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Technology Showcase: HDMI Extenders

Products to extend HDMI's reach without sacrificing signal quality.

Technology Showcase: HDMI Extenders

May 26, 2008 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Products to extend HDMI’s reach without sacrificing signal quality.


More HDMI Solutions

StarTech ST121HDMIT

In retrospect, the halcyon days of pumping analog video through a single coaxial cable gleam in our memory with the simplicity of a technology’s infancy. But now that we have matured into high-definition digital image displays and are faced with the daunting requirements of 1080p/60 becoming the expected standard, just getting that video signal from one place to another has become an engineering challenge by itself.

Back in the era of analog video, a VGA (video graphics array) cable was sufficient for getting a computer-generated image to CRT screens. VGA had been introduced for the IBM PS/2 line of computers in 1987, and although it is now being rapidly superceded by other connectivity approaches, VGA still remains the lowest common denominator that all computer-graphics hardware can support before an application-specific driver takes over. That’s why the splash screen that tells you your PC is loading is still in 640×480 VGA resolution.

Then, in April 1999, the Digital Display Working Group (DDWG), spearheaded by Silicon Image and Molex, published a specification for DVI (digital visual interface) in which digital pixels are transmitted as binary data. Capable of carrying both digital and analog signals, Silicon Image’s Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS) was used as the technical basis for the DVI specification in order to ensure backwards compatibility.

DVI, however, did not include audio, and as the last millennium came to an end, it was rapidly becoming apparent that the acceleration of AV communication was going to require a lot more than just pretty pictures. With the proliferation of both digital sources and displays, integrators would also need to enable laptops, computer workstations, projectors, flatpanel screens, and even portable devices to talk to each other as if they originally came from the same family instead of springing from divergent heritages. In addition, the signals that needed to be distributed began to include multiple channels of audio, digital content protection, and metadata — and they still left room for the next data innovation that is sure to come down the pike.

Fortunately, back in 2002, the visionaries at Silicon Image brought together a consortium of industry leaders to come up with the next-generation solution, which would be called high-definition multimedia interface(HDMI). The founders of the HDMI Working Group include Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson, and Toshiba. By December of 2003, the organization released the HDMI specification version 1.0. The first HDMI products debuted at CES 2004, and there are currently more than 840 consumer-entertainment and PC companies that have adopted the HDMI specification, making HDMI the de facto standard for transmitting high-definition content as well as bridging computer and consumer display technologies.

The growth is predicted to continue. In fact, HDMI-enabled device shipments are expected to grow at an annual rate of 35 percent through 2011, according to In-Stat — a leading provider of actionable research, market analysis, and forecasts of advanced communications services, infrastructure, end-user devices, and semiconductors.

Atlona AT-HDMI250SR

The HDMI specification incorporates the DVI standard, and like its forerunner, it is based on TMDS. That’s why it is possible to build cables with an HDMI connector on one end and DVI at the other. HDMI can handle all of the current HDTV formats as uncompressed video, along with eight channels of digital audio over a single wire with 19-pin connectors. To enable advanced control functions such as automatic configuration and one-touch play between a video source such as a DVD player and the display, HDMI incorporates two-way communication. Crucially, it also supports digital rights management security approaches such as High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and Digital Transmission Content Protection (DTCP), which give Hollywood studios (among others) a bulwark of protection against piracy.

The HDMI spec has been expanded with the evolution of ever-greater capacities in digital communication devices by increasing the capabilities and throughput of what can be transmitted over that single cable. For example, HDMI version 1.3 increased the signal’s clock rate to 340MHz, providing support for 1080p/60 at WQXGA (2560×1600) and beyond, along with lossless compressed audio streams such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

HDMI comes at a cost, however. HDMI adopters pay an annual fee of $10,000 to HDMI Licensing — the agent responsible for licensing the HDMI specification — along with royalty fees for each end-user’s licensed product. This has induced the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) to develop a competitive standard to HDMI called DisplayPort, with version 1.0 approved in May 2006.

