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What Is HDMI over Ethernet and How Does it Work

What Is HDMI over Ethernet and How Does it Work?

Black Box Explains

HDMI over Ethernet, also called HDMI over IP, uses an existing ethernet infrastructure to distribute HD video signals from one source to an unlimited number of screens. It can be used in many setups like point-to-point extension, one-to-many distribution, and video wall processing where video can be scaled from different .grid layouts. Video signals can be switched from any source to any screen, overcoming distance limitations of traditional CATx video extenders.

What Is HDMI Distribution

HDMI distribution is achieved by AV devices, such as extenders, switches or matrices, that accept a single input signal and distribute the same signal to multiple isolated outputs and/or destinations without ground loops or signal degradation. They are used for a number of common engineering tasks, including multiple amplification, cable television, splitting monitor and front of house mixes, and "tapping" a signal prior to sending it through effects units to preserve a "dry" signal for later experimentation.

HDMI content distribution diagram

Diagram: HDMI content distribution with Black Box MediaCento

How To Run HDMI Over Long Distances

In many cases long-distance extension (<5 m) of video signals via standard display or coax cabling is not advisable. With VGA, composite, component, and other analog video cabling, frequency losses result in deteriorated video quality. Generally, with these cables, the shorter distance the better. Specific extender appliances supporting transmission of analog VGA, Component, S-Video, Composite, or BNC coax video over UTP copper or fiber cable solve this problem, enabling the use of backbone or horizontal wiring for long-distance extensions. These devices are a great alternative to using analog video or coax cables, which often can’t be easily pulled through tight conduits and can be more difficult to terminate.

It's an additional benefit that in most buildings copper or fiber cabling is already installed to service data communications. Fiber-based extenders provide higher bandwidth and interference-free extensions at distances much farther than copper-type CATx extenders, but can be more expensive. Another aspect to consider is that coax or VGA cabled extension installations usually require a separate RS-232 or USB connection for transmitting a control signal to the display — yet another cable to fit into the conduit. CATx cable, however, can deliver both video and control signals through a single cable. Supporting analog VGA video signal inputs, the MediaCento VX transmits 1920x1200 VGA video signals over CATx.

How To Send Video Over Ethernet

IP extension is a way to extend your video signals over long distances. Using AV/KVM extension technology to transmit lossless compressed video over optical fiber cables enables video extension of resolutions up to 4K@60Hz across very long distances today. This method provides enough bandwidth for high-resolution DisplayPort 1.2 video signals, keyboard/mouse, USB 2.0, RS232 and audio.

High-end AV over IP systems installed in stadiums, for example, can utilize compression algorithms such as H.264 to send packetized data over increasingly long distances. Such compression shrinks the signal delay down to an unnoticeable two or three frames per second. This gives the spectators an enhanced experience by viewing live or edited video content.

IP-based extension allows extension of various video signals using standard (managed) ethernet switches to support extra-long distances beyond the supported CATx cabling distances of 100 meters.

How and When To Use Ethernet Over HDMI

Multiroom HDMI / Digital Signage

Multicasting HDMI allows to distribute video and audio to any screen on a signage network. A single transmitter can deliver multimedia to hundreds of displays with no need to run dedicated video links from a back room to displays in lobbies. By combining matrix and video extension solutions, USB extenders, and video and peripheral extension and switching (such as in KVM setups) gives users an almost endless number of configurations for their applications, including touch-interactive signage displays and information and wayfinding displays in retail, healthcare, education, public offces and more.

Video Wall Processing

An IP-based controller applicance can be used to turn any video distibution setup into an AV matrix switching or even video wall control setup that enables users to place any content from any source to any display. When multiple AV receivers are combined into a video wall, users can create presets, specific content zones and control content remotely. The system’s mobile support enables users to easily access and activate presets from a cell phone or tablet device.

Video Matrix Switching

A video matrix switch, also called a crosspoint switch, is a type of switch that connects multiple inputs to multiple outputs and can be configured to combine supported types and numbers of inputs (e.g. HDMI content player) and outputs (screens). Each input on the switch can be routed to any output source or receiver, or the same input can be routed to all outputs, or any combination in between. For example, an 8 x 8 matrix switch can route 8 inputs to 8 outputs, 1 input to 8 outputs, or any combination up to 8. This eliminates the need to manually move cables to display video from different sources on different screens. It is most commonly used now with HDMI video.

In a video matrix switching setup you can switch multiple digital or analog sources to multiple digital displays in any combination. Like this, HDMI signals can be amplified and easily routed from several video sources (e.g. PCs, DVD players, tablets) to various display devices (e.g. LCDs, projectors, etc.) and speakers.

