HDMI DistributionThe challenge facing HDMI distribution gear is not only to present spotless video and sound to users but to pass EDID and other communication, of which most users are not even aware. 11/02/2010 6:54 AM Eastern
Nov 2, 2010 10:54 AM, By Bennett Liles
In the analog days, the living was easy. We could just twist some cable together, stack adapters until they looked like a Russian space ship, and plug the whole thing in, and it still workedor at least sort of worked. With digital video, a lot more can go wrong, and HDCP has added a whole new minefield, so when everything isn’t just rightnothing. The challenge facing HDMI distribution gear is not only to present spotless video and sound to users but to pass EDID and other communication, of which most users are not even aware.
Methods range from splitting the output of one chip to deserializing, reclocking, and independently repeating the signal at each output. The method can mean a difference in performance when it comes to the distance the video can be run, how many stages through which it can be successfully cascaded, and whether it will even work at all with some displays. The models surveyed here use various means for processing signals, and one or more of the entries will suit just about any possible price/performance scenario for HDMI signal distribution.
For HDMI 3.1, HDCP 1.1, and DVI-compliant signal distribution, the AT-HD-V112 1x12 HDMI distribution amplifier from Atlona features deep color support up to 12 bits, 1080p at 24/60Hz, independent HDCP keyset for each output, and support for HD audio in Dolby Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD. For display compatibility, the unit records EDID from the first display it detects, and at 1080p resolution, the video can be run up to 50ft. without degradation. The unit is housed in a rackmountable black metal case with one female Type A connector and 16 numbered output ports among which up to 12 displays can be run.
Supporting up to 12 bits per color, HDCP 1.1, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD Master Audio, the 1398A from Audio Authority provides an eight-way amplified and equalized split for a single HDMI 1.3 source. The cable length may extend up to 100ft., and the units may be cascaded up to seven layers for longer runs with display resolution up to 1080p with lip sync compensation. The 1398A can originate EDID for the source, or it can retransmit the EDID from a downstream HDMI sink. The front panel includes a power LED along with HDMI/DVI, HDCP, sync indicators, and connection LEDs for each output.
The AC552A-4 from Black Box Network Services can split one HDMI source to as many as four displays at 1.65Gbps for 1080i or 1080p to a maximum distance of 40ft. The AC power is autosensing for operation on either 50Hz or 60Hz AC. There is also an output for 9VDC at up to 1 amp, and the mean time between failures (MTBF) is estimated at 95,000 hours. Up to three units can be cascaded for more outputs, and the signals are buffered to allow distribution without signal loss.
Compliant with HDMI v1.3b for deep color and sending video up to 32ft. from each of its eight outputs to the display, the CE Labs HA8-3 supports display resolution up to 1080p and may be cascaded up to seven layers deep. The metallic unit uses all female Type A HDMI connectors, and it has a plate on the cable side with holes through which cable ties can be run to secure the HDMI cables once they are connected. The case can be bulkhead mounted using slots provided in the metal housing, and the unit also provides LED indicators for power and port activity.
The Comprehensive CDA-HD400 1x4 HDMI distribution amplifier handles 165Mhz bandwidth video and supports 480i SDTV. Featuring HDCP- and RoHS-compliant processing, the unit may be cascaded for longer reach to display devices with HDMI 1.3 signals. The 10in.-wide chassis accepts a 5VDC power supply at 2 amps, which is included.
Handling 1080p60 and WUXGA resolution for HDMI 1.3a with deep color, the Crestron HD-DA-2-Quad distribution amplifier sends each of four HDMI sources to two displays independently, and it is compatible with DisplayPort Multimode and DVI with adapters. The unit uses internal EDID management to provide the source device with a compatible display ID for both destination devices. The HD-DA-2-Quad can also use Crestron’s Toolbox software to test the HDCP limits of each source in assuring compliant operation. There are also LED digital sync indicators on each input channel to show that a valid HDMI signal is connected. The rackmountable unit includes a 24VDC power supply, or it may be powered through a proprietary Cresnet connection.
Nov 2, 2010 10:54 AM, By Bennett Liles
The DVI-5518b 1x8 HDMI splitter from DVIGear accepts an HDMI 1.3 signal and provides a buffer that deserializes and reclocks the signal to assure stable digital transfer. Each channel has a dedicated HDMI 1.3 chip to reserialize the reconstituted HDMI video for output. The unit also provides equalization for maximum optimal signal distance along the cable. With these features, it can be used as a jitter clean-up device anywhere along the video distribution chain. Included is a switch-selectable choice between automatic EDID detection and internal settings. The RoHS-compliant unit supports 8-bit as well as 10-bit and 12-bit deep color modes. The DVI-5518b is compatible with locking HDMI connectors, and it provides a locking power supply cable along with ears for rackmounting.
Gefen designed the 1:10 HDMI distribution amplifier to distribute or regenerate a single HDMI 1.3 signal with HDCP to as many as 10 outputs with support for 1080p and computer resolutions up to 1920x1200. The front panel includes reset, power, and activity LEDs while the rear panel has an EDID switch to select between using the EDID from the display connected to output 1 or from an onboard EDID. The 1RU amp includes a 24VDC power supply, and the maximum power consumption is 60W.
The SP-HDMI-4A from Hall Research provides a four-way split for a single HDMI 1.3 source and provides buffered outputs to drive signals up to 40ft. on high-quality cable at resolutions up to 1080p. Using output 4, it can be cascaded up to three levels with bandwidth support up to 1.65Gbps. The first three outputs are on the rear panel while the input and fourth output are on the front panel, which also includes a power LED. Included is a 5VDC, 2.6-amp power supply.
