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The Days Of HDMI May Be Coming To An End

Good bye HDMI, and hello HDBaseT.

It seems that not everyone is in love with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) as the default connection for true high definition of signal carrying.  Teaming up with Valens Semiconductor, Samsung Electronics, Sony Pictures Entertainment and LG Electronics have formed the HDBaseT Alliance which is a group dedicated to setting the standards for the new HDBaseT technology.  According to THINQ, the Alliance has finalized version 1.0 of the HDBaseT standard, and plans on including it in electronics as soon as the end of this year, and a full roll out is expected in 2011.

hdmi cableFrom all of the information we’ve been reading up on this technology, the new cabling system does indeed use standard Cat5 Ethernet cables, so gone will be the days of the insanely over priced HDMI cables if this truly catches on. And, honestly, from looking at everything it does, why shouldn’t it catch on? The current back of my television is a cabling nightmare, and if I am able to combine multiple items into one single source, I’m all for it.  And with three major electronics companies being involved in its development, it’s hard to believe that we won’t see this showing up in ever device you can think of.

The biggest sticking point, as I see it, is that we have several years of converting to HDMI, so having to swap out cables now is going to be a pain.  Due to the installed base of TVs with HDMI slots, and even though there are converting dongles out there, products are going to have to continue to ship with both HDMI and HDBaseT outputs on them for some time to come.  With people seeing the HDMI slot, and already having the cables, that is going to be the first impulse to use, and not the new fangled connection.

Personally, considering everything they are saying this new technology will do, I can’t wait to get my hands on it and give it a try.  From the demonstration video above, it also looks like it will allow me to cut down on the number of remote controls in my life as well as the cables.  How is this not a winning solution that more people would want in their lives?

The true test will come in whether or not the picture quality is the same as HDMI.  Are the colors as rich?  Is the signal as clean of artifacts?  Only real world testing (i.e. how it looks in our homes) will really tell the tale, but things certainly look promising at this time for there to be a new cable sheriff riding into town.

What say you?  Are you ready to yank some Ethernet cables out of the drawer and hook them up to your other electronics?


Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...

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