Although the vast number of HDMI-equipped consumer products already in the marketplace will probably ensure its continuing dominance in the consumer display field, the lack of licensing fees for DisplayPort may encourage its adoption by PC manufacturers as a replacement for DVI. However, this has to be taken with a grain of salt because reports have it that the intellectual property owners of some of the technology behind DisplayPort have not yet officially given up their rights. So future licensing fees are not totally out of the question.

In-Stat predicts DVI-enabled shipments will reach 112 million in 2007, but they are expected to decline thereafter due to the entry of the DisplayPort standard in the PC segment. DisplayPort products will be limited in number in 2008, but they will grow to more than 600 million products shipped in 2012.

Still, HDMI is the most prominent digital connectivity standard today. But the usefulness of HDMI depends on maintaining the integrity of its signal, and its very complexity means the HDMI signal risks deterioration over long cable runs.

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Technology Showcase: HDMI Extenders

May 26, 2008 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Products to extend HDMI’s reach without sacrificing signal quality.

Crestron DM-MD16X16

The AV industry is increasingly looking for methods to extend HDMI’s reach. This can become very complicated to deal with because the length and integrity of an HDMI connection can depend on the quality of the transmitter at the head end and the receiver at the device or sink end, as well as the quality and content of the cable itself.

The HDMI specification itself does not define a maximum cable length. Instead, HDMI specifies a minimum performance standard, and any cable meeting that specification is considered compliant. Although this can vary greatly, usually a cable of about 5 meters can be manufactured cost effectively to perform at speeds of 75Mhz — which is the equivalent of a 1080i signal, using 28 AWG (American Wire Gauge) wire. Cables using 24 AWG and tighter construction tolerances can reach lengths of 12 meters to 15 meters at speeds of 340MHz, which can successfully handle 1080p signals — including those with increased color depths and/or higher refresh rates.

But you need to throw into the mix the reality that not all HDMI devices conform to the same basic specification in the same way and that some elements of the specification are optional, which means not every manufacturer incorporates them into their gear. The result can sometimes be signal-degrading incompatibilities even with the best of intentions.

In order to deliver the best possible audio, video, and data from an HDMI cable length that would be considered quite short by coaxial standards — sometimes as little as 5 meters — the signal usually has to be regenerated or restored. You can’t just amplify the signal because that would simply boost the bad with the good. Additionally, if the goal is to send the HDMI signal to multiple receivers over wire connections, some sort of distribution amplifier matrix will be needed to keep the signal intact.

Extron HDMI 201 A D

With HDMI signals transmitting up to 10Gbps of complex information, restoration of the signal must be extremely precise so that — among other factors — the three TMDS channels and clock fire in correct sequence. The signal is usually graphically depicted as an eye-pattern test, earning its name because an ideal result looks like the shape of a human eye with a wide round opening surrounded by symmetrical lines. If the eye pattern starts to close or gets corrupted, the signal needs to be restored. This restoration is best accomplished at the receiving or sink end of the cable.

But the difficulties multiply when extra-long cable runs are required. Active cables or extenders that use fiber-optic and single or dual Cat-5 or Cat-6 cables instead of standard copper can be used to extend HDMI to 50 meters for 1080p and more than 100 meters for 1080i or less.

Several new alternatives to hard-wired extenders have emerged recently using wireless technology. Last January, the WirelessHD Consortium announced the completion of the WirelessHD 1.0 specification, and it has already announced more than 40 early adopter and promoter companies. WirelessHD (also called WiHD) operates in the unlicensed and globally available 60GHz frequency band. It combines uncompressed HD video, multi-channel audio, intelligent format and control data, and Hollywood-approved content protection. Its core technology promotes theoretical data rates as high as 25Gbps as compared to 10.2Gbps for HDMI 1.3, so it could potentially enable even higher resolutions, color depth, and range.

