Inside the HDBaseT 2.0 Specification, Part 2

Dana Zelitzki of Valens is back with us for part two to get into the power-carrying capability, HDBaseT Class B and some other things on the horizon for Valens. 10/22/2013 6:43 AM Eastern

Inside the HDBaseT 2.0 Specification, Part 2

Oct 22, 2013 10:43 AM, With Bennett Liles

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First it was HDBaseT and now HDBaseT 2.0 has made the news, and Dana Zelitzki of Valens is back with us for part two to get into the power-carrying capability, HDBaseT Class B and some other things on the horizon for Valens. That’s coming up next on the SVC Podcast.

SVC: Dana Zelitzki from Valens, coming to us all the way from Israel. And we’ve had an interesting time difference to work out, 5:00 in the morning in the Eastern U.S., so you’re probably a little more awake than I am.

Dana Zelitzki: Yes. I really appreciate it.

We’re talking about HDBaseT and the HDBaseT 2.0 specification. What are the various types of products so far with native HDBaseT, the devices that now have it built-in?

There are many products and in the beginning we really started mainly with HDMI extenders and various types of HDBaseT dongles, which were followed by matrices and switchers by the pro AV companies. But lately, in the past year or two, we’ve seen HDBaseT penetrating new types of products and devices like many projectors. Really we have lots of projectors from leading companies and we expect to see many more to come. We’ve started seeing HDBaseT in displays now; mainly for commercial uses but also in TVs for the homes. And just recently many HDBaseT AV receivers were introduced to the market from companies like Pioneer and Onkyo and Integra, so we expect to see more like that as well. [Timestamp: 2:03]

And those are all over the InfoComm YouTube videos and I saw that Epson just released, I think, three new projectors this summer with native HDBaseT and I think the company market its own HDBaseT transmitter box specifically for those projectors. Things are moving along with the Alliance. How many companies are now members of the HDBaseT Alliance?

As of today we have 66 member companies and counting. I think what’s unique about HDBaseT Alliance is not necessarily the number, although it is growing very, very quickly, but it is the combination—the mix of type of companies. I think we’re a unique alliance by having both leading pro AV companies and leading consumer electronic companies. This unique combination was specifically important in spec 2.0 development, for example. It enables us to address the needs of both markets. [Timestamp: 2:57]

And since there’s such a wide range of companies in that, you probably tend to get a lot of different opinions on things during the initial discussions because people are coming to it from quite different directions.


So when they get onboard, what does a company with a product have to do to be able to carry the HDBaseT logo on it?

So that’s a pretty simple process, actually. The first step is to become an HDBaseT Alliance member. Once you are a member, you have access to the compliance test specification so you know what to expect when you submit a product for testing and you can check it beforehand to see if it passes the testing successfully. The next step would be to send the product for testing with an Alliance-recognized testing facility. If you pass the test, congratulations and you can put the HDBaseT logo on. It was actually very important for the Alliance to make the testing procedure—the certification procedure—as simple as possible. [Timestamp: 3:55]

I’ve noticed that there are a number of manufacturers who have implemented the Valens VS100 and VS010 chip set but refer to the feature set with their own proprietary terminology.

That’s true, but it’s changing actually. And this is the main reason that it was so important for us to release the certification program because this is exactly what’s going to change that. The Alliance then, many HDBaseT products were out in the market very, very quickly and really before we had the certification program in place. So this is a process and it’s changing. Actually with the new type of products like the projectors and the displays, the compliance and interoperability is so much more important that we see that these manufacturers actually send the products for testing and certification even before the product is released. So when it’s out on the market, it’s already out there with an HDBaseT logo on it. [Timestamp: 4:54]

And of course at this stage of adoption one of the key words is interoperability. People see that it says HDBaseT but will it really work when I connect it to this other manufacturer’s hardware? Obviously, a big step when you get to where you know it will work and deliver all the features no matter what company name is on the case.

Exactly and this is really the purpose of the certification program, to guarantee products into operability and that products from different vendors will work seamlessly with one another. [Timestamp: 5:22]

Inside the HDBaseT 2.0 Specification, Part 2

Oct 22, 2013 10:43 AM, With Bennett Liles

In part one a while back we were talking about the USB capability with HDBaseT spec 2.0 and in addition to being important for the residential market it has some implications for the academic area. You’ve got very large deployments, high up-time, a wide range of daily users …

Yeah, I agree. … and gear being turned off and on dozens of times a day. PowerPoint’s one of the most-used applications in the classroom and the computers it runs on are often the source of equipment problems and user errors so there is some interest in so-called PC-less presentation where the visuals come straight from a flash drive to the classroom projector, and with the HDBaseT 2.0 version not having to run a separate USB extension in all of those classrooms to do that.

