Meet Cable of the Future: CAT5e/6 Cable [UPD]

Today, to hook up our home theatre equipment in the simplest, easiest way, we use HDMI to pass through both our 1080p video and the lossless audio. But HDMI isn't the only game in town, as there's DisplayPort looming on the horizon too.

Did you know that we already had a cable standard solution suitable for our HD needs before HDMI and DisplayPort hit? It's that cable that you've been using for your networking all these years.

HDBaseT Alliance, the cross-industry alliance formed to promote and standardize the HDBaseT technology, announced today its formal incorporation, founded by LG, Samsung, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Valens Semiconductor.

The Alliance also announced the finalization of the HDBaseT 1.0 base specification. The cornerstone of HDBaseT technology is 5Play, a feature-set that converges full uncompressed HD video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, high power over cable and various control signals through a single 100m/328ft CAT5e/6 LAN cable. HDBaseT has the bandwidth to support video resolutions such as full HD 1080p as well as 3D and 2Kx4K formats. HDBaseT is the first to provide all-in-one connectivity, making it possible for a single-connector TV to receive power, video/audio, Internet and control signals from the same cable.

HDBaseT enables a network of sources — such as digital video recorders (DVR), Blu-ray disc players, game consoles, PCs and mobile devices — to be connected directly to displays in multiple locations. For instance, a DVR can be connected to several TVs throughout the home. This form of networking, whether it is done by daisy chaining devices or through star topology, can be applied in both the consumer home and in B2B cases such as digital signage networking.

The HDBaseT Alliance anticipates products with embedded HDBaseT technology to be available in the second half of 2010, with the majority of adoption taking place in 2011. The specification will also be available for licensing within the second half of 2010.

UPDATE: Check out the chart below for a comparison of various interconnect technologies.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • tntom
    That is great news for all us who had the luxury of running CAT5 in our homes.
  • wallpaper
    blue wires strikes again!

    tbh, i found that blue slightly annoying after all these years...there should be a rainbow version
  • mavroxur
    The new and improved....wheel!! :)
  • jvc21
    Cool! Who would have known that our CAT5 cables would still be in great usage today.

    I imagined that these would have been obsolete with newer cables by the start of the decade...guess not :)
  • bonezy
    I should probably buy reels of this stuff before companies like Monster and Belkin decide to charge 30x its actual value, and cause all the prices to go up.
  • I have a 100m box of cat5 cable in my PC room, YAY me!!!
  • Jerky_san
    I actually already have something like this from monoprice.. They have plates you can buy that require 2 Cat 6/5 cables for 20 bucks.. It can do 1080p+audio but not powering the tv and such.. But still I've never heard of this HDBaseT company.. I wonder how expensive their products will be.. For some reason I'm guessing it will be all proprietary.
  • extremepcs
    I guess I just don
  • extremepcs
    Err, sorry - not sure what happened there. Never mind!
  • icepick314
    I bought 1000ft boxed spool of Cat5E for $60 (I think) few years back and I still have quite a bit left...

    I hope this will become standard instead of HDMI or DisplayPort...

    but you'll wonder how long till Monster charges $200 for 15ft Cat5E cable when it's literally fraction of pennies per foot?