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What’s the Difference Between HDBaseT™ and HDMI?

Home Theatre Solutions offers a glimpse into the future of the HD pipeline

Wireless is obviously the most attractive option aesthetically when you upgrade your entertainment at home. At Home Theatre Solutions, we doubt anyone thinks cables contribute to the décor. However, while much of our technology is moving down a wireless path, the reality is that wireless technology is not ready to handle the demands of streaming both HD audio and the new 4K Ultra HD video formats.

Believe it or not, HDMI cable is something of an unsung hero in home automation, quietly transporting HD audio and video in one concise package. But what if something came along that was even better than HDMI? What if it was something that could do more than any wireless technology will be able to do for years yet? Would you be interested?

With questions surrounding the forthcoming HDMI 2.0 standard and how it will handle 4K Ultra HD, it would seem there is an opportunity for someone to step in and make an impact. Enter Israeli tech manufacturer, Valens Semiconductor, who intends to do just that with its HDBaseT technology.

Launched in 2010, HDBaseT is the convergence of uncompressed HD video, HD audio (including DTS-HD Master Audio, and Dolby TrueHD), 100BaseT Ethernet, various control signals for home automation, and power (100 watts) for specific devices delivered through a standard CAT5e cable. HDBaseT supports all video sources, including legacy products, and does not add latency.

Granted, most folks haven’t heard of it yet, but custom integrators (like us) were immediately impressed with HDBaseT’s capabilities. It’s not surprising that manufacturers such as Savant became early adopters as well.

With strong initial support from the Pro AV market and custom integrators, Valens took the next step in creating the HDBaseT Alliance, to promote and standardize HDBaseT technology for whole-home and commercial distribution of uncompressed HD multimedia content. Since then, HDBaseT has made steady progress, pushing its way into different segments of the market including custom installation, digital signage, projection, and most recently into consumer electronics.

Don’t be surprised to see the HDBaseT logo on a slew of new home theater products. Manufacturers such as Panasonic are already offering support for HDBaseT with their commercial-grade displays and it looks like Samsung and others will be following suit soon.

Another benefit of HDBaseT is that the range is far greater than that of HDMI, which will be great news to anyone with long runs of cable from their A/V receiver or multi-room system to TVs located inside and outside the home. Aside from the cost savings, CAT5e is more durable than HDMI and the ability to send an uncompressed 4K signal with power 300 feet to a weather-proof HDTV located in your backyard is going to make that type of product a lot more attractive.

Again, wires and cables may not add to the aesthetics of your home, but this is the stuff that makes life easier on a daily basis. You may not think about it, but if you want your home to be properly equipped to handle the future, you might want to call Home Theatre Solutions to learn more about new upgrades like HDBaseT. It very well may be the wave of the future.

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