New boy on the street what will HDBaseT do?
Sony, Samsung and LG are throwing their weight behind a new AV cable standard that poses yet another threat to the future of HDMI.
HDBaseT carries HD video, audio, network traffic and (perhaps crucially) power over standard Cat 5e/6 Ethernet cable. Its backers are pushing it as an all-in-one connector for devices ranging from PCs to net-connected televisions, games consoles and mobile devices.
The HDBaseT Alliance claims the technology is capable of delivering full 1080p HD video – as well as 3D formats – over a distance of 100m. That alone could give it a crucial advantage over HDMI, which struggles to carry a signal further than 15m without the use of extenders.
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HDBaseT can also carry up to 100 watts of power, meaning it could be used to power peripherals.
The cable is capable of running at gigabit Ethernet speeds and uses the standard RJ-45 socket found on today’s PCs and laptops.
The first specification of HDBaseT has now been finalised, and it will start appearing in devices as soon as the second half of this year, although the Alliance modestly predicts that “the majority of adoption” won’t take place until next year.
By which time, another potential rival to HDMI – Intel’s Light Peak – may well have emerged. Intel’s optical interconnect technology offers an enormous increase in bandwidth over both HDMI and HDBasetT, starting off at 10Gbits/sec, although Intel is already demonstrating prototypes capable of 200Gbits/sec.
Intel’s technology also uses standard connectors, with the optical technology likely to be built into USB cables, although PCs and other USB devices will need a dedicated unit to convert the optical signal into electrical data
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Atlona Technologies is manufactured by Cypress Technology Taiwan and they jointly have released new features for its HDAir USB-to-HDMI wireless converter, which allows any user with a computer to connect wirelessly to any HDTV or VGA monitor, including point-to-multipoint functionality and Macintosh compatibility.
The new HDAiR can output audio in both 3.5mm analog as well as embedded on the HDMI output, making it a viable solution for a much broader range of users. This latest update also enables users to connect up to four receivers to a single transmitter.
HDAiR still uses ultra-wideband frequencies to transmit AV signals and is capable of extending any computer wirelessly from the display at lengths up to 30ft with HDTV resolutions up to 720p or PC and VESA resolutions at 1440 x 1050. Both HDMI and VGA output connections are active at the same time, so the HDAiR receiver could be used to power up to two displays at the same time with identical content.
ATHEROS AND WILOCITY are working towards a wireless technology that will fuse together traditional WiFi and internal communication buses on a PC as a wireless extension of the PCIe bus.
The tri-band communications technology combines 802.11g/n and PCIe in a single device, that is, 2.4GHz, 5GHz and a very sensitive 60GHz band frequency to deliver your regular WiFi fix plus multi-gigabit data rates for devices both internal and external, over what the companies are calling the “Dockingzone”, an external device that acts as an extension of your PC’s PCIe bus with all the perks of PCIe.
The crack team of former Intel employees at Wilocity developed the 60GHz wPCIe standard called WiGig a while back and this type of technology is already used by several vendors for streaming content over, say, wireless HDMI. Atheros will handle the implementation and hopefully the marketing as they have a strong foothold in the laptop business.
60GHz is a sensitive band to be playing on, and the final product is expected to deliver PCIe x1 equivalent bandwidth for peripherals, although in theory it could go twice as high, bridged by the wireless PCIe. Enough for most tasks, the companies pointed out – wireless vídeo, USB, SATA – but definitely a major plus if they can keep the power use in check and bung it in laptops.
Unfortunately neither company has set a date for this technology to reach the market, but the PCIe-superset nature of the wireless technology