Can you have HDMI over IP?

When it comes to streaming online, you don’t just need a high-speed internet connection. You also need the devices to be capable enough to manage the huge workloads. It’s where an HDMI over IP can come in handy. 


HDMI is an all-in-one signal that transmits both high-quality audio and video. The cable can support newer high definition formats such as Dolby TrueHD‚ DTS-HD Master Audio, and 3D Video. Although it’s a reliable‚ multipurpose cable‚ there’s one major flaw. That is the HDMI cable’s inability to span over longer distances. 


For HDMI‚ short is the best length. But‚ sometimes you might need to carry an HDMI signal for longer distances. To overcome the limitations of the HDMI cable‚ you can use a system like HDMI over IP to transmit your signals from one place to another. 


What is HDMI over IP?


HDMI over IP is the use of an Ethernet network to transmit HDMI signals. This method can be used to distribute signals from one source to multiple receivers. HDMI over IP is used for applications such as Multiroom HDMI‚ Video wall processing‚ CCTV monitoring‚ video-on-demand delivery‚ video matrix switching and so on. 


To transmit HDMI signals through IP‚ you need a gigabit network complete with a hub centralized between your source and display. In HDMI over IP‚ the HDMI signal from the source is sent through an HDMI over IP transmitter. This transmitter compresses the signal and passes it on to a cat6/7 cable. 


The compressed signal is then taken to a Gigabit hub. The hub transmits the signal back to another cat6/7 which connects to the HDMI over IP transmitter at the receiving end. Here‚ the signal is decompressed and sent to the HDMI cable connecting to the receiving device. 


Why should you use HDMI over IP?


HDMI over IP is a very flexible and scalable system. The system can expand as much as you want‚ adding multiple screens. If you want to connect more devices‚ you can also add another network switch or use network repeaters. Adding a network switch is also helpful if you want to connect devices farther from the 100m reach of the copper TCP/IP. Using fiber media converters and fiber cables can also increase the reach.


In HDMI over IP‚, HDMI signals are carried through a gigabit network that is sufficient for high color-depth and pixel-perfect video transmission. HDMI over IP transmitters compress the signals before sending them into the TCP/IP stream. Because the signal is compressed‚ there is almost no loss in quality. Compression also decreases signal delay. 


What are the disadvantages of HDMI over IP?


HDMI over IP is a useful method to transfer HDMI signals over longer distances. But‚ HDMI over IP is certainly not built to be the best. This method is more expensive and may even face some issues if you are not careful. 


If you are planning to use HDMI over IP with your existing Ethernet‚ think again. To support HDMI signal transmission‚ you need to have a gigabit-speed network. The usual 100Mbps network with cat5e cables simply won’t do if you want the HDMI signal to retain its high quality. To transmit Gigabit signals‚ you need cat6/7 cables/ fiber cables and a gigabit hub. The gigabit hub also needs to be located in between the source and the display of the HDMI signal.


Let’s say that you flipped your cables and central device to devices that support gigabit speed. You are still going to face some issues if you use the same network for other tasks such as connecting to the internet. The network will not be setting priority to the HDMI signal at all times. This can cause interruptions and will show visible glitches in your screens. You are going to need a fully dedicated network separate from your existing network to transmit the HDMI signals. 


HDMI over IP always compresses audio before transmitting. So‚ the signal transmission is lossless. However, if your compression devices have lower quality compression algorithms‚ the quality of your HDMI signals may suffer. For HDMI cables, the more expensive it is‚ the better is its quality. 


Can you use HDMI over IP?


Now you know that HDMI over IP is not an easy feat. On the other side‚ if executed properly, this can be an extremely effective method to extend HDMI signals any way you want. If you are looking to use HDMI over IP to extend your HDMI signals you need to consider a few things first.


  1. Do you need HDMI over IP?


HDMI over IP is commonly used for lobby displays‚ interactive signage displays, and such applications. These applications involve screens located apart from each other. If you have a similar need to connect multiple screens‚ HDMI over IP is for you. If not‚ there are other less expensive extenders you can use. 


  1. Is your existing network sufficient to support HDMI over IP?


The usual 100 Mbps network speed is not sufficient for HDMI over IP. You need a gigabit-speed network to transmit HDMI signals without harming the quality.


  1. Do you mind a little latency?


HDMI over IP is an extremely reliable‚ real-time system. If you are not planning for real-time transmission of HDMI signals‚ you don’t need real-time technology. 


  1. Do you have the budget?


HDMI over IP requires high-quality devices and an entirely new network that can operate at gigabit speed. This can be a very expensive venture. 




In short, yes, you can have HDMI over IP. But there are some things you need to think about when switching to HDMI over IP for HDMI signal transmission. HDMI over IP is a good way to future-proof your signal transmission. The system can connect an unlimited number of devices and is easily expandable. If you have the budget and the requirement‚ HDMI over IP is a good choice for lossless signal transmission.

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