Why HDMI over ethernet? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 22 Old 10-21-2011, 05:45 PM - Thread Starter
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This may seem like a stupid question for those who are in the know, but here it goes.... Why do you want to have HDMI travel over Cat6 in a house. The only advantages I see are the following:

Pros:
No cable box at the site viewing site.
Save $5 per month on a cable box.

Cons:
Sharing a box between two TVs meaning that you can only watch one channel at a time.
Remote issues
Wiring issues and signal degradation.
Heat issues at the site of multiple boxes.

I would think that the ideal situation would be a tiny cable box that has no DVR but just sits on the back of the TV or on the TV mount. That would seem to have all of the pros with no cons.

Do people really put a DVD in their living room DVD player then go upstairs to their bedroom to watch the movie? If so than maybe I am behind the times but it just seems like all I need in my bedroom is CNN, Comedy Central and a few other channels. I do not really need to watch home movies streamed from my HTPC in my bedroom.
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post #2 of 22 Old 10-22-2011, 01:27 AM
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Originally Posted by finger123 View Post

This may seem like a stupid question for those who are in the know, but here it goes.... Why do you want to have HDMI travel over Cat6 in a house.

First, a clarification - HDMI over Cat5/cat6 is generally NOT "Ethernet". It's important in these forums that we don't use those terms interchangeably. Most HDMI extenders use cat5/cat6 wires in a proprietary, point-to-point manner. They work on cat5 because that's what has been wired in new homes (for the purpose of Ethernet networking). There are Ethernet-based HDMI distribution systems, which are probably better called TCP/IP-based systems...

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The only advantages I see are the following:

Pros:
No cable box at the site viewing site.
Save $5 per month on a cable box.

No box(es) at each TV - the more displays you have, especially wall mounted ones, the more this can be a real advantage.

Avoiding set-top box rental fees can help offset the cost of A/V distribution, but the break-even on that alone can be many, many years...

Quote:


Cons:
Sharing a box between two TVs meaning that you can only watch one channel at a time.
Remote issues
Wiring issues and signal degradation.
Heat issues at the site of multiple boxes.

Sharing one box would mean that, but centralizing all the set-top boxes and installing a matrix switch means any display can see any source. General rule of thumb is to distribute one set-top box per family member. And we're usually talking about DVRs in this context (or at least, mainly DVRs). Getting "your" content from "your DVR" anywhere in the house is the big selling point.

Remote issues are easily handled by good quality matrix switches that incorporate IR repeating and routing.

Wiring issues, heat, etc. are all issues regardless. Having the equipment in one place, though, means those issues can be addressed once, instead of multiple places...

Quote:


I would think that the ideal situation would be a tiny cable box that has no DVR but just sits on the back of the TV or on the TV mount. That would seem to have all of the pros with no cons.

The built-in DirecTV RVU client in forthcoming Samsung TVs and the cable-industry equivalent (AllVid?) may make a lot of A/V distribution unnecessary. The latest "whole house DVR" solutions will also solve this issue. Having either a small box mounted behind the TV, or build into the set to access DVR'ed content and streaming Internet services is the future. But that's not available yet - coming soon...

Quote:


Do people really put a DVD in their living room DVD player then go upstairs to their bedroom to watch the movie? If so than maybe I am behind the times but it just seems like all I need in my bedroom is CNN, Comedy Central and a few other channels. I do not really need to watch home movies streamed from my HTPC in my bedroom.

Most folks with HTPC setups are building them to house all their local content - not just user-created 'home movies'. You rip your BD and DVD discs onto the server, and then distribute the signal around the house. So without touching a disc, you can browse the 'library' and select anything to play.

I do have a DVD and BD player on my matrix switch, but it's mostly because I had the space available on the matrix to connect them both. I do use the DVD distribution for places like the guest room where I don't want the equipment. But the family room and the theater both have their own "dedicated" BD players - for exactly the reason you mentioned. Walking to the closet to put a disc in would be a real nuisance. But, some people do that...

But in short - you have to ask what you're trying to accomplish. If it's aethetics or practical space issues, centralizing makes sense regardless of the cost (well, as much value as you place on it, really). Accessing DVR content from more than one location - is much better than adding extra DVRs and having to manage duplicate content "in case" you want to watch it in another room.

Jeff


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post #3 of 22 Old 10-23-2011, 06:01 AM
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I'm guessing, finger, that you don't yet have a DVR.

DVR changed my life. I stopped watching live TV about 5 years ago.

The cost of rented DVRs adds up, and not easy to hide a DVR with a wall mount flat panel.

