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PODCAST: Road to InfoComm 2 – HDBaseT Alliance To Show Networked Systems

Gabi and Tzahi discuss their plans for the 2017 show and provide a quick look at the new HDBaseT-IP technology

SVC Podcast – Road to InfoComm 2017

In this special Road to InfoComm edition of the SVC Podcast, Contributing Editor Bennett Liles talks with Gabi Shriki of Valens and Tzahi Madgar of the HDBaseT Alliance about the latest developments in HDBaseT. Gabi and Tzahi discuss their plans for the 2017 show and provide a quick look at the new HDBaseT-IP technology. They also provide a preview into the HDBaseT Installer Expert program among the educational offerings at this year’s show.

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From Sound & Video Contractor Magazine, this is Road to InfoComm Podcast with Valens and the HDBaseT Alliance. Show notes for the podcast are available on the web site of Sound & Video Contractor Magazine at

At InfoComm it’s at Booth 3761. See the latest developments with HDBaseT-IP and the HDBaseT Installer Expert course at the show. Gabi Shriki, Senior Vice President for Audio and Video at Valens and Tzahi Madgar, Director for Business Development for the HDBaseT Alliance are both here to give us the latest news on the Road to InfoComm podcast.

Welcome to the Road to InfoComm Podcast gentlemen. Gabi Shriki and Tzahi Madgar We’re going to be talking about the HDBaseT Alliance plans for InfoComm and Gabi, let me begin by asking the obvious question. What’s the first thing that attendees should plan on seeing at Booth 3761?

Gabi: Hi. Thanks for the opportunity. There are a couple of major products we are showing and announcing. We are showing for the first time how to extend over a single cable, single link, HDMI 2.0, 4K 60 4:4:4 or HDR content. So far it wasn’t available. If a customer or a vendor wants to implement such he either went to much deeper compression methods or he has to use two different cables to get it uncompressed. With the new Reference design we have created, customers can enjoy the benefits and the quality of 4K60 4:4:4 in HDR over a single link with a visually lossless compression with almost very little, up to a 100 microsecond, of latency. So that’s the first product we are announcing. The other one is very interesting. It’s the availability of HDBaseT-IP solution. Basically allowing customers and installers to build a more complex network topology; a hybrid topology that will be enabling the use and leveraging the existing HDBaseT inside a meeting room and interconnecting it between different rooms and creating a complex, maybe a campus-level A/V distribution solution over  Ethernet/IP network. So these two new announcements are going to be very, very interesting, I believe. In addition we are hosting actually 13 different members of the Alliance under the HDBaseT zone. So when they will come to our booth they will be able to see not only the two products I mentioned earlier, but also different vendors, different members of the Alliance showcasing their great products. [Timestamp: 2:47]

And since it’s one of the most popular education events at InfoComm, what’s going be covered in the HDBaseT Installer Expert course and who will be presenting that?

Gabi: So the presenter’s name is Daniel Schwartzberg and he will be presenting the two products I mentioned earlier as well as the HDBaseT Expert Installer program. And in these sessions we discuss and showcase how to do the best HDBaseT implementation in real-life applications. [Timestamp: 3:15]

Sounds like that one will attract a big audience and I’m sure it’s going to be sold out.

Gabi: It’s actually a sold-out event already.

I figured that would be a popular one and sold out pretty fast. I wanted to ask about the power capability. Where are we now with Power over HDBaseT? Are we still at 100 watts on that?

Gabi: So already today we are at 100 watts and we call it Power over HDBaseT. In near future, as you may know, under the IEEE there is an 802.3bt standard activity ongoing, which is about to match that power for roughly 100 watts. So once this is available and refined we will converge into the same so we will be compatible and interoperable. In different cases we do have – we have demonstrated custom applications where we had to deliver 150 watts and even 250 watts into different applications. Our technology, the HDBaseT technology is very robust and the error handling and the robustness of the technology allows us to sustain higher power over these four twisted pairs as opposed to other technologies. And therefore we are able to do higher power levels. There’s also an interesting cable certification program that we’re doing together with UL and I think that’s going to help a lot. It will allow to, I will say, converge traditional audio/video distribution with lighting, for example Video or Audio distribution with LED lighting – and other ideas around it. So UL and HDBaseT Alliance have jointly created a program to certify cables and to allow a wider usage of that technology. So the UL actually will have a dedicated session about this during the InfoComm and also at our booth as well. So it will be a great opportunity to learn more about it. [Timestamp: 5:06]

Okay, and if a company is planning to use HDBaseT technology in their upcoming product lines how do they become a member of the Alliance?