There is also Wireless High-definition Interface or WHDI as a potential
alternative to the cost of wire. Driven by Motorola and Amimon, WHDI is
a new wireless MIMO (multiple input/multiple output) transmission
technology intended to replace cables between video sources and digital
TVs or other displays. Because WHDI conforms to worldwide 5GHz spectrum
regulations, its range can extend beyond 100ft., can go through walls,
and presents a latency of less than 1 millisecond. With WHDI, video
data rates of up to 1.5Gbps can be delivered on a single 20MHz channel
in the 5GHz unlicensed band, which would be sufficient for uncompressed
1080i and 720p.

With more than 840 consumer entertainment and PC companies having
adopted the HDMI specification while wrestling with the above
complexities and variations, an exhaustive survey of HDMI extender
products would overflow these pages. However, based on recommendations
from some of the founding members of the HDMI Working Group and other
companies making significant enabling technologies, here is a look at
some of the most interesting approaches for extending the reach of HDMI.

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Technology Showcase: HDMI Extenders

May 26, 2008 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Products to extend HDMI’s reach without sacrificing signal quality.

Amimon, a proponent of the WHDI technology, partnered
with Belkin to demonstrate wireless HDTV connectivity in the 5GHz
unlicensed band at the 2008 International CES. Attendees experienced
the Belkin solution wirelessly distributing HD content between HD video
source devices such as Blu-ray Disc players and HDTVs via WHDI links of
uncompressed HD video. WHDI has been demonstrated at ranges of up to
100ft. through walls with a latency of less than 1 millisecond.

In April, Sharp announced it would offer a WHDI link for its new X
series ultra-thin LCD TVs in 37in., 42in., and 46in. screen sizes. This
series adopts a discrete component configuration that separates the
display section from the tuner section, and these two sections can be
connected with a cable or by using an optional wireless video
transmitter unit that employs Amimon’s WHDI technology.

Atlona Technologies is the only company at this time
that has HDMI balun system, which is using a single Cat-5 or Cat-6
wire, the AT-HDMI40SRS. The Atlona HDMI extenders can handle any
resolution up to 1080p out to 130ft., and 1080i up to 200ft.
Installation of the Atlona AT-HDMI40SRS HDMI extender over Cat-5 is
quick and easy. Simply place the sender unit next to your HDTV source
such as a DVD player, place the receiver unit next to your display, and
then connect a single Cat-5 cable between them. The signal will be sent
with excellent video quality. Atlona does recommend installers use
shielded Cat-5 or Cat-5 wire to maintain the best signal.

The Impact Acoustics 4-port HDMI Splitter with HDCP compatibility that is being marketed by Cables to Go
will connect an HDMI-based source to up to four HDTV displays equipped
with HDMI inputs. HDCP compatibility means this splitter will work with
high-definition video from sources including DirecTV, Dish Network,
cable television, and Blu-ray Disc players. Impact Acoustics splitters
are designed to support 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i, and 1080p resolutions.
Because they are cascadable up to three layers, one output may be used
to feed up to 64 displays from one source. Equalizer circuitry in the
Impact Acoustics 4-Port HDMI Splitter enables it to transmit an HDMI
signal to distances of up to 80ft. between source and display.

The DM-MD16×16 HDMI distribution matrix switcher from Crestron Electronics
processes and distributes HDMI 1.3a, all forms of analog video,
2-channel stereo, and 7.1 surround sound simultaneously — along with
Ethernet, USB, control, and power all on a single cable. Several
different transmitters and receivers can be paired together to create a
custom solution. The transmitters completely regenerate the signal and
dynamically adjust the characteristics to match the signal and wire
length to achieve optimal signal quality over long distances. All
signals are processed and can loop through as HDMI to another Crestron
DigitalMedia (DM) switcher, or they can be distributed via Crestron
DigitalMedia. Once the DM signal gets to the end point, a DM Room
Solution Box converts the signal to HDMI along with the HDCP.

