HDBaseT interface combines audio, video, networking, USB, and power

Before long, PC graphics cards could start sprouting Ethernet jacks. No, I’m not talking about the freakish GPU/NIC hybrid we saw at CES. LG, Samsung, Sony, and Valens Semiconductor have introduced a new audiovisual connection standard dubbed HDBaseT. The new standard employs Cat 5e/6 network cabling to carry audio and video content alongside a dedicated 100Mbps Ethernet connection.

The HDBaseT Alliance has a handy comparison chart (PDF) that nicely contrasts the specification’s key features with other standards. While a little short on bandwidth when compared to DisplayPort 1.2, the first revision of HDBaseT matches the 10.2Gbps A/V data rate available with HDMI 1.4. HDBaseT can also pass an impressive 100W of power along cable runs up to 100 meters (328 feet). USB support has been integrated into the spec, as well.

HDBaseT’s networking component is robust enough to support daisy chaining and star topologies, making it possible to link multiple consumer electronics devices with much simpler cabling than would be required today. The first devices to support the new standard are slated to arrive in the second half of this year, with more widespread adoption expected in 2011.

Comments closed
    • jackbomb
    • 10 years ago

    I think Apple actually made a single audio/video/usb/power cable for their G4 Cube of Failure. No ethernet, but it did carry enough power to fire up a 17″ CRT.

    • Kurotetsu
    • 10 years ago

    This sounds alot like what Intel wants to do with Light Peak (just with optical fiber instead of Cat5e/6).

      • wira020
      • 10 years ago

      Agreed, but I think this have the advantage of being cheaper..

    • ludi
    • 10 years ago

    Those of you questioning the 100W power supply spec should have spent more of your Physics 101 class paying attention to the material and less time staring at the hot girl three rows over 😛

    I can’t find any additional technical details about the spec on the HDbaseT website, but in general, 50V is considered an informal threshold for a “safe to humans” working voltage. In practice, 48V is pretty common, and for this application a DC supply is more likely that AC, which keeps the math simple. The spec delivers 100W of power, so assuming it uses 48VDC, the power equation is:

    P = V * I where P = Power in Watts, V = Potential in Volts, and I = Current in Amps.

    100W = 48V * I, therefore I = 100 / 48 = 2.1 A

    …which is very reasonable.

    Next layer of complexity: Can 24 gage cable handle it? A typical resistance for 24 gage cable is about 0.03 Ohms/foot. The HDbaseT spec claims function at up to 100 meters. 100 meters is about 330 feet, so 330 * 0.03 is about 10 Ohms for a 100 meter run. Round trip, that would be 20 Ohms.

    However, standard Cat5e/Cat6 cable has four pairs, and presumably the spec would transmit DC power over all four pairs in parallel for maximum efficiency (with the AC signaling layered over it), so the actual resistance would be one-fourth of that, or 5 Ohms roundtrip. A quick spreadsheet iteration shows that in order to deliver the full 100W to the load device, the source would have to deliver 3.1A, with 15.3V and 46.7W being lost in the cable and the load pulling its 100W at 32.7V.

    …which is also reasonable.

    The cable would be dissipating 0.14W per foot under these conditions,which might warm it up slightly but would be nowhere near fire hazard conditions.

    …which is /[

      • lilbuddhaman
      • 10 years ago

      get your logic and reasoning out of here !

      (great post)

      • UberGerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Sure. The trouble is, PoE is only rated for 25W — and that is a fairly recent bump; it used to be only about half of that. So 100W is somewhere between a 4x and a 8x increase.

      Of all the existing Cat5e and Cat6 cable in the world — especially the stuff that has already been in walls or looped under furniture, etc, for years — how much can handle 100W? How much was ever spec’d or tested at 100W, even when it was new and un-abused? Because you know somebody somewhere is going to just plug that in and pull a full 100W across it.

        • Trymor
        • 10 years ago

        Just need and iron clad disclaimer…lol. Try

      • dustyjamessutton
      • 10 years ago

      Ohhhh, I feel my pacemaker failing already….

    • fantastic
    • 10 years ago

    I hope this works as good as it looks, buy I think the 100W power is way too high. Aim low. Like 15W or so. 22-24 gauge wire is not meant to handle that kind of power. I can see the firemen frowning in my mind. It was the wire to the TV again…

    • Skrying
    • 10 years ago

    This is quite interesting. It’s like a cable that could support nearly any application. I’m curious to see where this could go. The less cables to deal with the better, especially when those cables are as cheap and widely available as Cat-5e/6.

    • lilbuddhaman
    • 10 years ago

    It needs a fancier or shorter name and it’ll be a winner… or maybe something with zazz. A slogan or something:

    “Cheap Cable, Does Everything”
    “F’ you, Monster”

    • digitalnut
    • 10 years ago

    But, will it handle jitter free audio? How is the audio clocked?