HDMI over Ethernet Products

HDMI Splitters

HDMI splitters divide HDMI signals to be displayed on multiple screens and can also be used to distribute audio separate from video channels. This allows accurate, reliable digital video reproduction without distortion and attenuation. Splitted audio channels can be required in any environment where speakers or PAs are installed independently from any visual output, for example in a shopping malls or on a school campus.

Black Box HDMI Splitters with audio split an HDMI source between multiple outputs simultaneously without signal loss.

HDMI Converters & Scalers

HDMI converters allow to convert digital HDMI to analog VGA, SDI, or component video (or vice versa) with either digital audio or analog stereo audio. The devices provide a cost effective solution to connect legacy, non digital displays to newer digital HDMI or DVI sources.

Discover how Black Box's HDMI Converters and Scalers offer instant conversions from digital HDMI to analog Component/Composite video with either analogue stereo audio or SPDIF digital audio. With these converters, analogue video receivers such as TVs or external TV receivers can be readily connected to HDMI sources such as DVD players or video game consoles.

HDMI Adapters

With HDMI adapters you can easily connect HDMI input devices with DisplayPort, DVI, VGA displays or vice versa. Black Box adpaters feature premium support for high-bandwidth video formats.

HDMI KVM Extenders

AV and KVM extenders play an important role in overcoming bandwidth and distance limitations of VGA, HDMI and DVI, as well as PS/2 and USB cables. Classic (direct connect) KVM extenders transmit video signals via fibre or CATx over long distances (CATx up to 100m, fibre up to 10 kilometres).

Black Box HDMI KVM extenders extend video signals up to 4K60, USB 2.0, audio and serial RS232.

HDMI Ethernet Extenders

IP extension is a way to extend your application over long distances. The technology is flexible, future-proof, and gives you the option of using either CATx or fiber optic cabling, depending how far you want to go and which signals have to be transmitted. IP-based extenders usually send data over a 100m (330 ft.) segments, but you can extend farther by using Ethernet switches as repeaters. If fiber cables are used signals can be extended up to 16 km (10 miles).

Black Box offers HDMI over-IP extenders that enable you to transmit HDMI video and audio over an Ethernet network to a virtually unlimited number of screens as far as your network reaches. Like this you can extend audio/video from one source to a single screen (unicast) or distribute (multicast) the same content to multiple screens.

HDMI Over Ethernet Switches

HDMI Ethernet switches and matrix switching solutions, also called HDMI over IP switches, allow switching HDMI video signals between multiple sources (e.g. content players) and displays over IP. Connect multiple sender and receiver units with a dedicated Gigabit network switche to create a custom matrix. Or use a transmitter and a receiver as a point-to-point (P2P) extender by connecting them directly through a single CAT5e/6 cable.

Black Box's MediaCento Video over IP solution enables you to multicasts HDMI video and audio to up to 256 screens on a single Ethernet network, making it the perfect solution for distributing high-resolution digital signage content or other HD video and audio. Visit our product page to find out more.

HDMI to IP Encoders and Decoders / HDMI to IP Streamers

While HDMI to IP encoders allow to convert HDMI video and analog audio input signals to H.264 for streaming over an IP network connection, HDMI to IP decoders decrypt the compressed IP data stream to display it on a remote output device. These devices are also reffered to as IP streamers when used with specific codecs.

Black Box's VS2000-DEC H.264 Encoders/Decoders encode/transmit and receive/decode high-quality video over a standard IP network. Because the decoder uses H.264 compression and requires very low bandwidth, it's extremely efficient when decoding full HD video and analog audio. It also supports AAC audio encoding so a high-quaility audio signal can be delivered at low bandwidth requirements.

Factors to Consider When Implementing a Video Distribution Project

Setting a video distribution project is hard work and entails a lot of planning.

  • What kind of video is being extended?
  • How many sources and outputs have to be connected?
  • What video quality and resolutions will be required, and can EDID information be delivered?
  • Is audio embedded in the video signal or not?

Black Box helps companies design, integrate, and maintain reliable AV and KVM solutions for broadcasting, post-production, stadiums & arenas, medical, air traffic control, oil & gas, government & military, and utility industries. Leave the tech to us and our comprehensive technology solutions will deliver secure connections, fast-response times, real-time collaboration and more.

 

Want To Know More?

Download our White Paper: Video Transmission over IP

Download our white paper "Video Transmission over IP: Challenges and Best Practices" to learn about crucial factors you should consider when selecting and planning a networked AV system, including:

  • Network components
  • Bandwidth consumption
  • Compression methods

 

 
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