Two HDMI sources can now be seen legally and reliably on up to 10 HDTVs
with the PureLink HD-2100 2×10 distribution amplifier from Dtrovision.
The reference to “legal” is to emphasize Dtrovision’s adherence to the
requirements of HDCP in its HDMI systems because its PureLink HD-2100
2×10 distribution amplifier provides a discrete HDCP output on each
channel, which is a requirement for proper 1080p HD content
reproduction. Signal sync time is greatly reduced, shortening the long
boot-up time for Blu-ray players, thereby increasing the use and
enjoyment of HD programming with HDCP content protection. Signal
regeneration allows longer distance connectivity with copper cables —
up to 30ft. at 1080p, and Dtrovision’s rigorous aging tests ensure
100,000-plus trouble-free hours of operation.

The Extron Electronics HDMI 201 A D transmitter
and receiver set enables HDMI signals to be carried up to 200ft. over
two Cat-5 cables. It can also accept and transmit stereo audio along
with RS-232 or IR signals. For convenient system integration, the HDMI
201 A D supports transmission of balanced or unbalanced stereo audio
signals when a separate audio cable is installed between the
transmitter and the receiver. In addition, either the transmitter or
receiver can be remotely powered over this cabling, so that external
power is necessary for only one of the devices. The use of STP
(shielded twisted pair) cabling provides added protection from outside
interference and increases overall signal transmission distances.
Extron’s HDMI 201 A D transmitter and receiver are designed for wall
mounting with the included Decora-style wallplates.

The HDMI RS232 Extender made by Gefen sends
flawless HDMI, RS-232, and IR signals over two economical Cat-5 cables
up to 150ft. at 1080p resolution or 300ft. at 1080i. Completely
HDCP-compliant, Gefen’s HDMI RS232 Extender supports resolutions up to
2K and 1920×1200. You simply connect the HDMI RS232 Extender sender
unit to your HDMI and RS-232 source using the supplied cables and your
RS-232 device, and then the HDMI display plugs into the HDMI RS232
Extender’s receiver unit. You can also use the optional Gefen IR
Emitter cable to extend IR signals.

Chips from Gennum were the first to be able to
handle the extended capabilities of the HDMI specification version 1.3.
Gennum’s ActiveConnect technology is capable of streaming
high-performance HDMI at up to 50 meters, and it offers a reliable and
robust method of extending HDMI signals over standard RGBH&V (red,
green, blue, horizontal sync, and vertical sync) cables that are
terminated with a BNC connector. At January’s CES Unveiled press event
at the Sands Convention Center in Las Vegas, Gennum demonstrated the
capability of linking a 24in. 1080p display to a Blu-ray Disc player,
showcasing full HDMI 1.3 performance via 76.2 meters of inexpensive
copper cable. Among other manufacturers, Gefen has incorporated
Gennum’s chips in its new HDMI over RGB Extender.

The Honeywell HDMI Restorer and Diagnostics Unit
(part number 7952NS08) is powered by its CURxE Light technology. This
dynamic, self-monitoring restorer helps to prevent incoming signal loss
on HDMI cables running up to 100ft. between an HDMI-capable source —
such as a digital cable set-top box, DTV tuner, or Blu-ray Disc player
— and a home-theater display. First only available in a standalone
chassis (7956NS08), Honeywell’s CURxE Light technology was then
combined with a restorer (7952NS08). With both technologies working
behind the scenes, the Honeywell HDMI Restorer now corrects the damaged
part of an HDMI’s audio, video, and communication transmission. New to
the line of HDMI products at Honeywell are HDMI cables with CURxE Light
technology built right into the connector.

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Technology Showcase: HDMI Extenders

May 26, 2008 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Products to extend HDMI’s reach without sacrificing signal quality.

