Monster and Gennum enable longer distance HDMI cables

LAS VEGAS — A new notion emerging at this year's Consumer Electronics Show is that the state of the art for HDMI, currently a point-to-point short cable that connects your HDTV to a newly purchased Blu-ray player, becomes woefully inadequate, if HDMI is used for a longer distance connectivity, or even home networking. (see story: HDMI gears up for home network role)

As more and more higher definition content gets distributed — over distances longer than several feet — around the “connected home,” consumers may soon need to start looking for higher speed and more reliable HDMI cables.

In anticipation of demand, Monster, the world's leading manufacturer of high-end cables, has teamed with Gennum Corporation, a fabless chip specialist in video broadcast and data connectivity products.

Monster announced Wednesday (January 7) three long distance cables and ultra high-speed and high-speed products for HDMI connectivity, using Gennum's technology called “ActiveConnect.”

“Growing requirements for higher performance and longer distance for HDMI have reached an inflection point” where active solutions are now necessary for traditionally passive cables, explained Martin Rofheart, senior vice president and general manager, analog & mixed signal products at Gennum.

Gennum's ActiveConnect technology is a semiconductor-based solution integrated with equalizer, clock and data recovery functions. Designed to enable high data rates on the cable without losing signal integrity, Gennum's technology can be embedded into the cable, wall plate or maximizer, according to Rofheart.

Using a side-by-side demonstration of two screens, Monster and Gennum showed that one display connected to a cable with a maximizer was able to restore clean images, while the other without a maximizer displayed pictures with numerous flaws.

Rofheart said that passive cables, even HDMI-certified, can produce pictures with streaks or flashing pixels — or sometimes no pictures at all, if HDMI content needs to be delivered over a longer distance.

Monster is currently demonstrating capabilities as high as 21 Gigabit per second at 75 feet for the M2000 cable.
The higher data rates enabled by Monster's new cables will prove to be “future proof,” claimed Rofheart, “even for emerging 3DTV and Ultra High-Definition TV.”

While current HDTV in 1080 Progressive at 60 frames per second demands only 4.5Gbit per second, Rofheart's assumption is that all imminent advancements in video technology, such as 3DTV, will require a much higher data rate.

He also alluded to higher frame rates video technology — such as 120 frames per second — is “on the roadmap,” currently discussed within the video industry.
Monster Maximizer for HDMI delivers 10.2 Gbps data rate over long distances. It attaches to the display side of a long HDMI cable.

Monster also plans to launch high-definition audio/video over Cat5e/6 wall plate, which delivers HDMI up to 200 feet at the high-speed rating of 6.68 Gigabit per second.

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