The Intelix HD-2X8 allows either an HDMI or DVI source to be connected to the input using external adapters and sends it to as many as eight outputs. The DVI input includes optical and SPDIF audio connection. Up to five HD-2X8s can be cascaded with the units up to 30ft. apart to provide more outputs or longer distance. Supporting video resolutions up to 1080p, the 1RU chassis operates on a 12VDC power supply with a maximum power consumption of 15W. The front panel includes an input switch and individual channel activity LEDs.
The IOGear GVS184 splits a single source to as many as four displays with full 1080p support and auto downscale video resolution for HD media source devices that support it. The unit is HDMI 1.3b- and HDCP-compliant with support for data rates up to 2.25Gbps. The 8in.-wide enclosure includes a front-panel reset button and a power LED along with LED indicators for activity on each output port. The unit has a maximum power consumption of 12W and includes a 6VDC power adapter.
Top of the line in the Key Digital Phantom Series, the KD-HDDA1X8 includes manual EDID control configuration from four internal library settings by using DIP switches on the rear panel, and it can take one HDMI or DVI input signal to as many as eight outputs at up to 1080p resolution and with deep color support for 12 bits. It is rackmountable and firmware-upgradable, and it includes CEC support with signal rates up to 10.2Gbps. Control options include a rear-panel 9-pin RS-232 connector to interface with third-party AV control and management systems.
Supporting data rates to 2.25Gbps with equalization and reclocking, the Kramer Electronics VM-16H distribution amplifier sends one source to as many as 16 outputs. All HDMI connections are on the rear panel while the front panel offers read and select buttons along with an LED connection indicator for each output. The unit provides enhanced EDID with the ability to store and recall a default EDID setting from one of the outputs in non-volatile memory. The select button picks out the connected display and the read button records the EDID information. The corresponding output LED indicator blinks while reading the EDID from the display on its channel, and the light is continuous when the data has been stored. The unit is rackmountable, and it runs directly on AC power.
Nov 2, 2010 10:54 AM, By Bennett Liles
The HDDA12V13 1x2 distribution amp from Octava distributes HDMI 1.3 and includes a Toslink connection to take the PCM, Dolby Digital, or DTS audio directly to a home theater audio system. The unit handles bandwidth up to 6.75Gbps for displays up to 1080i/p. All connections are on the rear panel, while the front has the power button and port activity LED. The processing features Octava’s ClearEye design to reduce timing errors and relevels the signal using a data slicer circuit and an HDMI limiting amplifier.
The PureLink HD-2100 HDMI 2x10 distribution amplifier sends two HDMI inputs to 10 outputs at up to 1.65Gbps and video resolution up to 1080p. The signal is HDCP-compliant on all 10 outputs. The 1RU amp includes a 12VDC power supply, and its maximum power consumption is 60W.
Providing HDMI 1.3 from one or two inputs to as many as 10 outputs, the HD-D210N HDMI distribution amplifier from RTcom USA supports HDCP and bandwidth from 25MHz to 225MHz on all outputs. The unit supports video resolutions up to 1080p at 60Hz with 36-bit color depth along with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD sound. With the unit’s internal EEPROM, EDID can be saved from the display or the user can select factory preprogrammed EDID. The internal circuitry provides a direct connection from each input to each output rather than using a daisy-chain wiring scheme. A 12VDC 3-amp power supply is provided, and the unit’s power consumption is 15W.
With signal presence indicators for the input and all four outputs, the Sima Products VS-HD14 also has digital audio outputs to feed a home theater amplifier. An infrared in/out port is available for flexible system configuration, and the half-rack-sized, all-metal chassis can be fitted with an optional rack mounting kit. Providing a boost for HDMI video, the unit can be cascaded for longer cable runs.
Resolution up to 1080p and WUXGA is supported by the HDS-4P from SmartAVI along with HDMI 1.3c-deep-color- and HDCP-compliant devices. The formats include DTS-HD Master Audio, Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio, LPCM, SACD, and MPCM. The HDMI four-port splitter runs on an external 5DVC 2-amp power supply module, and it supports home theater applications through CEC with a cable range of up to 20ft. to displays.
The StarTech ST128HDMI eight-port HDMI distribution amplifier has a built-in EDID simulator and HDCP keyset allowing each output to operate independently. The rackmountable unit can be cascaded up to three layers for increased reach to displays or more outputs, supporting resolutions from VGA to UXGA and 480p to 1080p at 1.65Gbps bandwidth. All connections are on the rear panel, and the front panel includes a power LED, sync and enhance LEDs, and a connection indicator LED for each output channel. The unit includes a 5VDC 2.6-amp power adapter.
For running an HDMI 1.3 input signal to as many as eight outputs with 10-bit and 12-bit deep color along with Dolby TrueHD, Dolby Digital Plus, and DTS-HD digital audio, the 1T-DA-658 distribution amplifier from TVOne provides equalization for signal loss on HDMI cables. The unit also features automatic EDID discovery, and the outputs may be cascaded for greater flexibility. An internal jumper is used to select between EDID discovery from the display or from an internally stored table. Along with the power LED, the front panel of the rackmountable unit has an LED that indicates whether an HDMI or DVI signal is on the input. Another indicator shows the presence of HDCP, and a third LED confirms synchronization of the HDCP signal.
The Xantech HDMI1X4 supports 1080p resolution to four outputs and the unit includes an internal DIP switch panel for settings to control switching delay, EDID parameters, and infrared control codes. Bandwidth support extends to 1.65Gbps, 12-bit color, and the unit’s features include lip sync and CEC passthrough along with support for Dolby Dolby TrueHD and DTS Master Audio.