When connecting more than one source, STB, DVD, game console, or camcorder to a single display, switching solutions that do not add jitter to the signal are very important. Within Pericom‘s Active HDMI Switch family, the PI3HDMI101 not only contains the company’s proprietary ActiveEye equalization circuit, but it also offers pre-emphasis circuitry. With multiple levels of output emphasis settings, PI3HDMI101 can be fine-tuned to match any custom application and still pass HDMI ATC compliance test 7-10 — the eye-pattern test. In addition, Pericom’s PI3HDMI101-A and PI3HDMI101-B products are designed specifically for receiver applications. The PI3HDMI101-A and PI3HDMI101-B can provide a fixed gain for the TMDS clock channel, while supporting full equalization circuitry for the high-speed data channels to provide better jitter tolerance and Rx sensitivity margin in relation to ATC sink tests.

Radiospire Networks is the first to successfully implement the consumer electronics control (CEC) functionality into its AirHook wireless HDMI technology. With AirHook, users can command and control multiple CEC-enabled boxes and peripherals with only one remote, and boxes can command and control each other without user intervention at all. The AirHook chipset uses the 1.7GHz unlicensed spectrum to deliver 1.6Gbps throughput to allow for the transmission of pure, uncompressed audio and video with maximum picture quality and no latency. Radiospire Networks claims to have a roadmap that will top 5Gbps in future-generation development. AirHook is designed to replace HDMI cables with a better, more cost-effective, and attractive alternative.

The HDOC Series HDMI fiber-optic cable from RTcom USA allows your digital display to extend up to 328ft. away from the video and audio source based on HDMI compliance. RTcom USA’s patented optical conversion technology enables noise-free and high resolution up to 1080 at 60Hz. RGB and clock signals are transmitted via fiber-optic cables, and HDCP/DDC2B signal and 5V power is transmitted via copper cables all integrated into a single cable wrapped in a PVC jacket. In addition, the company’s EDM-1818M expandable digital matrix router conforms to DVI 1.0, HDMI version 1.3a, and DisplayPort V1.1 specifications. Its back panel has slots for various port cards so users can expand or exchange the slot cards easily and simply.

The world’s first WirelessHD chipsets in the 60GHz band, SiBeam‘s SB9120 network processor and its SB9110 RF transceiver act as the transmitter for devices such as DVD players, set-top boxes, and media center PCs. The SB9121 network processor and the SB9111 transceiver chipset can be used as the receiver for digital televisions and front projectors. These chipsets are the first to deliver true, lossless uncompressed AV at 1080p with a bandwidth of 4Gbps. SiBeam’s transmitter and receiver chipsets employ SiBeam’s Omnilink60 advanced adaptive beam-forming systems that dynamically steer content to the specific receiving station, maintaining stable connectivity regardless of any obstacles that may obstruct its path.

SiBeam’s design breakthrough draws upon the multiple antenna capabilities of 802.11n and the simple wideband modulations of Ultra Wideband (UWB), along with the capability of manufacturing using standard CMOS technology. Each embedded processor handles the WirelessHD protocol that is capable of joining, leaving, and creating an intelligent Wireless Video Area Network (WVAN), which can consist of a variety of WirelessHD-enabled devices. At CES 2008, both Panasonic and Toshiba demonstrated WirelessHD-equipped displays.

The VastLane SiI9135 from Silicon Image is an advanced, dual-input HDMI 1.3 receiver designed for high-definition digital AV receivers. The SiI9135 supports the latest HD audio formats, allowing customers to experience the ultimate surround-sound experience by decoding compressed lossless audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD are the next-generation lossless audio formats for the high-definition disc media such as HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc. With dual-integrated HDMI 1.3 cores, the VastLane SiI9135 receiver has an integrated HDCP cipher engine. It can handle 1080p at 60Hz or 720p/1080i at 120Hz. The corresponding transmitter, Silicon Image’s SiI9134, is an advanced HDMI 1.3-compliant sender designed for Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD players and recorders that require high-definition audio and Deep Color capabilities.

