBaseT receive device (Intelix DIGI-HDE receiver). Once extracted, the Ethernet signal can be sent through switchers, routers, or any other standard LAN device.

Intelix DIGI-HDE
The Intelix DIGI-HDE extender set is an exciting new product and the first by Liberty AV Solutions to leverage HDBaseT technology to transmit HDMI, Ethernet, bi-directional IR and RS232 over a single twisted pair cable up to 300 feet. Furthermore, this innovative solution supports 1080p, 4K x 2K, and 3D video.

Intelix has been a recognized and respected brand for twisted pair and coax transmission solutions for over a decade. Extensive HDMI experience led to the introduction of the DIGI-HD-COAX, the industry's first HDMI over RG6 extender solution. The HDBaseT protocol provides an innovative method for HDMI distribution - one that expands transmission capabilities, distances and bandwidth, while delivering flexibility and ease-of-use for installers.

In addition, the following design features were incorporated with the professional integrator in mind:

    *     Built-in HDshak processing
    *     HDCP compliant
    *     HDMI v1.4 compliant
    *     Built-in surge protection up to 16 kV
    *     Diagnostic LEDs
    *     Durable metal chassis
    *     Built-in mounting system

These features along with crucial HDBaseT capabilities make the Intelix DIGI-HDE perfect for digital signage, residential, retail, hospitality, education, government, house of worship, and transportation applications. Planned release date is September 1. 

Intelix is a wholly owned division of Liberty AV Solutions ( and both of course are represented by The Enright Company.

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