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HDMI Under Threat From New Ethernet Video Standard

Gordon Kelly


HDMI Under Threat From New Ethernet Video Standard

Oh no, not another new standard! Well yes, and no - and besides, you'll like this one...

'HDBaseT' is being proposed as a direct rival to HDMI and the reason it just might work is it uses standard Ethernet cables. Consequently HDBaseT (it needs a catchier name) would be simple to get off the ground, cheap for both consumers and manufacturers and a genuine technological advance.

The last of these points may come as a surprise given the age of Ethernet and the ballyhoo surrounding HDMI 1.4, and DisplayPort 1.2, but HDBaseT 1.0 carries a number of sizeable benefits. The table below goes into more detail (and also compares against DiiVA), but highlights are support for far greater cable lengths of up 100m, the ability to daisy chain devices together, compatibility with USB and the fact it can carry up to 100W for powering devices.

This last point is particularly cool for cable haters since it could greatly reduce the number for separate power supplies in an average A/V setup. By comparison, neither HDMI 1.4 nor even DisplayPort 1.2 can carry power and DiiVA manages just 5W. Throw in HDBaseT's use of standard RJ-45 connectors - which won't fall out like HDMI and DisplayPort - and it's a convincing argument.

Of course good ideas don't get off the ground all by themselves, so thankfully (and surprisingly) it is brainchild of no less than LG, Samsung, Sony and Valens Semiconductor who clubbed together to form the HDBaseT Alliance a little over six months ago.

The big trio here all promise to have HDBaseT compatible TVs on sale before the end of the year with a major push of the new standard during 2011. Much like the phone industry's sensible move towards Micro USB I really hope it takes off...

Link: HDBaseT


July 5, 2010, 10:54 am

great news - ehternet FTW

HDMI is a complete disaster

Hamish Campbell

July 5, 2010, 11:51 am

Ok, here's what I don't get:

Existing ethernet cables and sockets, and yet can pump 100W of power.....We can't do that now though right? Or can we? Our existing networks can throw power supplies around willy nilly and we've just never bothered before?

USB compatible....errr what does this mean?

I look forward though to Monster Cables world first premium ethernet cables...oops spoke to soon



July 5, 2010, 1:03 pm

This is awesome ...

If you can use hubs etc in the standard it should be possible to have virtual video cards that use the HDbaseT connector to send multiple streams out - no need for media PCs, just one mighty fileserver, a TV in each room and some RF / wifi remotes.

Anyone seen if the signals are routable, or are they just using Cat5e as the physical cable (as you can already for HDMI)??


July 5, 2010, 1:18 pm

Wish I never bothered channeling my HDMI 1.3 cables in the wall now :-( I don't think they will work with 3D either? I might get lucky with this though as I did put in a cat5e patch cable (never used it mind). Do we know if it requires a different type of Ethernet cable?


July 5, 2010, 1:18 pm

I don't quite understand :S

Does this mean that the HDMI cable I use for my PS3 is bad? In my opinion it is the best quality vision I have ever seen! Why is HDMI bad in any way?

And how would having a new standard help anyone? Thrilling though new technology is, its a similar problem with 3D tvs, people just got used to the old standard and they wanna shove something new in your face!


July 5, 2010, 1:25 pm

This could be the new Beta Max... afterall eveyone has been convinced by HDMI. Can they convince us again? Their hypnosis doesn't appear to be working on me with regard to 3D.

Just noticed the symbol above the letter 3 is the pound. So 3D is really £D. Says it all really. Could this boil down to the almighty £/$ or is it really a benefit. To me it just seems an other Standard to muddy the water.


July 5, 2010, 1:33 pm


HDMI is not bad, but it is expensive. Also, the cables cannot be terminated on site (ie, they have to be machine made) so you can't do custom installs without having excess cable everywhere.

CAT5 is cheap, well known, easily hidden, cut to any length etc. Oh, and the connectors are small and don't fall out of the back of your equipment.. this is perfect if it takes off.


July 5, 2010, 1:46 pm

I'm definately in the 'not understading' camp

It says on the list that it will utilise low cost Cat5e and Cat6 ethernet cables but at the top of the list it says that it is capable of transmitting upto 10Gbps.

Am I missing something here? (If I am, I am open to correction)

Cat5e and Cat6 are only designed to carry 1Gbps.

To achieve 10Gbps you would need Cat6A, Cat7 or Cat7A and only the Cat6A utilises the standard RJ45 connector. (There is an RJ45 style used for Cat7/Cat7A but this has a different pin lay-out)

Also, these are not particularily 'low cost' either.



July 5, 2010, 1:56 pm

Here we go again. I think this will all be moot as the 'real' future will be about having no cables at all, even for power.


July 5, 2010, 4:46 pm

This is more for the system installers, integraters etc i.e. the pro's...that don't want issues because some badly designed connector (HDMI) keeps falling out. The Picture/Audio quality won't change, seeing as its all digital now.

Basically to you and me, we don't care what the cable looks like, but if your wiring a building...you've got other considerations.

This is what HDMI should have been designed like in the first place!


July 5, 2010, 10:00 pm


Yup, Cat5e is only 1GBps .. but it can carry that rate in both directions simulataneously.

I'm guessing this gets to 10GBps by using the wires in one direction, and by playing with the error correction etc. We are also more than 5 years down the tech road since cat5e came about... there is a lot you can do economically in silicon now that wasn't possible then ... just think of those lucky blighters on BT Infinity VDSL getting 80+MBps over their old phone lines.


July 6, 2010, 12:49 am

Fantastic, I wondered if I went over the top by putting in cat6 data points throughout my three bed terrace (had to rewire my house so thought I would run cat6 while I had the floorboards up). Now I know why I did it, yippee. Very simple to install and terminate and very cheap to buy cable and outlets.


July 6, 2010, 4:10 pm

@RazorA: "No cables at all". Our brains would melt. Seriously.


July 7, 2010, 11:39 pm

Here we go again ....

First they released a half-baked HDMI. Then everyone had to buy new gear to view HD - dazzling quality when it works, seriously flawed most of the time.

Now that we've gotten used to HDMI, they go and spring another half-baked protocol at us.

Believe me, there is no way I'm buying version 1.0 again. Just about had enough of manufacturers learning at my expense.

At work, if I specced technologies that had to be completely replaced in less than 2 years, I'd be sacked immediately.

Sorry guys, this doesn't do it for me just yet.


July 8, 2010, 4:39 am

We've had the ability to send power over Ethernet (PoE) for quite sometime. You could power a whole fleet of Cisco wireless routers with just one Cisco switch. The thing to note here is that you DO NOT EVER plug "normal" ethernet devices into PoE ports. It's a good way to fry your ethernet port on your hub/computer/slingbox/etc..

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