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HDBase T adds 23 new members, but few heavyweights

If we were in charge of HDBase T, we’d be pretty unhappy at the list of 23 new members that have joined it to back the single wire technology

By PETER WHITE

Published: 3 March, 2011

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If we were in charge of HDBase T, we’d be pretty unhappy at the list of 23 new members that have joined it to back the single wire technology. HDBase T is targeted at replacing HDMI and DisplayPort in reality, but given that a single cable can deliver power, an internet connection and full HDMI capability at 10 Gbps, it’s the sort of technology that can upset everything from MoCA to G.hn, as well as the technologies it’s targeted at.

In essence HDBaseT is a device connector technology, but there will clearly be comparisons with MoCA and G.hn because these signals can travel so far they might form the basis of whole home networks. HDMI and DisplayPort can reach just a few meters without expensive repeaters, whereas HDBaseT can go 100 meters.

It finished its spec in the Summer and is now looking for industry support, but given that the 23 names that it has added this week are mostly unknown companies to us, it maybe hasn’t quite got sufficient momentum behind it after all.

Initially it was backed by LG, Samsung, Sony Pictures and its inventor Valens Semiconductor and it now says that it has 7 new contributor members in Bel Stewart Connector, Extron Electronics, Microsemi, Pulse Electronics, Quantum Data, Silver Telecom and Tyco Electronics. New adopter members include Crestron Electronics, CWIN Technology, Elka International, Gefen, Granbeing Technology, Hank Electronics, Himax, Intersil, Kordz, Lastar, Legrand, Miniframe, Smart Home Engineering, Sure Fire Electrical, Transformative Engineering and Vaux Electronics.

“All of these companies play a pivotal role in defining and advancing the development and adoption of the HDBaseT standard,” said Ariel Sobelman, president of the HDBaseT Alliance. “With the support of our members and their valuable expertise in different areas of the multimedia distribution and networking industry, HDBaseT technology is well positioned to become the installer and consumer’s first choice for multimedia connectivity.”

The key to HDBase T it that it offers 5 services – uncompressed HD video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, electric power and various control signals – all through one 100 meter CAT5e/6 LAN cable. It might be more expensive for each foot laid than other cable, but you’re not going to have to replace it anytime soon and you don’t have to lay 5 cables. 10.2 Gbps is delivered in the first iteration and speeds up to double that will come in later versions.

Valens is a small Israeli semiconductor design house which put this entire idea together and reckons that cheap adjustments to existing Gigabit Ethernet chips will do the trick, and drive this technology. GE chips are in wide use in modern enterprise LANs, and have the existing volume to make this kind of cabling fairly affordable. It also explained at launch that there are 20 Gbps video requirements out there if you look at 3D alongside 2Kx4K formats, and 10 bit video data formats and data to feed 200 Hz TV sets with high bit rate color data such as 1080p 60 Hz deep color. Embedded products should be hitting the market in the next 6 months. Keep a look out for them.

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