Tzahi: Hi. So this is Tzahi from the Alliance. And basically joining the Alliance is quite a simple process. They can reach out to our admin department and we will have a representative at the Alliance booth on the floor. And basically it’s just executing a few short membership agreements and paying the membership fee and that’s it. Quite easily you can become a member and we have several membership levels. The ones that are publicly open are the adopter level and the contributor level. The contributor level is the more advanced level of membership that actually allows you to take part in the different working groups in the Alliance including the A/V working group which promotes and actually writes the specifications for such abilities as Gabi mentioned before, the HDBaseT A/V and the 4K 60 4:4:4. So this enables companies to be the first or to know in advance about the different features and capabilities of HDBaseT and also be able to influence them and take part in progressing and advancing the standard. [Timestamp: 6:34]

I know it’s interesting when you’re at the booth and the people start coming in. What are the most frequent questions you get?

Gabi: Actually direct and real life applications and comments from our customers, potential vendors and so on is very, very important for us. It’s quite amazing that in every show – and we’ve been for quite a few of them over the past years – we still learn and get new ideas every time. It could be a new application that can take advantage of our HDBaseT technology. It could be a virtual reality extension. It could be a zero client application like internet café somewhere in China. We have tethered robots recently and also signage for transportation systems like buses, trains, subways. We have many ideas coming through these shows and it’s quite important for us. [Timestamp: 7:22]

And when manufacturers want to get their products HDBaseT certified what’s the general process for that?

Tzahi: Okay, hi. This is Tzahi again. So basically, we see certification as an important part of the HDBaseT standard, and it’s important to basically make sure that all the products can interoperate with one another. So we have an authorized facility for conducting this certification and all HDBaseT Alliance members are able to online open a certification request, submit all the forms and all the information, and then send the product to the certification facility and have it certified in a few weeks since it arrives to the facility. So it’s quite easy. I think one of the important things I want to mention about the certification process is that we have a process of certifying similar products for a very reduced cost which allow vendors that basically have the same HDBaseT design in several products to certify them without shipping the product to the certification center and for a very, very reduced cost. [Timestamp: 8:38]

Once you get set up at the show things happen pretty fast but do people come up and give you stories about their HDBaseT installations? What kinds of things do you hear from people who walk into the booth?

Gabi: Yes, all the time. We actually, through our web site – the Alliance web site and Valens – we are publishing actually interesting use cases. We have a lot of case studies. And actually also during the both itself we present on the big screens interesting case studies that we have collected throughout the year. So absolutely yes. [Timestamp: 9:09]

I think we touched a little on this at the beginning but I want to emphasize it. What’s the next big step for HDBaseT technology? I know people will want to hear about that at the show.

Gabi: Right. So I think you’ll see a glimpse of it at this coming show. The future is going to expand more on the networking capabilities and networking meaning being able to do more complex topologies and being able to interconnect the audio/video solution systems at a campus. So HDBaseT-IP is the first type of this. Along with it you have the native HDBaseT networking solutions, what we call HDBaseT Switch. We truly allow, at the end of the day, a very cost-effective and yet best performing video distribution solution where you have within the room a pure HDBaseT network that gets the best effective high-quality video and interconnects that HDBaseT island to another HDBaseT island over the infrastructure of the IP using the HDBaseT-IP. So it’s a bigger vision that we are building the steps to accomplish where we have both HDBaseT network and HDBaseT over IP – HDBaseT-IP network. Also we want to maintain our leadership in the actually uncompressed distribution system so we will be able to do HDMI 2.0, 4K 60 4:4:4 and using an uncompressed PHY. So this is a next-generation product coming from Valens. And now we will also open the door for using lite compression versions that we support HDMI 2.1 for a successful ramp in the near future in the next maybe year and a half. [Timestamp: 10:49]

Well, gentlemen I know you’re going to have a great time and there are a lot of new developments with HDBaseT. I don’t know how you keep up with it all, there is so much happening including the Installer Expert Program. I appreciate your taking the time to get with us and kind of give us a preview.

Gabi: Thank you very much. A pleasure.

Thank you for being here with us for the Road to InfoComm Podcast with Valens and the HDBaseT Alliance. There’s plenty to see and do this year at the show so make sure to get the latest look at HDBaseT-IP. Have fun and good luck at InfoComm 2017.

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