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Why HDBaseT Is Replacing HDMI in Digital Signage Solutions

Author: IV DIckson, Director, Digital Signage /Tuesday, July 17, 2018/Categories: Professional Services for your Network

If there was an excitement meter for the various components of a digital signage system, cabling would barely register. People like to talk about high-definition (HD) video, interactive capabilities and extra-large displays while cables literally hide in the background. However, as HD becomes ubiquitous, cabling for digital signage becomes more complex. Many organizations are struggling to send HD video over long distances in a way that’s reliable and cost-efficient. It’s not as simple as buying an HDMI cable for the 55-inch flat-screen TV in your living room.

Speaking of HDMI, it’s better than many A/V cables for transporting HD content but has limited range and is prone to switching delays. HDMI isn’t compatible with Ethernet category cables, and you need a separate cable to power your display. However, HDBaseT, a standard introduced in 2010 by the HDBaseT Alliance founded by four major industry manufacturers, offers a number of advantages over HDMI.

HDBaseT can simultaneously support the delivery of uncompressed HD video, up to eight channels of audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, control signals, and power up to 100W over distances of up to 328 feet (100 meters) with a single hop.This feature set, called 5Play, addresses nearly all connectivity requirements – video, audio, Internet, power and controls – of commercial, high-performance A/V systems, including digital signage solutions. Although Cat5e cables are used, Cat6 and Cat6a cables are ideal when deploying HDBaseT, especially for advanced HD formats such as 4K.

Because standard RJ45 connectors are used instead of proprietary connectors, and you may not have to plug devices into wall outlets for power, you have greater flexibility in display placement. With HDBaseT, cabling distance limitations are dramatically reduced if not eliminated. Different control signals, such as RS232/USB and IR, can be used for different purposes and allow systems to be remotely controlled and monitored. 

HDBaseT also reduces bandwidth consumption with an asymmetric method that sends all content, Ethernet and controls from source to sink, but only transfers Ethernet and controls back to the source. Additionally, the cost of digital signage cabling is reduced as a result of simpler installation, cable consolidation, lower cable weight, and infrastructure that’s less expensive and easier to maintain.When using HDBaseT, installers can roll out systems on time and on budget. 

From the customer’s perspective, HDBaseT meets demand for high-quality HD content and an exceptional user experience. Video compression is unnecessary, so you don’t have to sacrifice image quality to ensure high delivery speeds. From a business perspective, HDBaseT meets demand for cost-efficiency, simplicity, control and flexibility in digital signage deployment and management.

This is particularly valuable in outdoor digital signage implementations. As we noted in a previous post, outdoor digital signage comes with inherent challenges that make installation and maintenance especially difficult. By simplifying network connectivity, reducing cabling costs and enabling greater distances, HDBaseT helps to overcome some of the barriers to outdoor digital signage success.

SageNet has been developing and managing digital signage solutions for decades, addressing both the marketing and IT demands of organizations across multiple sites. We begin the process with a needs analysis and site surveys to understand your current business and IT environment and long-term goals. Based on this information, our network engineers can design and install a reliable, efficient and flexible digital signage solution that meets your business requirements. 

Contact us to schedule a no-obligation digital signage analysis and learn how HDBaseT can enhance the quality and efficiency of your solution.

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