Blog Post

The Successor to HDMI: All Your Video Through CAT6

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 (s GOOG) TV that try to unite cable content with over-the-top and local video. Logitech’s (s LOGI) 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 (s SNE) 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.

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30 Responses to “The Successor to HDMI: All Your Video Through CAT6”

  1. there are differences in cables, digital cables included. when i connect my pc to my tv via an unshielded 26 awg 50 ft hdmi cable i get popping in the audio. when i connect my pc to my tv via a shielded 22 awg 40 ft hdmi cable there is no popping in the audio.

    also to be noted is that the 50 ft cable only has audio popping when the cable is run through walls and under the house. when its across the floor there is no audio popping.

    dont buy monster, but do buy quality.

  2. @Bob Morein: You can’t say that some people don’t hear a difference between cables because you don’t know what they’re hearing.

    • Konraden

      It’s all in the science, Rich. a digital signal either works or it doesn’t. Analong signals have a problem with literal EM interference. Unless someone is literally inserting extra electricity into the cabling, the digital signal is unaffected regardless of location.

      So, yes, Rich. The only difference people can hear between an expensive cable like Monster and a $5 Rosewill from Newegg is the sound of their wallet emptying.

      Same goes for the Digital Hobo. Expensives cables exist solely for the purpose of tricking fools out of their money.

    • Joe J

      the cables themselves have been around for years – it’s just standard CAT6 network cable. So have RJ-45 connectors and crimping tools required to make your own custom-length cable. However I haven’t seen any home theater devices with an HDBaseT port (which is just a standard Ethernet port for transmitting video and audio signal) yet, the whole thing still may be in development. But it does look really promising, especially on the cost-cutting front

  3. Monster Cable couldn’t be a bigger rip off, but @Bob, there are differences in quality that can be noticeable if the rest of your system is high enough quality. A system is only as good as its weakest link. If you spent $25k on your home theater, paying for quality cables (not Monster though, thats paying for premium marketing, not premium product) is worth it. became my favorite website when I decided to run Cat6 through my house. Couldn’t believe how cheap they were, and the multi colored choices made it easy to keep my devices straight.

    • It sounds like you bought an expensive cable and want to justify the purchase somehow. HDMI is a digital signal so it either works or it doesn’t. I use $10 cables on my system and it is beautiful quality. I’ve seen the same cable for $200 and they are the exact same thing.

  4. Bob Morein

    This finally should put an end to the Monster Cable nonsense. Monster is a company based on a lie – the lie that different cables sound (or look) different.

    Good riddance, Monster Noel Lee!

  5. HDMI 1.4 is about 10 Gbit, so with cable of Cat7-quality it should be possible to do this. It’s not as cheap as the regular cable, but compared to HDMI it is a bargain.

    But I don’t believe HDBaseT is designed a solution to be integrated into a home network. Check prices on 10Gbit switches – four figures and more.

    BTW it is already possible to send HDMI over Ethernet – Key Digital’s FatCATs encode the signal accordingly. But again – pricey. I think one device is a few hundred dollars.