HDBaseT is a connectivity standard for whole-home and commercial distribution of uncompressed ultra-high-definition multimedia content. The cornerstone of HDBaseT technology is 5Play, a feature set that converges uncompressed ultra-HD digital video and audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, USB 2.0, up to 100W of power over cable, and various control signals through a single LAN cable for up to 100 meters/328 feet. The latest specification of HDBaseT also enables the transmission of audio & video, Ethernet, USB and controls over fiber optic, for even longer distances.
HDBaseT delivers ultra-HD/3D and 2K/4K uncompressed video to a network of devices or to a single device (both point-to-point and multipoint-to-multipoint). Since the video is passed through the HDMI chipset, HDBaseT is compatible with all HDMI formats, and supports all key features, including EPG, CEC, EDID, and HDCP. The unique video-coding scheme ensures the highest video quality at zero latency.
In addition, HDBaseT audio is also passed through directly from the HDMI chipset. HDBaseT audio supports all standard formats, including Dolby Digital, DTS, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS HD-Master Audio.
HDBaseT supports 100Mb Ethernet, enabling communication between televisions, sound systems, computers, and other CE devices as well as access to any stored multimedia content (such as music or video streaming). HDBaseT also supports Ethernet Fallback Mode, which enables seamless integration between an HDBaseT device and an Ethernet-only infrastructure. In such a case, only the Ethernet capabilities of the connection are enabled.
HDBaseT enables multiple control signals for multiple purposes: Consumer Electronic Controls (CEC), Recommended Standard (RS)-232, and infrared (IR). IP control is also enabled due to the support of an Ethernet channel. HDBaseT’s wide range of control options provides manufacturers with virtually endless opportunities.
HDBaseT supports native USB 2.0, and can be configurable either as USB Host or Device. USB expands the functionality supported by HDBaseT to include KVM switches (keyboard-video-mouse), touch-screen functionality, industrial PCs and USB extensions.
Up to 100W of DC power can also be delivered over the same CAT6a cable. This major aspect of 5Play provides the freedom to place equipment where you want it and not where an available power source happens to be installed.
HDBaseT uses an asymmetric method, sending video, audio, Ethernet and controls from source to sink, but only 100Mb are transferred back (Ethernet and controls). Unlike conventional data communication which is a symmetrical application by nature, with required a bit error rate (BER) of at least 10 to the minus 12, the asymmetric nature of HDBaseT is based on an innovative DSP engine and an AFE (Application Front End) architecture.
A special line coding scheme was developed to provide a better transfer quality to some kinds of data (audio, controls, Ethernet) without the need to pay the protecting overhead for the video content which consumes most of the bandwidth.
HDBaseT uses a proprietary version of Pulse Amplitude Modulation (PAM) technology, where digital data is represented as a coding scheme using different levels of DC voltage at high rates. This enables the 5Play feature-set to be maintained over a single 100 m CAT cable, without the electrical characteristics of the wire affecting performance. Although HDBaseT uses the same coding technology as Ethernet and even has an Ethernet channel, its packet-based technology is different from the traditional Ethernet packets. HDBaseT simply relies on the same physical cabling which provides the inherent benefits of the cost-effective CAT infrastructure.
HDBaseT 2.0 is the latest specification released by HDBaseT Alliance in August 2013. The new specification introduces HDBaseT HomePlay feature set that, based on the HDBaseT 5Play capabilities, will make it simpler and more cost-effective for consumers to turn their entire homes into multimedia entertainment centers. HomePlay features an elegant, affordable plug-and-play solution that will allow the average consumer to enjoy the same multimedia benefits of HDBaseT that the professionals have become accustomed to.
HDBaseT HomePlay defines the adaptations across all seven layers of the Generic communication OSI 7 model to allow the support of time-sensitive, high throughput video/audio and other time sensitive applications.
While HDBaseT 1.0 addresses the Physical and Data Link layers only, HDBaseT 2.0 adds networking, switching and control point capabilities. HDBaseT 1.0 defined a point-to-point connectivity standard, HDBaseT 2.0 defines point-to-multi point connectivity, thereby providing multi-stream support.
Spec 2.0 also adds inherent support for USB 2.0, and other native interfaces which enable manufacturers to remove multiple interfaces and conversion components required for HDBaseT 1.0 products. The result is a smaller and a simpler-to- implement switch.
HDBaseT 1.0 was defined to support the transmission of "video, audio, Ethernet, power and controls, what we refer to as the “5Play” feature set. Spec 2.0 establishes a specification that will allow HDBaseT HomePlay switches to control and distribute multimedia throughout consumers homes.
HDBaseT 2.0 represents the culmination of more than two years of development work by both Pro-AV and CE manufacturers, and it offers significant benefits to the pro-AV companies such as native USB2.0 and additional features to improve performance margin including for 4K video and optimize the existing infrastructure and bandwidth.