I've held off on the matrix switch/distributed video option myself. I'm itching to switch from comcast to DirecTV, for their shared DVR service. We currently use only 1 TV with any frequency, but as my kids get older, I have plans for 5 locations. I've left the option for DV though, adding the cables when feasible (kitchen and basement remodels).

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post #4 of 22 Old 10-23-2011, 06:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I am also a DVR fan but that is part of the problem. I am not sure that I want that content following me around the house. I see the family room as the main space for TV consumption and whereas the bedroom TV is for some noise while I am trying to fall asleep. We moved a DVD player in our bedroom after we got xbox for the family room and we never used it. If I have a movie on in the bedroom I would be asleep before the opening credits are finished. Another issue is that while I own the movie "Top Gun", I have never watched the DVD but in the 5 years that I have owned it I have probably watched it on TV over 3 times (with commercials). If I am in the kitchen I want live broadcasts for some reason. Before determining my wiring needs and plans I wanted to make sure that I was not ignoring some major advantage of distributed video... The other thing is that my wife and I watch pretty much the same programming, so there is no real reason to have two separated DVRs.
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post #5 of 22 Old 10-23-2011, 06:45 AM
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The system we just completed for our area's parade of homes is a good study on HD video distribution over Cat5 via HDMI matrix.

The smartest part of the system's design is that although the equipment rack is in the unfinished basement, the Blu-ray player is in a cabinet in the family room on the main floor. Nobody wants to take a disc all the way downstairs to watch a movie. This setup requires two sets of HDMI/Cat5 baluns, but it's working perfectly.

The system was originally designed around Time Warner Cable boxes to provide TV content. At the last minute, the homeowner chose DirecTV. The homeowner got a DTV receiver for each TV. Now, with DirecTV's total home DVR service, any TV in the system has access to the DVR capabilities. So, where's the advantage of having these satellite boxes on a video matrix switch? I guess you could easily check to see what the kids are watching on their sat box? (We are using Control4 and in all rooms except the master bed, only one DirecTV receiver is visible anyway).
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post #6 of 22 Old 10-23-2011, 06:25 PM
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After some thought, I think hiding all equipment is the biggest reason for distributed video.

For a home theater, I think a visible rack of equipment could add to the aesthetic, but I wouldn't want equipment visible anywhere else. Of course, that's an ideal. Looking through pics of family rooms, MBRs, and 'media rooms' featured in online and print interior decorating, architectural, and pro installation publications, one doesn't EVER see the equipment - at least in the high end designs. That's what I'm shooting for, long term.

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post #7 of 22 Old 10-24-2011, 06:47 PM
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The posts above make some good points. In my case the decision to go distributed was for two reasons:
1. HTPC as the main source. Multiple cable boxes may be cheap but multiple computers are not.
2. I'm surprised this hasn't been mentioned already but building these systems is fun!
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post #8 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 08:04 AM
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Hi, I just built a new home (6000-square feet with many rooms) and the house-wide media system I installed was cat6 Ethernet. Naturally I think, because as an electrical embedded system design engineer I design switches and routers for a living, but also because in my view, communication interfaces come and go all time.... except for Ethernet.

Yes, Ethernet is here to stay... for a couple or three decades... and beyond that it will be wireless.

As a result of my realization, I brought RG-6 video distribution in to only 7 central locations in the home, and a phone line. That's it. No s-video, no hdmi, no specialized cat6 runs. Just cat6 distributed from a central 24-port gigabit hub which has a few simple layer 2 networking functions such as QOS and port-based VLANs. I have seen composite video, s-video, component video, HDMI, etc, rise and fall over the years and have no wish to install wiring for obsolete interfaces or new-fangled future interfaces. I just want Ethernet.

My TV provider (who I'm about to give the boot anyway since I don't watch much cable anymore) is Dish and I have a VIP 722 receiver connected. It has dual channels. My intention is put the unit in my family room with the main TV connected to a big plasma, and run the 2nd tuner's output out of the box to a "slingbox like" device which I have yet to buy. With the video stream from tuner 2 compressed into an MPEG4 stream I can port this to any TV in the house, then at each TV I put another inexpensive ethernet to video decoder (like the old "slingbox player" which Dish network killed when they bought slingbox.

Dish killed the sling player (replacing it with laptops, iphones, ipads, and ipods) because they want to sell everyone on additional tuners... which they rent to you and get more money from you. Their hopper solution is an example of this. In my case, I actually WANT all the TV's connected to a single tuner. The VIP722 2nd tuner is controlled via UHF remotes so changing channels is no issue.

