Vendor View: Creating an Ultra HD Infrastructure with Gefen
We all know that 4K displays and sources are ramping up for more common usage. Manufacturers are already shipping 4K displays, and it’s clear that more 4K products are on the way. Connectivity solutions provider Gefen is already anticipating the coming demand for 4K support, and has a few of the first back-end connectivity solutions that support 4K sources and displays as they become available for the custom market. Hagai Gefen, president of Gefen, talks about the kind of support solutions integrators can look to when integrating a 4K display or projector.
Technology Integrator: First of all, what do you mean when you reference Ultra HD?
Hagai Gefen: Ultra HD refers to the higher resolutions reaching up to 4K or 8K; typically that’s an aspect ratio of 16:9 and a minimum resolution of 3840x2160 pixels for 4k or 4096x2160 pixels for 8K. These displays and sources are also able to scale other resolutions such as 1080p or 2K.
TI: What is the fundamental difference in creating a connectivity infrastructure for 4K versus 2K resolution?
HG: It’s based on HDMI specifications and on having the bandwidth and cabling capable of delivering these higher resolutions without any signal degradation or delays. That said, if you have a splitter or a switcher for HDMI that is fully 2K compatible, it won’t work with 4K content unless you upgrade. But when you’re extending Ultra HD, you can use existing infrastructure. For example, HDBaseT systems are fully capable of delivering resolutions up to 4K using standard CAT-6 cabling. All of Gefen’s extenders for HDMI using Gefen’s ELR (Extra Long Range) technology, which is based on HDBaseT, can handle the delivery of 4K content over any CAT-6 cable. That’s the good news.
TI: What’s the downside of implementing 4k sources and displays?
HG: The only downside, if you want to call it that, is that you have to upgrade the existing hardware in between the source and display to take full advantage of 4K content, which is, without a doubt, coming. So if you want to integrate a new 4K display that is extended any major distance away from your source device, you’re most likely going to have to invest in some newer technology that can handle the amount of data being transmitted to create 4K content. It’s really that simple. You can liken it to the arrival of digital media; it was the same thing: You had to upgrade your system to handle the newer digital signals that just wouldn’t be able to travel limitlessly along cabling like analog could.