I agree. Yes. Absolutely. And you said you had a special interest in the education market and university installations, and yes this is a great application for HDBaseT and we’ve done very well in this market. [Timestamp: 6:21]

Right, and dealing with that large a scale you can start with outboarding everything on standalone extenders, then begin to phase in projectors and source devices with native HDBaseT and repurpose the original separate extenders moving them down the line to other classroom buildings for the first wave of deployment there.

Yes, absolutely and you don’t need to be concerned about all the equipment becoming obsolete or you’re not dependent on a single vendor. This is the point and the big benefit of HDBaseT being a standard technology.

We also have now what’s called HDBaseT Class B with a slightly smaller feature set and I believe a 230ft. distance using the Valens VS010 chipset. What was the main reason for introducing HDBaseT Class B?

Actually we just wanted to offer more flexibility to our customers and provide them with a more cost-effective solution, especially when only selected functionality is required; when not the entire 5-Play feature set is required, and when the distance requirements are shorter. It’s been about two years, I think, since this chip was introduced to market and it proved to be very, very successful. [Timestamp: 7:31]

And so with the next wave of the HDBaseT features being built-in, do you see a long future for the extender market on this? I know we’re going to be seeing these devices for a good while, but do you envision a time when HDBaseT will just be an integral part of all of the hardware?

Hopefully we’ll have an HDBaseT world in a few years from now. But actually no, I don’t see these HDBaseT extenders disappearing. I do expect that we’ll see more and more native HDBaseT devices, but the more HDBaseT products and the more HDBaseT installations you have you will see also more and more HDBaseT extenders. First of all, sometimes all the installer needs is just to extend his HDMI equipment and HDBaseT extenders are a great, cost-effective solution for that. But also, as you said, it’s really a transition process and with HDBaseT penetrating to new markets and especially to consumer homes, well no one likes it when their old devices become obsolete. So instead of throwing away your old device, you’ll use an HDBaseT extender and with penetrating into the consumer electronics market, I can even anticipate new types of phone factors for HDBaseT dongles, let’s say. So I don’t see them disappearing from the market any time soon. [Timestamp: 8:57]

I know that it’s not a terribly pressing issue right now, but do you see a time coming since we have power use on a lot of the smaller projectors coming down, some future possibility of running projectors on the HDBaseT power and simplifying things even more?

Wouldn’t that be great, first of all? There are two things that can happen in that respect. The first thing that can happen is that projectors will become more and more power efficient and eventually will go below the 100W limit, which is a trend but most projectors today cannot. The second thing that can happen is that HDBaseT will be able to send more than 100W of power, and actually the technology itself is already able to do that, and even significantly so if you talk about shorter distances than 100 meters. But in the standard itself, we limited the technology to sending 100W of power in order to comply with the UL safety regulations. So one direction that the Alliance is working on is to work with the UL organization in order to increase the power we’re sending and still be compliant. [Timestamp: 10:06]

In the initial wave of this technology a few years ago it really took off fast. How did the marketing of HDBaseT differ from what’s usually seen in this industry? I mean you already had the chips produced and pretty much ready to go and the Alliance set up when you unveiled the technology didn’t you?

Yes. Actually the initial version of the technology, Valens was already ready with the chip sets when the Alliance announced just because forming the Alliance was also a long process. So we actually worked on the specification with our founders, with LG, Samsung, and Sony Pictures already before the Alliance actually was ready to go public. But if you ask about the difference in the marketing, I think we need to differentiate between Valens marketing and HDBaseT Alliance marketing, and in that respect I personally have two different jobs. When I’m wearing the Valens hat, I guess my marketing work is pretty standard like any other chip company selling solutions to pro AV and CE manufacturers. But when I’m wearing my HDBaseT Alliance hat, this is where the marketing job is kind of unique and I have to say very interesting because as an alliance we’re working to promote HDBaseT technology. We’re not working to promote a specific product. I think the recent release of 2.0 specification is a great example. We wanted to share the new technology with the public. We wanted to let them know what to expect even if there aren’t any HDBaseT 2.0-compliant products just yet. [Timestamp: 11:38]

So what’s Valens working on now? What are your goals for the near future? You’ve just come out with the 2.0 spec, so that’s out on the table. Are there more things on the drawing board?

So of course releasing a 2.0-compliant chip is our top priority right now, but yes we are looking at other markets as well. We’re active in the CCTV market, in the industrial PCs market. HDBaseT is a great application for other markets besides pro AV and we’re looking at that directions as well. [Timestamp: 12:07]

Alright, well I’m sure there’s a lot more coming from Valens. Dana Zelitzki and HDBaseT 2.0 from Valens. Thanks for explaining some things and it’s been a pleasure to have you on the SVC Podcast.

My pleasure. Thank you.

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