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New standards body striving for multimedia-focused cabling

By Max Burkhalter
May 24, 2012
A number of organizations from a variety of sectors have joined to form the HDBase-T standards body, a group devoted to creating an HDBase-T regulation for multimedia cabling, Cabling Installation & Maintenance reported.

The group's goal is to respond to the rising need for high-definition video and audio content in the consumer and commercial sectors, the news source said. As HD multimedia has gained prominence in these areas, traditional unshielded twisted pair cabling has struggled to keep up with the data throughput rates needed to deliver HD content to multiple concurrent users. This has led to significant dependence on data compression technologies, which create their own problems in terms of quality and performance. The HDBase-T Alliance is working to develop a standard that would accelerate standard UTP cabling performance to meet the needs of uncompressed HD multimedia being accessed by multiple users at the same time.

Micha Risling, vice president at Valens Semiconductor and marketing chair for the HDBase-T Alliance, told Cabling Installation & Maintenance that the commercial sector has already responded well to HDBase-T, as they are seeking a simplified cabling solution that will help them meet multimedia connectivity requirements.

HDBase-T is designed to work with twisted pair cabling and functions with the focus on the newly-trademarked term, "5Play," which refers to the standard's ability to deliver video, audio, control, power and internet connectivity over a single cable. Currently, the standard is being developed to work primarily with CAT 5e and CAT 6 cabling systems, the report said.

Industry expert Daniel Feldman told the news source that the standard's power carrying capability, which can deliver 100 Watts of energy, offers considerable potential for organizations.

"Today’s typical 40-inch LED TV requires 70W of power, and the latest Energy Star 5.3 specifications restrict all TVs to 108 W of power consumption, regardless of screen size," Feldman told Cabling Installation & Maintenance. "Energy Star 6.0 is targeting a cap of 85W for all screen sizes. LCD and LED TV monitors are rapidly approaching an average of approximately one W per inch of screen size."

The rise of HDBase-T could bode well for the media conversion market. Optical networks are becoming much more prominent for delivering multimedia from service providers, but internal networks can still struggle. HDBase-T could overcome this problem, making companies more interested in integrating their copper and optical infrastructure to deliver high-definition content throughout the office.

Perle has an extensive range of Managed and Unmanaged Fiber Media Converters to extended copper-based Ethernet equipment over a fiber optic link, multimode to multimode and multimode to single mode fiber up to 160km.


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