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Will HDBaseT Make HDMI Obsolete?
Remember the old 10BaseT Ethernet standard with 10 megabit data rates over twisted pair wires? Well fast forward a few years and the newly finalized HDBaseT coming out of an alliance that includes TV industry heavyweights LG, Samsung and Sony (Pictures) may soon be included in products, possibly as early as the second half of this year. The new standard could replace HDMI offering high speed networking and high resolution audio and video over Cat5e/6 cables with RJ45 connectors that can run up to 100 meters. It can even supply up to 100 watts of power for devices like Blu-ray players.
What is HDBaseT and 5Play?
According to the HDBaseT Alliance, their 5Play technology will support “full uncompressed HD video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, high power over cable and various control signals through a single 100m/328ft CAT5e/6 LAN cable. HDBaseT has the bandwidth to support the highest video resolutions such as full HD 1080p as well as 3D and 2Kx4K formats.” It sounds pretty good to us and we wonder, what’s the hitch? For one thing we wonder how much the DSP-based technology from Valens Semiconductor will add to the cost of a product. Will the technology be cheap enough to create demand from the TV manufacturers who are already in competition to see who can offer the lowest priced sets?
What’s Wrong with HDMI?
The latest version of HDMI (1.4a) has a high enough clock speed (300 Mhz) to handle FullHD 3D (1080p at 60 frames) and even the next generation HDTV called Quad HD or UHD which ups the resolution to 4K x 4K but only at 30 frames per second (sorry gamers). The latest version of HDMI will even run Ethernet. HDMI and is fairly ubiquitous these days so we have to ask will this new standard offer enough performance and convenience to knock HDMI out of the TV sets? We’re not so sure.
Where’s the Wireless HDTV?
Shouldn’t the next home audio/video/network connector be wireless? If home networking is becoming all wireless these days, why not add video to the wireless network? The problem with replacing HDMI with a wireless standard is mostly the expense. Radios required to run uncompressed high definition video over the air are expensive and don’t have a very long range. To use WiFi would require compressing and uncompressing video which would require hardware and processing horsepower which would also add expense. At the moment it doesn’t look like there’s anything on the horizon in the way of affordable wireless high definition video transfer for the home.
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