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What is HDMI over Ethernet and How does it work?

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HDMI over Ethernet, also called HDMI over IP, uses an existing ethernet infrastructure to distribute HD video signals from one source to an unlimited number of screens. It can be used in many setups like point-to-point extension, one-to-many distribution, and video wall processing where video can be scaled from different grid layouts. Video signals can be switched from any source to any screen, overcoming distance limitations of traditional CATx video extenders.

What Is HDMI Distribution

HDMI distribution is achieved by AV devices, such as extenders, switches or matrixes. These devices accept a single input signal and distribute the same signal to multiple isolated outputs and/or destinations without ground loops or signal degradation. They are used for a number of common engineering tasks, including multiple amplification, cable television, splitting monitor and front of house mixes, and “tapping” a signal prior to sending it through effects units to preserve a “dry” signal for later experimentation.

How To Run HDMI Over Long Distances

In many cases long-distance extension (<5 m) of video signals via standard display or coax cabling is not advisable. With VGA, composite, component, and other analog video cabling, frequency losses result in deteriorated video quality. Generally, with these cables, the shorter distance the better. Specific extender appliances supporting transmission of analog VGA, Component, S-Video, Composite, or BNC coax video over UTP copper or fiber cable solve this problem, enabling the use of backbone or horizontal wiring for long-distance extensions. These devices are a great alternative to using analog video or coax cables, which often can’t be easily pulled through tight conduits and can be more difficult to terminate.

It’s an additional benefit that in most buildings copper or fiber cabling is already installed to service data communications. Fiber-based extenders provide higher bandwidth and interference-free extensions at distances much farther than copper-type CATx extenders, but can be more expensive. Another aspect to consider is that coax or VGA cabled extension installations usually require a separate RS-232 or USB connection for transmitting a control signal to the display — yet another cable to fit into the conduit. CATx cable, however, can deliver both video and control signals through a single cable. Supporting analog VGA video signal inputs, the Sinowell Extender transmits 1920×1200 VGA video signals over CATx.

How To Send Video Over Ethernet

IP extension is a way to extend your video signals over long distances. Using AV/KVM extension technology to transmit lossless compressed video over optical fiber cables enables video extension of resolutions up to 4K@60Hz across very long distances today. This method provides enough bandwidth for high-resolution DisplayPort 1.2 video signals, keyboard/mouse, USB 2.0, RS232 and audio.

High-end AV over IP systems installed in stadiums, for example, can utilize compression algorithms such as H.264 to send packetized data over increasingly long distances. Such compression shrinks the signal delay down to an unnoticeable two or three frames per second. This gives the spectators an enhanced experience by viewing live or edited video content.

IP-based extension allows extension of various video signals using standard (managed) ethernet switches to support extra-long distances beyond the supported CATx cabling distances of 100 meters.


How and When To Use Ethernet Over HDMI

Multiroom HDMI 

Multicasting HDMI allows to distribute video and audio to any screen on a signage network. A single transmitter can deliver multimedia to hundreds of displays with no need to run dedicated video links from a back room to displays in lobbies. By combining matrix and video extension solutions, USB extenders, and video and peripheral extension and switching (such as in KVM setups) gives users an almost endless number of configurations for their applications, including touch-interactive signage displays and information and way-finding displays in retail, healthcare, education, public offices and more.

HDMI Matrix Splitter

Video Wall Processing

An IP-based controller application can be used to turn any video distribution setup into an AV matrix switching or even video wall control setup that enables users to place any content from any source to any display. When multiple AV receivers are combined into a video wall, users can create presets, specific content zones and control content remotely. The system’s mobile support enables users to easily access and activate presets from a cell phone or tablet device.

Video Matrix Switching

A video matrix switch, also called a cross-point switch, is a type of switch that connects multiple inputs to multiple outputs and can be configured to combine supported types and numbers of inputs (e.g. HDMI content player) and outputs (screens). Each input on the switch can be routed to any output source or receiver, or the same input can be routed to all outputs, or any combination in between. For example, an 8 x 8 matrix switch can route 8 inputs to 8 outputs, 1 input to 8 outputs, or any combination up to 8. This eliminates the need to manually move cables to display video from different sources on different screens. It is most commonly used now with HDMI video.

In a video matrix switching setup you can switch multiple digital or analog sources to multiple digital displays in any combination. Like this, HDMI signals can be amplified and easily routed from several video sources (e.g. PCs, DVD players, tablets) to various display devices (e.g. LCDs, projectors, etc.) and speakers.

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