HD Distribution

What is HD distribution?

HD distribution means sending an HDMI output eg a Sky box, and sending it to more than one TV/display. This can be achieved in 2 ways.

1) HDMI to Freeview Modulator

2) HDMI over Cat6 cabling with a point to point sender, Matrix or 4K IP sender.

3) Fibre optic HDMI cables and HDMI matrix.

How it works

HDMI Modulator

With a Freeview modulator you take the HDMI output from a source eg Sky and go into the modulator. You can go back out into the local TV with a HDMI lead. From the modulator you can go into a TV amplifier and send it to many TV’s. The pros are how simple it is to use and distribute over an existing coax system. The cons are you need to have TV’s that can decode Freeview HD for it to work. Or you can add a small Freeview HD box or upgrade the TV. As you are converting HDMI to Freeview the signal is around 3 seconds delayed. Not quite a con but the maximum resolution is 1080p at the moment.

Here is an video example:

HD over coax

Cat6 Point to point / matrix / 4KVoIP

If you go the Cat6 route it has the same HDMI loop in and out but the other output is a Cat6. This means you have to run a Cat6 cable from the source location to the display location ( for a point to point ). You have a sender and a receiver unit and both fit into the palm of your hand and can go behind the TV’s. The receiver has a HDMI output that connects to the TV and a mini eye that can control the source. The sender has HDMI in and out and mini eye that goes over the sources IR window. This system can run up to 4K up to 1ms delay so its very quick. You can expand this up to 8 TV’s relatively cheaply.

Expanding on the Cat6 scenario if you have more than one HDMI source and want to view them on more than one TV you can use a matrix. They come in 4×4,6×6 and 8×8. 4×4 = 4 HDMI sources in and 4 HDMI displays out via Cat6 cables. So the idea here is you would have all of your sources in one place, normally out of sight. and have Cat6 cables going from here to the TV’s. Pop a receiver on and now you can watch all the sources on all of the TV’s. This can run 1080p-4K depending on the distance of the cable.

The other option is 4K video over IP. This is mainly used for more than 8 sources, 8 displays or if cable runs are up to 100m. You will need to use a simple app to drag and drop the source to display to switch displays.

Here is an video example:

HD over Cat6

Fibre Optic HDMI cables and HDMI matrix HD distribution

This is like a hybrid system of HDMI Cat6 matrix but using active/fibre optic HDMI cables rather than Cat6 cabling. With the invention of the active/fibre optic HDMI cables the normal 4K 5m limit has been thrown out the window. They are suited to internal use only and are pre-terminated at set lengths. So no cutting the extra off! At the moment the cables are fairly expensive but have far less to go wrong. We would run a coax, fibre HDMI and a minimum 1 Cat6 for a retro fit installation. But would prefer 2 Cat6 for smart home usage.