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Gefen Sends HD Over CAT-5 Wire

Gefen joined a very short list of suppliers that have introduced transmitter-receiver packages to distribute HDTV signals over CAT-5 cables.

At least one other supplier, AudioControl, currently offers a similar solution, available for six months.

With the solutions, installers can mount an HD satellite receiver or other HD set-top box in a utility room to distribute HD signals to an HDTV screen in a home theater room. Additional set-tops would be needed to transmit separate streams to additional screens.

Gefen’s solution, the $499 HDTV Extender due in June, consists of a separate sender and receiver unit, each powered by 5-volt external supply, to send HD signals up to 150 feet. The Extender is available in two versions: one with DVI (digital visual interface) connector, the other with HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface). DVI carries only digital video data from source to display, while HDMI carries digital video and the multi-channel digital-audio soundtrack. The devices are compliant with the HDCP copy-protection technology.

The devices give installers a more economical solution to distributing HD than copper or fiber-optic cables, and it’s ideal for use in retrofit applications in homes prewired with CAT-5, Gefen said.

AudioControl’s solution is slightly different. It transmits HDTV signals and in component-video analog form over CAT-5 cable along with the digital audio soundtrack over longer distances.