By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Advanced HDMI products designed to distribute high-definition video to multiple displays or multiple rooms abounded at International CES.
PulseLink showed what it called the first ultrawideband (UWB) wireless HDMI and HDMI-over-coax solutions for whole-home high-definition video distribution. The company's CWave UWB wireless HDMI allows clean installation of wall-mounted flat-panel displays anywhere in the room. The HDMI extender enables longer-range, real-time, secure wireless connectivity between the HDTV display and multiple source devices such as high-definition video players and game consoles.
Both systems deliver visually lossless HD video with low latency, according to the company. Shipping and pricing were not set at press time.
Gefen announced that its new VGA-to-HDMI extender, which enables pre-installed VGA cables to carry HDMI signals, uses Gennum's ActiveConnect technology.
ActiveConnect is a multimedia connectivity solution, a semiconductor-based chip set for high-rate HDMI applications. A transmitter and a receiver enable users to stream HDMI content via a single cable. It also supports the full suite of HDMI 1.3 features and functions including High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) and is also fully compatible with single and dual-link DVI interfaces, according to a Gennum spokesman at the show.
The Gefen product can be pre-ordered at www.gefen.com for a suggested retail of $699.
Also introduced by Gefen was a series of matrix switchers that enable plug-and-play connections among multiple HDMI sources and displays.
The 8x8 Matrix for HDMI v1.3 is a rack-mountable solution that links up to eight HDMI sources to eight HDMI displays or projectors. Each display can access any source using the 16-key IR remote control that comes with the unit or the RS-232 connection for smart devices.
Gefen's 4x4 HDMI CAT-5 Matrix switcher connects four HDMI sources to four HDMI displays, each of which can be extended up to 330 feet over CAT-5 cable using receiver units that allow remote source selection by sending IR commands back to the matrix.
The 4x4 Matrix for HDMI v1.3 plug-and-play matrix comes equipped with four HDMI inputs and four HDMI outputs that support next-generation HDMI v1.3 signals, uncompressed HD video up to 1080p and multichannel digital audio.
And Gefen's 4x4 component audio matrix can connect four component video sources to four component displays and also supports RCA left/right audio inputs and outputs Users assign each source to a display using the IR remote, front-panel buttons or the RS-232 connection.
Prices for the Matrix products range for $1,999 to $3,999.
For its part, Accell demonstrated the latest addition to its signal distribution product line, the UltraAV 4-8 HDMI switch. Equipped with four HDMI inputs and eight HDMI outputs, the UltraAV 4-8 HDMI switch is designed for commercial and multidisplay environments such as retail stores, restaurants, bars and high-end home theater installations.
The switch can route HD video up to 1080p and multichannel audio signals from any four sources and mirror the HD content, without degradation, to eight displays simultaneously. A built-in signal booster supports HDMI cable runs up to 82 feet.
The UltraAV 4-8 HDMI switch features smart auto-switching technology that automatically finds the active video source and switches to it. The switch also includes an Infrared Extender, typically an optional add-on with other switches that enables the remote control to interact with the switch even without line-of-sight, the company said.
It has a suggested retail of $299.
Recognizing the high number of homes pre-wired with category cabling, Honeywell introduced a an HDMI-to-CAT-5 converter that lets A/V installers transmit HDMI audio and video source material over long distances using CAT-5e or CAT-6 cables.
The system consists of a power supply, transmitter unit and a receiver unit each built into single-gang Decora-style wall plates. At the source end, the high-speed transmitter transcodes HDMI signals over two CAT-5 or CAT-6 cables. A 1080p signal will travel up to 125 feet on a pair of CAT-5e cables or a maximum of 200 feet on a pair of CAT-6 cables. At the display end, the externally powered receiver unit transcodes signals back to HDMI. Built-in proprietary CURxE Light Technology automatically corrects the signal for any corrupted data resulting from capacitive loading problems, the company said. Pricing will be announced upon availability, sometime in the first quarter.
Among Sima's offerings were two new transmitters: the X-CAT 50 and X-CAT 250. These units convert HDMI to CAT-5 and CAT-6, allowing the use of an existing CAT pathway for distribution. The X-CAT 50 is said to be good for cable runs up to 164 feet, while the X-CAT 250 exceeds 800 feet, according to the company.
Sima also showed the X-EQ1, an HDMI equalizer that is said to eliminates noise and provide dB boost to compensate for signal loss over long cable runs.
Street price for the X-CAT 50 is around $300. The X-CAT 250 is around $750.
Finally, Monster debuted a top-end addition to its line of speed-rated HDMI cables: Ultimate High Speed. This rating will be available initially on one cable, the M1000HD.
Boasting a cable bandwidth greater than 14.9 Gbps, the M1000HD cable is intended to make installed systems and wired homes "future ready for tomorrow's faster data rates and even higher definition components," according to Monster. The company will upgrade the cable free if any components purchased in the future surpass the performance of the M1000HD.
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