The Successor to HDMI: All Your Video Through CAT6

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An alliance of CE makers, including Samsung and LG, finalized the specifications for a new A/V cable standard dubbed HDBaseT yesterday, which is meant to eventually succeed HDMI by offering more advanced networking functionality for home entertainment devices.

HDBaseT’s features should make home theater enthusiasts and cord cutters alike happy: Not only is it based on standard CAT5e/6 networking cables, which is going to make networking your home theater much cheaper than HDMI, the new standard also supports cable lengths of up to 328 feet. In other words: There’s really no more excuses for not connecting your PC to your TV, even if the two devices are located in different rooms of your house.


HDBaseT will support the transmission of HD and 3-D video signals, as well as data through an integrated 100MBit Ethernet connection. The technology will also allow true networking of various devices and displays, meaning that your DVR or HTPC can easily output video to any TV set in the household. Users will be able to daisy-chain devices or connect them through a star topology, and even transmit power through the cables. Essentially, this could mean that TV sets will only need one single input cable to receive video from a multitude of devices.

Features like these could be good news for platforms like Google TV that try to unite cable content with over-the-top and local video. Logitech’s upcoming Google TV box allows users to daisy-chain devices via HDMI, but it won’t offer the ability to easily add devices like a 3-D Blu-ray player to the mix.

HDBaseT is supported by LG Electronics, Samsung Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Valens Semiconductor, and the first devices supporting the new standard are expected to go to market later this year. However, the companies involved estimate that the majority of adoption will happen in 2011.

Related content on GigaOm Pro: Cool, Calm and Connected: 3 Design Principles for Connected Objects (subscription required)

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