HDMI over Cat5 – A Home HDBaseT Extender Review
Automated Home regular Tim Hawes recently moved his telly out if range of a standard HDMI cable. This created the opportunity to try out one of the highly regarded HDBaseT units that send 1080p HD video, plus 5.1 audio, IR control and power for the receiver all over a single Cat5 or Cat6 cable. (The HDBaseT Alliance recently announced v2 of the standard which adds USB 2 to the mix too). Read on for Tim’s experience with these mid-priced units…
I didn’t get the ones I originally wanted as they were out of stock, however this “2nd choice” is still pretty good! I got these: p/n: PSG03652, £210+vat,
The key features that sold this were:
- HDMI over a single Cat5 cable
- Power injected at transmit box only – the receiver takes it’s power over the Cat5 cable so is easier to locate behind equipment etc.
- IR return “mouse-style” receiver and emitter to relay signals back to the source equipment.
The units are very simple to use, just plug the HDMI and ethernet cables in and away you go. There’s no switches to set, nothing to configure, just plug and play. Three LEDs indicate power, link and HDCP. They come very well packaged in quite a large box for the units’ size.
The specs say:
- HDBase-T Technology with PoE feature
- HDCP Compliant
- Enables HDMI 10.2Gbs over a single 100m Cat5e/6 cable
- 340MHz/3.4Gbps per channel (10.2Gbps all channel) bandwidth
- 1080p, 60Hz, 48bit Resolution
- Supports uncompressed HDMI & uncompressed LPCM Audio signals
- Supports compressed DTS, Dolby Digital, DTS-HD & Dolby True HD audio
- 3D & CEC Pass through
- Built in IR extender function with remote control
There’s not much else to add. Picture quality is excellent, full 1080p HD is supported, it really is a “plug-in and forget” device.
The alternative units (p/n: PSG03654, £202+vat) have all the same features as my units but also extend RS232 signals as well. Not that I do have any but it would’ve been a ‘nice to have’. The ones with RS232 are also quite a bit larger than the ones I got – if you’re mounting behind a wall-mounted TV that may be a consideration. Curiously, these are a bit cheaper than mine, I don’t know why!
There are also lower cost options at CPC but these don’t appear to be HDBase-T units, don’t do the PoE, and also don’t have IR return. Some also need 2 Cat5/6 cables rather than just one. They are around a quarter of the price, and may do what you need. I haven’t tried any other units so can’t comment.
I am very happy with mine, however.