StarTech‘s HDMI over Cat-5/UTP extender, the ST121HDMIT is HDCP-compliant. It can be used with any DVI-D source or display, using one of StarTech’s HDMI to DVI cables. It requires StarTech’s ST121HDMR250 receiver for 820ft. signal extension, or its ST121HDMR50 for up to 164ft. extension. StarTech also offers the DP2HDMI, a DisplayPort-to-HDMI cable adapter/converter. In addition, the Converge A/V HDMI Equalizer from StarTech can extend an HDMI signal up to 164ft. while maintaining a full 1080p resolution with no signal loss or noise. It allows you to plug in a 40-meter cable from the source to the equalizer and an additional 10-meter cable from the equalizer to the display.

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Technology Showcase: HDMI Extenders

May 26, 2008 12:00 PM,
By Jay Ankeney

Products to extend HDMI’s reach without sacrificing signal quality.

Apogee HDMIEXT60

More HDMI Solutions

The long and winding road of HDMI development as illustrated in this
article has produced an increasingly competitive marketplace for those
who understand the advance of bandwidth availability and the eventual
end of the analog 4:3 video world that we all grew up with. The power
of those forces, combined with a lot of imaginative technical talent,
is already spawning a wide array of approaches and solutions for HDMI
conveyance at every point along the price and performance scale.

Following are a few more examples of the hardware this evolving field
has already produced. This list is not meant to be comprehensive,
because this market is growing at an astounding pace, but it instead
offers a sampling of the technology’s current direction.

Apogee markets the HDMIEXT60 Cat-5e/-6 extender for
running HDMI video signals up to 360ft. Each port supports DVI and HDMI
inputs with signaling rates up to 2.25Gbps with auto adjustment of
amplification, feedback, and equalization using shielded twisted-pair

The 1391A HDMI extender from Audio Authority can
send HDMI signals over 130ft. The unit also has a DDC correction
circuit that compensates for skew, impedance, and capacitance in
boosting the DDC signal.

Part of the Avenview HDMI-C5 Extender Series, the
HDMI-C5-S transmitter and HDMI-C5-SR receiver form a pair that extends
HDMI video over Cat-5, Cat-5e, and Cat-6 twisted-pair cable with
unlimited cascading capability.

The Emerge MPX HD Multipoint Extender from Avocent uses a wired or RF link for HDMI video and embedded audio distribution to as many as eight receivers.

Belkin‘s PureAV HDMI Extender for HD and embedded multichannel digital audio extends HDCP-compliant 1080i video up to 100ft.

The Black Box HDMI Extender can carry high-def
video up to 1080p for a distance of up to 130ft. or 65ft. on each side
of the unit. It can boost the HDCP 1.0 and 1.1-compliant signal with up
to 2.5 times the gain at the input to compensate for signal attenuation.

The HM6EK HDMI Extender Kit from CE Labs is
designed to extend the HDCP-compliant HDMI signal up to 160ft. on two
Cat-5/Cat-6 cables. One twisted-pair cable carries HDMI video while the
other handles DDC data.

The ACE (Active Cable Extender) from DVIGear is a
signal equalizer that provides up to 40dB of insertion loss correction
at 825MHz to extend fully compliant HDMI signals up to nearly 200ft.
when used with DVIGear Super High Resolution DVI and HDMI cables.

The Intelix DIGI-HDMI-F transmitter/receiver pair
can send 480i, 480p, 720p, and 1080i video up to 150ft. on Cat-5 cable
and 1080p up to 30ft. on Cat-6. Powered on the destination end with an
external 5VDC power supply, the units are HDCP-compliant with a video
amplifier bandwidth of 1.65Gbps for 1.2V p-p video at the input.

The Kramer Electronics TP-551/552
transmitter/receiver pair conveys HDMI signals over two STP Cat-5e
cables for distances up to 200ft. with bandwidth support up to 1.65Gbps
for 1080p video resolution.

