Today’s digital age has resulted in a greater need for homeowners, bars, airports, and sports arenas to distribute audio and video over long distances. Previously, coax cable was used to transmit these analog signals but, as resolution has increased, so has bandwidth. This created a need for infrastructures that can distribute higher bandwidth digital signals over a long distance.
The use of Category cable and the introduction of HDBaseT came to the rescue. Using CAT cable, we can extend HDMI signals over 10x the distance of HDMI’s 10-meter specification. However, HDBaseT doesn’t use a traditional digital signal to transmit audio and video. While connection speeds for networks are measured in Mbps (Digital measurement of bits), HDBaseT signals are measured in MHz (Analog measurement of waveforms).
So, what does this mean?
Traditional ways of testing CAT cable using category testers does not determine whether or not the CAT cable can handle an HDBaseT signal. Most testing equipment made for category cables will check that the pinouts match on both ends of the cable, and sometimes the distance; more expensive units can even test for network speeds. Unfortunately, even if they can test data rates, it’s done in Mbps, and HDBaseT is measured in MHz. This renders the device inadequate for audio/video signals. While both can fall victim to EMI and attenuation from length, HDBaseT signals are more susceptible to both.
So, how do I test HDBaseT signals?
While there are a few solutions that test CAT cable for HDBaseT signals, they are expensive and few and far between. Don’t worry, hope is not lost. Tests can be run using a few simple tools you may already have:
Together these tools are only a proving ground for category and better results can be achieved by following both the HDBaseT Gold Standard and the HDBaseT Do’s and Don’ts. Checking category runs prevents frustration during installation and helps prevent additional truck rolls costing you money.
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