High-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) was first introduced in 2002 and is now the connection standard for digitally transferring video and audio from its source to a video display device. Several versions of HDMI have been developed since its inception; one of the newer iterations is HDMI over IP.
The purpose of this article is to give our readers an oversight of HDMI over IP technology.
What is HDMI over IP?
HDMI over IP (also called “HDMI over Ethernet” or “AV over IP”) is a transmission technology that uses an existing Ethernet infrastructure to receive HD video signals from their source and send them to an unlimited number of screens.
Per video communications manufacturing company, Versitron, it:
“[….] distributes received signals to multiple destinations without any degradation. An Ethernet HDMI cable can support a high speed of 100 Mbps required for the most demanding networking applications. HDMI over IP is best suited for long-distance data transmission. It uses fiber-optic cables and AV/KVM extension devices for transmitting audio or video over long distances at a high resolution.”
HDMI over IP can be used in many applications such as:
- Point-to-point extension
- One-to-many distribution
- Video wall processing (i.e., a multi-monitor display or video wall as a single canvas)
How is HDMI over Ethernet Different From HDBaseT?
Building a network with the fewest cables possible has become an important goal of most organizations. This is because a hodgepodge of cables in the office is unsightly, causes confusion, and often leads to accidents. Both HDMI over IP and HDBaseT technologies have gained popularity because they distribute HD signals from a single source to multiple screens using an existing Ethernet infrastructure.
Both systems administer video signals using devices such as switches, adapters, splitters, etc.; however, they do it differently.
What is HDBaseT?
Versitron defines HDBaseT as follows:
“HDBaseT is a global standard used for the data transmission of uncompressed ultra-high-definition multimedia contents. The keystone of the technology is 5play that enables up to 8Gbps of high definition digital video and audio as well as control signals to be transmitted over a single cable on 100BaseT Ethernet.” (1)
HDMI Over IP and HDBaseT: A comparison
1) Transmission Distance
HDBaseT has a transmission distance of 100 meters (approximately 328 feet), while HDMI over IP has no distance limitations. With HDMI over IP, long distances are reached using a combination of networking devices such as HDMI extenders, transmitters and receivers, switches, and matrices.
HDMI over IP has the most flexible setup of the two technologies. When setting up this system, the source devices can be placed in a centralized AV rack, local room, or both. Once the source devices are connected to the Layer 3 managed switch, they become part of the HDMI matrix.
While it is true that in some HDBaseT systems, switches support several remote sources on one or two inputs, this feature is rare. In addition, the systems that do offer this feature are more expensive because more chipsets are needed.
3) 4K Capabilities
Simply put, you will have a better 4K experience with HDMI over IP. This is because the system supports both 4K and 1080p television on the same network. To get the same functionality with HDBaseT, you will need to purchase extra hardware—and then, it only supports one of the functions at a time, which means you either upgrade to all 4K or reduce all TV resolutions to 1080p.
HDBaseT is the cheaper of the two for a couple of reasons:
- HDMI cables are more expensive than the RF45 Ethernet cables used in an HDBaseT system.
- HDMI over IP is a “closed” standard that requires a license fee, while HDBaseT is an “open” standard with no additional fees.
5) Future Proofing
New network devices are easily integrated into HDMI over IP, thereby, aiding future expansion. You can simply add new switches with more ports if new devices are needed in the future. The same is not possible with HDBaseT as the number of new devices is limited by the number of transmitter ports.
Four Reasons to Use HDMI over IP
It is used in various applications such as department stores, sports bars and restaurants, churches, control centers, classrooms, hospitals, etc. Here are four of the primary reasons to use this technology:
- Distance: With the use of AV devices such as HDMI extender transmitters and receivers, network switches (which can be “daisy-chained”), and fiber, long distances can be reached.
- Scalability: Adaptability is crucial for any AV system. The need for system changes and improvement is inevitable over time. With HDMI over IP, all you need to upgrade is an additional encoder and decoder.
- Economical: Ethernet is easily integrated into an existing network infrastructure and is much less expensive than building a new one. In addition, the high scalability of HDMI over IP means low costs for any future upgrades.
- Flexible Control: Ethernet is flexible and can be controlled via a keyboard and a mouse (or with PC software and a mobile APP, if desired). With HDMI over IP, there are no confusing vast amounts of inputs and outputs to deal with.
HDMI over IP with PoE Technology
Planet Technology USA strongly recommends using Power over Ethernet (PoE) switches with HDMI over IP, as there is no need to add an additional power source.
What is PoE?
Traditionally, when a device is connected to a network, it needs two wires: a power cord and a network cable. In contrast, PoE technology transmits both power and data over a single Ethernet cable.
What are the benefits of PoE?
There are many good reasons to use PoE technology in a business network.
- PoE is economical. Installation is simple, with no need for expensive electrician services. In addition, PoE uses a single cable to transmit both power and data, which cuts the cable expense in half.
- PoE is safe. Installation is straightforward—no multiple adapters and sockets to deal with that could be potential dangers. Moreover, PoE has built-in safety protocols that guard against damage to expensive networking devices.
- PoE is flexible. It is “plug-and-play” and adapts well to changing environments. Also, with PoE technology, you will not be tethered to an electrical outlet. Devices can be located in remote areas if desired.
- PoE is scalable. Legacy systems can be repurposed. And additions and changes are easily accomplished.
HDMI over IP and PoE technologies blend well and reduce system complexity and expense. HDMI over IP connects all the pieces needed to achieve high-quality AV through the use of HDMI transmitters and receivers. The complexity is further lessened by PoE’s use of a single cable, along with its ease of installation.