Monday, July 6, 2009

Follow-up with Valens Semiconductor

Micha Risling, vice president of marketing at Valens Semiconductor, was kind enough to respond to some follow-up questions from the panel Extending the Reach of Wired Networks and Interfaces.

Parks Associates: During the panel, I had expressed skepticism about seeing a really large market opportunity for whole-house HDMI solutions, and I asked Micha about this.

Risling: He notes that this skepticism isn't totally unwarranted, but he also indicates that we should expect to see consumer electronics vendors adopt solutions such as HDBaseT™ due to a number of factors:
  • The desire by consumers to distribute very high-quality video from one consumer electronics platform to another;
  • The rise of the connected TV, where Internet capabilities are more prevalent. Risling indicates that HDBaseT will allow televisions to take advantage of Web services as "thinner" clients. In other words, the televisions may not have to account for all of the internal requirements for Web capability (browsers, etc.), but could take advantage of such capabilities provided by one advanced CE platform or perhaps the home computer. HDBaseT would provide the IP backbone to send the Web services to the TVs.
  • A desire by television manufacturers to provide for more advanced interfaces.
  • A "clean" solution that enables televisions and other consumer electronics to receive Web and other content in the whole-home environment without necessarily being co-located to control devices.

Parks Associates: This looks to be a highly competitive field, as a number of vendors (including other participants on the CONNECTIONS panel) are targeting similar applications. I asked Risling to describe the key differentiators for HDBaseT. Here is his response:

Risling: The main difference is easy to say or should I say measure. We can send the same video quality as HDMI (uncompressed 1080P, 60Hz, 48bits) over much-longer cables. We can do it over a 100m standard Cat5e cable and a standard RJ45 connector where other solutions are limited to few meters using a special cable and a special connector. But it is not just the cable; we are the only technology that enables a friendly installation. We support standard passive connectors and field terminated connectors that enables you to easily install it. This is something that you can’t achieve with the other solutions, and the reason is that both need high quality shielded cables with pre-soldered connectors. The cost of deploying these high-quality cables is by far more expensive then using either an existing CAT5e installation or installing a new cable which is the cheapest cable in the market. And that can be the main essence when comparing the other solutions.

HDBaseT was developed from the first place in such way that it fits the specification of an existing cable/connector and thus it is the most reliable solution with the lowest cost. Other solutions are based on a similar implementation that requires very expensive cable and connector and are limited in terms of distance.

Due to its unique implementation, HDBaseT is better prepared for supporting the future needs of the industry including supporting 2K/4K resolution and 3D. In fact, we can assure that our next generation will be able to support 20Gbps. Although other solutions indicate that they support video and Internet signaling, HDBaseT supports "5Play," which adds control signaling and support for power to source CE devices on top of the distributed video, audio, and Internet the ability of sending controls and more importantly a unique capability of sending enough power to source CE devices .

Parks Associates: What do you see as some of the key advantages to HDBaseT over other solutions?

Risling: Performance, distance, friendly installation, the 5Play convergence at the lowest system cost, standard cable/connector, reliability, future upgradability and power of cable.

Parks Associates: Can you explain more about what special requirements HDBase-T needs in order to extend the protection afforded by HDCP over the whole-home?

Risling: Unfortunately I’m not able to disclose it at the moment. It will be announced once the specification is released.

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