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Wednesday, October 21, 2015

User Guide: 4K cabling


Fibre, data networking or coax? Steve Lampen, multimedia technology manager at Belden, on solving the 4K cabling conundrum


I hear a lot of consumers saying, “4K? It’s just another way of selling you a new TV.” But, on the professional side, on the broadcast or Hollywood side, that argument doesn’t apply. So, is it for real? Is it really going to happen? Or will we go straight to 8K like some of our Japanese friends have suggested.


Well, the politically correct answer is “I don’t know,” because there is no SMPTE standard. I have friends on the committee and they tell me it has been written but not signed. Until that document is finished, anything I say here is a ‘best guess’ or possibly even wishful thinking. But there is a ‘big picture’ view that may change everything. For one thing, there are three media that can carry 4K (12 GHz) video.

The first is fibre optic cable.

Fibre has more than enough bandwidth. If you’re going long distances or need RFI/EMI noise immunity, it’s your only choice. While the fibre itself is cheap, the drivers and receivers are still expensive. And good luck finding any pricing on 4K boxes. Super-expensive. Of course, give them a few years and they’ll be $99 each. But, by that time, you will have missed that train.

A 10G pipe (with a bandwidth of 10 GHz) is not quite big enough for a 12GHz uncompressed video signal.
The second choice, and the one that could be the ‘big winner’, is data networking.Clearly, 4K is data, so there’s nothing inherent in that bit stream to prevent it from being carried on data cables like 10GbaseT (Category 6a). Easily available, 10G cable and switches are common. Sure, they’re the most expensive of all those cables and switches, but not like fibre boxes.The problem is that a 10G pipe (with a bandwidth of 10 GHz) is not quite big enough for a 12GHz uncompressed video signal. So then we wait for the next data step, which looks like it might be 25 GHz.

That would cover two 4K video channels. And they’re already working on Category 8, which will be 40Gbase-T, more than three 4K video signals down one, four-pair copper cable.

Forwarded by:- Swamy DN dns_v@yahoo.com

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