Why not use Cat5 in your home cinema setup?

Hd baseT

We’ve been lied to. When everyone started introducing HD Televisions there was a new interconnect to get use. That interconnect or port was HDMI. We were told that HDMI was the only connection able to handle all that bandwidth needed for a 1080p signal. Others said rubbish, whats wrong with dv, ethernet and even optical.

Well its stuck we’re not using Hdmi on most things but theres a new challenger and its very familiar.

HdbaseT is a new internet connect standard and as you guessed its based on Ethernet which will make a lot of people happy. Yes you can use your standard Cat5e or Cat6 cables. Not only that, theres a whole range of other extra tricks which come with HdbaseT, but how does it compare to the others types?

Feature

HDMI 1.4a

DiiVA

DisplayPort 1.2

HDBaseT 1.0

Uncompressed Video/Audio

10.2Gbps

13.5Gbps

21.6 Gbps
(17Gbps data)

10.2Gbps
(can scale to 20Gbps)

Max Passive Cable Length

~5-7m

26m

15m for 5Gbps
3m for 5-21.6Gbps

100m
(plus 8x multiple hops)

Cable type

HDMI

DiiVA

DisplayPort

Cat5e/6

Connector type

HDMI

DiiVA

DisplayPort

RJ-45

Charging power

No

5W

No

100W

Ethernet

100 Mbps

Gigabit

720Mbps

100 Mbps
(can scale to Gigabit)

Daisy chainable

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Installation-friendly

Heck No

No

No

Yes
(can use existing wiring)

USB

No

Yes

Yes

Yes

Networking methods

None

Daisy & Star

Daisy & Star

Daisy & Star
(with extended-range)

Power over ethernet, yes believe it or not but they will be able to supply not only data but also power over eithernet/hdbaseT, up to 100watts which is enough to power a 37inch tv. And the cable does not have to be Shielded which is great news for all those people who have laid ethernet in the walls of there house. Imagine running your whole TV off only one cable and nothing else…

Control signals allow remote controls to control anything on that network. And when we say network we mean just that. Switches or hubs can be used to connect devices and route signals around the network. This is like Samsung’s Anynet+ and other systems which allow you to control other related devices over a special cable. Instead of it a special magical cable, a cat5/6 cable will do the same trick.

This might sound a little pie in the sky but in actual fact its a standard and its been accepted by LG, Sony, Samsung and others. HdbaseT 1.0 specification is finished and ready to be used. There already working on the 2.0 spec now which will support up to 10.2gig a second through put. Theres also talk about using wireless too…

I look forward to seeing Hdmi going away and ethernet taking the position it once had.

Author: Ianforrester

Senior firestarter at BBC R&D, emergent technology expert and serial social geek event organiser.