The Lasermate fiber-optic HDMI extender is a
transmitter/receiver pair that uses two 62.5/125 multimode fiber-optic
lines to carry HDMI signals up to 656ft. with a maximum video
resolution of 1920×1080.

The Cat’s i HDMI extender from Magenta Research
sends the 720p and 1080i video and audio up to 300ft., 1080p video and
audio up to 150ft., and XGA signals up to 300ft. on two screened
twisted-pair (ScTP) cables with full HDCP support at 1/65Gbps.

Among the lightest and tiniest solutions, the M05-180 HDMI extender/repeater from Micro Connectors uses power provided by the HDMI devices along the cable to extend HDMI 1.3 video signals up to 150ft.

The MultiDyne HDM-2000 HDMI fiber-optic extension
cables run HDCP-compliant HDMI signals up to 320ft. The cables are
available in varying lengths from 9.14 meters up to 97.5 meters, and
they can support computer display resolutions up to 1600×1200.

MuxLab VideoEase HDMI Econo Extender Kit 500400

The MuxLab VideoEase HDMI Econo Extender Kit
500400 runs HDMI 1.2 at resolutions up to 1080i on two Cat-5e
unshielded twisted-pair cables. 1080p can be run up to 100ft. on Cat-6.

Octava‘s HDMI/DVI Extender carries high-def video at
resolutions as high as 1080p up to 100ft., automatically equalizing and
compensating for cable losses. Using appropriate adapters, the device
offers 6.25Gbps aggregate data rate for HDMI version 1.3 with HDCP

The M1-2R2H-TR optical HDMI extension module from Opticis
extends HDMI signals with HDCP up to 300ft. on four optical fiber lines
with duplex LC connections at resolutions up to 1920×1080 and conveys
DDC data on UTP cable using an RJ-45 connection.

The HDMI-X fiber-optic extender from RapcoHorizon
can carry HDCP-compliant HDMI signals up to 330ft. along with DDC data
and uncompressed audio on four lengths of fiber-optic cable.

The HDX1000 from SmartAVI extends HDCP-compliant
HDMI signals up to 330ft. on Cat-5/Cat-6 shielded twisted-pair (STP)
cable at computer video resolutions up to 1920×1200 and 1080p HD with
audio at a maximum bandwidth of 4.95Gbps.

The R01-EXT-C5E HDMI UTP extender from Tri-Net Technology
extends the HDMI signal up to 150ft. at video resolutions of 480p,
720p, 1080i, and 1080p over two Cat-5/-5e/-6 twisted-pair cables. With
its fully automatic equalization up to 40dB, there is no system control
required. The output signal is also HDCP-compliant.

TV One has introduced the IT-DA-631 dynamic cable
equalizer for restoring the HDMI 1.3 signal after a long run from the
video source. The unit also maintains the quality of stereo or 7.1
sound and the built-in DDC extender maintains HDCP signal encryption.

The VHE-1100 HDMI extender from Vigor Electronics
can extend HDCP-compliant video up to more than 160ft. at video
resolutions of 480i, 720p, 768p, 1080i, 1080p and computer resolutions
up to 1900×1200.

VizionWare has taken a new approach to HDMI extension
by incorporating active electronics in its Hi-Wirez series of cables.
The Hi-Wirez 1650 Series can deliver resolutions from 480p to 1080i at
lengths up to 100ft. Lighter and less bulky than many other HDMI
cables, the HI-Wirez 1650 is easier to install and highly resistant to
induced interference.

As can be seen from these examples, there has evolved an amazing array
of solutions taking different approaches and using varied media
combinations to overcome the inherent distance limitations of today’s
HDMI transmissions. As the market winnows out those that prove to be
less effective, the changing technology will enable even more choices.
The process of these counterbalancing forces at work promises there
will be interesting times on the road ahead for HDMI. — Bennett Liles


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