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HDbaseT compatibility

James Su

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HDMI signal extension is always an issue while we build LED walls using Watchout. Instead of extending HDMI signal through paired network devices and handling the hassles of video capturing, isn’t it a better idea if WO can handle network pockets containing video information, such as the HDbaseT. Less time delay can also be expected.


Is it an option for Watchout to adapt HDbaseT ?

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(Minor Disclosure: I work for a display systems manufacturer) 


While I can’t speak for Dataton and their plans for WATCHOUT, I would think this would require strong participation from a GPU vendor in order to design an HDBASET output card to implement natively in a Watchout computer or Watchpax. So far, the major GPU vendors seem to be focusing on DisplayPort and HDMI technologies. Perhaps this will change if HDBASET gains wider acceptance.


Right now, several display and projector manufacturers are implementing native HDBASET inputs…I happen to work for one of them :-)   And it works very reliably.  For example, check out the Barco RLM-W14 3-chip and Barco F50 single-chip projectors which both natively accept HDBASET without any receiver boxes. To the projectors, the HDBASET is just a regular input.


Otherwise, in general, I think Watchout would work fine with most of the HDBASET transceiver kits today. The usual PC/GPU issues  (ie not WATCHOUT) with HDCP and EDID management still apply, but when properly implemented, HDBASET transceivers kits should be fairly transparent in the signal path. 


HDBASET has been primarily a ‘transport’ and 'endpoint' infrastructure technology thus far, so most use-cases have been with HDBASET matrix switches and large deployments where the cost of thousands of meters of HDMI/DVI or fiber gets costly as you start running it through a building. 


I personally have completed several Watchout projects using HDBASET. 

For example, at InfoComm 2015 in Orlando, I used Crestron HD-TX3-C HDBASET transmitters with my own WO6 rig to bring WQXGA 2560x1600/60Hz, at 10-bit up to a simple blend of 3x Barco F50 projectors which have a native HDBASET inputs. 


HDBASET It isn’t quite right for every project, and like many technologies, the devil is in the details… Over one line, HDBASET can carry uncompressed HDMI/DVI, HDCP encryption, EDID, CEC channels, even serial and IR along with 10/100 Ethernet…Reliable video, EDID and HDCP are one thing, but getting all those other features to work together, is today, very much vendor dependent, but surely improving all the time.




I can say from working several projects that HDBASET has gotten very good, but reliability depends heavily on quality cable and most of all, good RJ-45 terminations. For live events, I would always suggest using shielded CAT6 cables even though most manufacturers say they require only UTP CAT5e...People tend not to consider their RJ-45 cable seriously, but with HDBASET keep in mind you are shoveling up to 8GB/s of uncompressed HD or higher video over a set of wires that was basically designed to make phone calls 100 years ago. So cable and terminations do matter.


As we enter the era of UHD and 4K and more, note that some of the current HDBASET transceiver solutions begin to subsample at UHD and 4K progressive at 24/30/60 frame rates to 4:2:0 colour and/or limit 8-bit colour which may affect blend zones, so read the specs carefully if you are getting into UHD/4K. Again, these minor limitations will improve with time.


I'm interested if others have used HDBASET kit in their WATCHOUT deployments and what kind of success or challenges have been seen.

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I'm curious about what, if any, delay you're seeing using HDbaseT systems. We were just testing some low-cost Chinese boxes at work the other day and, in my unscientific tests of waving my arms around and clapping, I could see at least a half-second delay - certainly enough that it probably wouldn't be acceptable in a live show. Do other brands perform better?

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