      • Corrado
      • 10 years ago

      Its… digital.

    • tesla120
    • 10 years ago

    ill give it 2 days before some $100 6 food cat VI cable comes out that is “optimized for HD video”

    • cygnus1
    • 10 years ago

    This honestly seems silly and very niche to me. Why on earth would you want to route all of those things in to one device?

      • Farting Bob
      • 10 years ago

      Because 1 cable is the preferrable option to “enough cables to tie down an octopus”.

        • cygnus1
        • 10 years ago

        You’re not thinking about the question… why would you want all those protocols going into a tv? Sound goes to your sound system, ethernet goes to a DVR or HTPC, 100w of power isn’t enough and WTF is USB needed in a home theater for? What two devices would need all of that passed between them?

        Even using this to hook a monitor up to a computer is silly. Why would you need ethernet or sound going to your monitor?

        There are going to be very few situations where this sort of combination makes sense.

          • Taddeusz
          • 10 years ago

          You’re not thinking about applications other than home theater. Think about any place that needs remote monitors. An airport for example. Theoretically you could span a building with various display devices and as long as your the devices fit into the 100W envelope would only need a single CAT6 cable run to each.

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          And I think you’re not understanding what they’re trying to do. It’s not that it does *[

            • Sahrin
            • 10 years ago

            This.

            • wira020
            • 10 years ago

            In short, cheaper cables (already available unless they decide ethernet cable a no go) and ports ( no royalty to sony like hdmi ) and opens up wider application for tv like sony’s rumoured internet tv or something..

      • shaitand
      • 10 years ago

      Blueray disc players now stream video from the network, connect to netflix, and need to output video to your tv and audio to your sound system (which might also be able to stream audio off your network).

      Currently you need usb for external storage on your dvr. This gives you one cabling type to integrate all these components. Oh, and your tv would be the only thing plugging into the wall, the rest of your components would get their power from the cable.

      P.S. How is 100w not enough for your htpc? 70w will power a laptop and that includes the display!

    • SlyFerret
    • 10 years ago

    I was considering going wifi only in my house, but If this becomes reality, I’m going to pull a bunch of cat-6 to every room.

    -SF

    • bdwilcox
    • 10 years ago

    I was hoping for either a BNC connector or vampire taps for that “retro” feel.

      • Trymor
      • 10 years ago

      BNC connector – wouldn’t that require 8 connectors on each end of the cable… Try

    • BiffStroganoffsky
    • 10 years ago

    So long as they don’t use high priced, proprietary connectors to thwart would-be DIY’ers, I’m all in for rollin’ my own custom cables.

      • CampinCarl
      • 10 years ago

      Wouldn’t it have to use the standard RJ45/Cat6 jack head to have it be compatible with existing LAN ports?

        • BiffStroganoffsky
        • 10 years ago

        It depends on how one reads the release. If they are just supporting a dedicated Ethernet connection alongside their A/V and USB, that could be read as only support for the transmission protocol which would be different from the cabling standard. That would leave them room for their own connectors, kinda like RCA and TRS connectors (both carry the same audio signals but connect to different style ends).

          • UberGerbil
          • 10 years ago

          From their whitepaper
          g[< HDBaseT uses low-cost single standard Cat-5e/6 cable - the easiest cable to install with the highest reliability and robustness. HDBaseT also connects equipment that is up to 100m/328ft apart and *[http://www.valens-semi.com/media/1593/valens_5playpaper_final%20v1.1.pdf<]§

            • BiffStroganoffsky
            • 10 years ago

            Yippee. Thanks for the info.

    • UberGerbil
    • 10 years ago

    The PoE aspect might be the most interesting facet of this, though I’d want to be really careful about amateur home installations that run budget Cat5E cable under carpets and through walls and then put even 100W through them.

    And while it’s nice that this is backwards-compatible with ethernet, so that generally you can mix equipment using this connector into LANs (and vice versa) and mostly have everything work, it is Yet Another Connector introduced into a market that already has way too many (as the back of any modern AV receiver demonstrates) .

    The great thing about standards in consumer electronics is that there is one for everybody.

      • Anomymous Gerbil
      • 10 years ago

      Well, there’s not 100W being dissipated in the cable; you wouldn’t even feel the cable get warm. So it shouldn’t matter too much where it’s placed.

        • UberGerbil
        • 10 years ago

        It matters if it shorts, particularly if whatever is around it is flammable (or even it just smolders). The way Cat5 cable gets abused, it’s quite possible for it to have been happily transmitting data for years but not be in a good state to have a hundred watts run through it.

    • pedro
    • 10 years ago

    Question: Why wasn’t this thought of earlier?

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This