Global Sources
EE Times-India
Stay in touch with EE Times India
EE Times-India > Interface

HDMI challengers to create new class of home nets

Posted: 09 Jun 2009     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:HDMI 1.4  high definiton  home networks  MoCA 

At least three companies are fielding new wired alternatives to the high definition multimedia interface (HDMI). The competitors aim to leapfrog the HDMI 1.4 specification by providing more bandwidth, reach or networking capabilities.

The goal for all the players is to create a new class of high definition home networks. They will let users play any content on a digital TV and use the TV and a remote to control any connected device. The efforts come at a time of increasing fragmentation in home networks.

The HDMI wannabes require new cables or connectors, some of them proprietary. They also require getting chips designed into next-generations TVs, Blu-Ray drives, PCs and other devices or using external connection boxes.

The newcomers compete with a relative giant. HDMI will appear in nearly 40 crore systems this year, including nearly every new digital TV, and more than a dozen companies make chips supporting HDMI.

HDMI Licensing LLC is about to make its version 1.4 specification available to adopters. It includes support for 100Mbpsecond Ethernet, an audio return channel and support for higher resolution displays. Chips based on the new spec are expected to be released soon by companies including Silicon Image, parent of the HDMI licencing firm.

The 1.4 spec also builds in some basic capabilities to handle future stereo 3-D content, seen by some as the next big thing after HDTV. The new spec details how to pack and unpack stereo video content over the HDMI lines without taking a position on what should be the 3DTV broadcast or rendering formats, issues still being hotly debated.

A handful of former Silicon Image executives created Synerchip Inc. and launched a spec called Diiva in late April to compete with HDMI 1.4. The start-up leveraged connections with China's TV makers to gain backing from them and the China's government, all eager to create their own standard and eliminate HDMI royalties. Backers include Changhong, Haier, Konka, Panda, and TCL in China as well as other top TV makers in Asia such as LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sharp.

The Diiva spec is a serdes-based design that dedicates 13.5Gbps bandwidth to video and has another 2Gbps available for Ethernet, USB and audio functions. It supports the two leading content protection techniques, HDCP and DTCP-IP.

One downside to the approach is Synerchip requires a Category 6 cable to reach 25 meters and unique connectors to maintain signal integrity.

More HDMI players
Another competitor, Israeli start-up Valens Semiconductor, is taking a slightly different tack. Its so-called HDBase-T uses a powerful DSP to handle distances of up to 100 meters over Category 5e cables with standard Ethernet connectors. Unlike some players, its technique can also carry up to 50W of power to drive a Blu-Ray player or monitor.

A third competitor, Icron has existing hardware technology to drive USB well beyond its five metre limit. It is adding to that hardware a new chip in design to handle uncompressed video as well.

It can drive 100 meters over Cat5 or other media including powerline and 802.11n. However it is a point-to-point link and does not support Ethernet.

Icron plans to develop an external connection box it will license to brand name companies to sell at estimated prices of $399 or less per pair. Monster Cable is believed to be an early adopter. The end goal is to bring PC content—including Internet video—to a TV with full PC control via a TV remote.

1 • 2 Next Page Last Page

Comment on "HDMI challengers to create new class..."
*  You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.


Go to top             Connect on Facebook      Follow us on Twitter      Follow us on Orkut

Back to Top