HDBaseT – the answer to so many problems

Send your HD signals everywhere. Well not everywhere, but everywhere within about 300 feet. HDBaseT makes it easy. It’s always been a bit of a drag getting HD where you wanted it. Component cables were expensive and HDMI has always had a serious distance limitation (it was designed that way.) But what if I told you that you could use simple category 5 cable instead of expensive dedicated cables?

The technology is called HDBaseT and it’s a standardized way for manufacturers to help you extend your TV experience everywhere. It’s a lot more reliable than Wireless HDMI — in fact most of the wireless HDMI products on the market have disapppeared because they just didn’t work right. On the other hand, HDBaseT is simple: just run a cable from one end to the other and use a simple kit to convert to and from HDMI. No, the technology isn’t cheap, but it’s very reliable and I have every confidence that an HDBaseT installation you put in today will serve you for years to come.

The most exciting thing about HDBaseT is the ability to really put up a very quick whole-home system very easily. Something like this 4×4 HDMI Matrix Switch is the perfect solution for putting all your components in one location and using them anywhere. Choose between four sources and put them in any of four locations up to 300 feet away… even control the devices with any IR remote control because the system passes remote signals backwards to your devices. It’s pricey but it takes the place of systems costing up to ten times more that weren’t as good.

The more you learn about HDBaseT, the better it sounds. Unlike earlier systems it’s designed to work with different systems from different manufacturers, making upgrades simple. Future versions of HDBaseT will even allow you to share the network with regular Ethernet wiring. Today you do need dedicated lines.

The only thing HDBaseT doesn’t do is go wireless. Even though the system uses regular Cat-5 or Cat-6 cables, you can’t hook it up to a router or wireless access point, at least not at this point. The technology is completely different from Ethernet even though it uses the same cables. So, for now wireless is out of the question. I do suspect that future technologies based on 802.11ac will make it quite possible to send a signal across the home using HDBaseT technology.

For now, though, it’s enough to realize that there’s finally a good solution for getting HD from point to point without using a modulator. It’s affordable enough for most people and installation could not be easier. If you’re looking for a nice clean installation, I really encourage you to look at our whole line of HDBaseT products now available at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.