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Thread: Move to HDMI I/O

  1. #1
    UniSon Gordon's Avatar
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    Move to HDMI I/O

    It seems that there is a shift from SDI to HDMI in a lot of products that meet the needs of what appears to be NewTek's target consumers. Besides almost every monitor is now using HDMI 2.x, (4K) and we are also seeing a lot of "Pro" cameras with HDMI support.

    It seems that it would be wise to see the next NewTek I/O box, (NC2 I/O?), to have HDMI 2.x I/O.

    I can't say for sure, but NOT having HDMI I/O almost killed getting the TC1 for us in our 1.5 million dollar facility upgrade. (Stripped to bare concrete/brick walls, floors, steel rafters and start again.) The last I heard was that they are MAYBE approving a TC1 and NC1 I/O and will convert the TriCaster's output to HDMI to be compatible with the rest of the system.

    They were adamant that the new system was NOT going to have a bunch devices that convert from one format to another. We had a 6 foot tall rack of gear that did nothing else but converted from one format to another. With every piece of equipment comes a new failure point. Every piece of equipment increases the complexity and reduces the interoperability. They didn't want to go down that road again.

    However, I was equally adamant that I would not settle for less than the TC1, partially because of NDI. However, I know that in no way did they plan to use NDI for anything. At the time of the initial planning over a year ago, they weren't convinced they should build everything around NDI and choose what they felt strongly was the new standard of HDMI.

    The final decision is still pending and it will live or die on HDMI.

  2. #2
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    This is so hard to imagine, as HDMI is one of the most miserably unreliable standards we are forced to use. Mechanically, it is fragile - lots of tiny pins and wires - and doesn't lock. Handshaking and resolution negotiation is completely obnoxious when I'm trying to get a single resolution across my entire signal chain. And HDCP crops up unexpectedly and disastrously.

    But people are certainly doing it and using it. An HDMI on the side of a camera is just horrifying to me, but there it is. Ready to fall out every time you pan the camera, but there it is.

    The Spark is a nice first step, but we need to go the other direction often, too. An NC2 as Gordon proposed would be a nice piece of kit for us at our control area, where we have often have a bunch of laptops equipped with HDMI outputs but no RJ45. Or no ability to install NDI for one reason or another. Or not having room for a bunch of external monitors so that NDI will work.

    Expandable HDMI I/O would be useful. As much as I hate to say it.
    E. Lee Dickinson | President
    Advanced Visual Production | sound.lighting.video.design
    www.avprva.com

    Tricaster 850, 460AE, and TC-1
    JVC GY-HM200u, Canon XLH1, Fieldcast and BMD Fiber

  3. #3
    'the write stuff' SBowie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lee-AVP View Post
    This is so hard to imagine, as HDMI is one of the most miserably unreliable standards we are forced to use.
    I think one reason for this is that 4K over SDI is at the very least cumbersome, almost to the point of being unworkable - whereas HDMI, warts and all, does the job more conveniently. Thankfully, going forward, I think we're going to see IP increasingly taking the load.
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  4. #4
    UniSon Gordon's Avatar
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    Another "wart" for HDMI is no Genlock In, (AFAIK), so I don't know how much latency is added to the total system because of cameras with HDMI out.

    They have already introduced lockable HDMI connectors. Now they need to put these on cameras. (Still doesn't solve the genlock issue though.)

    Laptops/Computers - Inputs:
    Presently, we have two HDMI feeds from the Mac based ProPresenter. One for the FOH screens and one for the Stage view screen, (song lyrics and 'up next' prompt for persons on the stage). ProPresenter supports NDI for FOH screen only. We need the stage view so that is ONE HDMI input for the NC2. We may need a second HDMI input should a guest speaker bring their laptop and not be able to or not want to install an NDI app.

    Large Displays - Outputs:
    We need minimum of two HDMI outputs for live shots to the FOH screens when not using ProPresenter. It would be nice to have more HDMI outputs for other larger standalone monitors so you don't need to have laptops to take NDI sources to a larger display. Pizzaz does have a nice NDI2HDMI box and that will be useful in some cases, even at twice the price of a laptop.

    That is why a NC2 - HDMI model would be useful for us, provided the price per I/O was reasonable.

  5. #5
    UniSon Gordon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SBowie View Post
    Thankfully, going forward, I think we're going to see IP increasingly taking the load.
    Absolutely. The more I think about it the more an NC2 HDMI version doesn't make any sense.

  6. #6
    One thing that I'd like to question here is, what's the reliable cable lengths on a 4k hdmi signal. I know other solutions, BMD etc use 12g sdi which runs 4k over a single sdi run. Obvs. Ndi is capable of 4k but we don't have the boxes available to convert it back to hdmi 2.0. 4k hdmi 2 does sound useful but not if the max cable length quits at around 20ft !!

    A.

  7. #7
    The is one of the other problems with HDMI. It was never designed for long cable runs, it was designed to go from your DVD/BluRay player to your TV that are sitting about 6 feet apart.

    That being said you can get long cables and they can work, but the HDMI standard has never listed a recommend or minimum length that must be supported. Beyond the cable, some devices (both on the sending or receiving side) are better with long cables than others. So even with a good quality long HDMI cable it might not work with some HDMI devices, where as a cheap long HDMI cable might work with other devices. Some devices (like the TriCaster Mini HDMI) are better at receiving signals from longer HDMI cable runs.

    In general getting HDMI cables with an in-line equalizer (like the NewTek HDMI cables for the TC-Mini) will typically work best. Equalized cables work in one direction, so make sure you connect them the right way. Then you need to test with the planned devices on both ends.

    Finally, the more data you try to push thru the cable the more difficult it will be. Getting 1080i thru an 50ft HDMI cable might be okay, where as getting 4K/UHD thru the same HDMI cable might not work.
    Kane Peterson
    Key Accounts Sales Engineer
    NewTek, Inc.

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