Can anyone recommend a video (any format) in to TCP/IP Ethernet streamer box? This would also need to have complimentary Ethernet (TCP/IP) to Video output converters. Thanks and have a great week! smile.gif
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post #9 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 08:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvino View Post

Hi, I just built a new home (6000-square feet with many rooms) and the house-wide media system I installed was cat6 Ethernet. Naturally I think, because as an electrical embedded system design engineer I design switches and routers for a living, but also because in my view, communication interfaces come and go all time.... except for Ethernet.

That's a correct networking view, but doesn't necessarily apply to A/V "distribution"...
Quote:
Yes, Ethernet is here to stay... for a couple or three decades... and beyond that it will be wireless.

Nope. Ethernet is here to stay, period. Whatever wireless we have a decade from now, we'll have a better/faster wired standard...
Quote:
Can anyone recommend a video (any format) in to TCP/IP Ethernet streamer box? This would also need to have complimentary Ethernet (TCP/IP) to Video output converters.

The world is generally not there yet. Certainly not in a single device to consume/receive/stream/display from any source (digital library, received content, streamed media, etc.). The TiVo Premiere XL and the TiVo Mini clients are probably the closest to an in-home IP-based distribution. Or convert everything and back using a JustAddPower solution.

Jeff


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post #10 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 08:41 AM
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I think you're jumping the gun. I'd sign up with Dish for a couple years, and get a Hopper, until distribution over Ethernet is more mature.

Take a look at Just Add Power; uses a switch for distribution. Not for you, but you may find it interesting.

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post #11 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 10:06 AM
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Thank you for the answers. I'll keep my eyes open and I'll post anything I come up with.
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post #12 of 22 Old 04-23-2013, 08:23 PM
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The commercial sector is seeing the rise of AVB - Audio Video Bridging - as a new standard. Not sure how copyright protection will work into it, though. Commercial isn't as concerned about piracy. But, in a few years, I predict this will spill over into residential.

Collection of related AVB marketing articles:

http://www.commercialintegrator.com/topic/tag/AVB

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post #13 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 06:47 AM
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Private sector bridging might be an interesting area to watch I agree. I have already thought of the fact that even though my one and only current need is to pipe the video from a single tuner output from it's source to other receivers on my local net, that there is little stopping someone from opening a port on their network and sending this stream out over the internet. I would never need to do this (in fact I already do have a slingbox that accomplishes this) but it's an easy thing to do.

In my research after reading this thread I have started looking for "HD over IP" and discovered very quickly that it also goes by "TV over IP" over simply IPTV. I have also enough background to realize that at gigabit speeds, loss-less IPTV can not be achieved at Gigabit Ethernet speeds however it's close enough to reality to be very useful if a bit of compression is used in the transmitting module. Uncompressed signals would require 10GbE minimum... or HDMI over Ethernet (dedicated CAT6 required not using IP).

Great link and I see some links on that page that are of direct interest to me. Thank you very much. Have a great day! smile.gif
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post #14 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 07:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvino View Post

In my research after reading this thread I have started looking for "HD over IP" and discovered very quickly that it also goes by "TV over IP" over simply IPTV.

Those are really different things... They both send HD-quality video over Ethernet, but are otherwise very, very different in implementation...
Quote:
I have also enough background to realize that at gigabit speeds, loss-less IPTV can not be achieved at Gigabit Ethernet speeds however it's close enough to reality to be very useful if a bit of compression is used in the transmitting module. Uncompressed signals would require 10GbE minimum... or HDMI over Ethernet (dedicated CAT6 required not using IP).

Neither of these technologies send uncompressed video. Both encode / compress video so that it easily fits on a Gigabit pipe. Just for comparison, a Blu-Ray disc won't exceed 50Mb/s of bandwidth coming off the media - so from a quality perspective it's not a concern. ATSC broadcasts are 19.2Mb/s, and a typical MPEG4 HDTV stream coming from cable/sat can be under 5Mb/s these days...

Jeff


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post #15 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 07:40 AM
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Maybe I don't have enough background. lol. Anyway, I was simply considering that uncompressed 1080P is about 1920x1080 pixels, each one represented by about 4 bytes of color information, multiplied by 30 frames per second, gives you a figure of about 1.9-Billion bits per second... again, uncompressed and raw. Almost any form of compression should get this figure down quite a bit I would imagine.

I'm surprised there is not a ready-made solution for this on the market already in the $40 range for either the transmitter or the receiver.... or is there? I'd be willing to pay more, but really all I need it a single transmitter and up to about 8 receivers, all on the same local network. I also need it to play nice on my network using IP. Still looking.
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post #16 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 07:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvino View Post

Maybe I don't have enough background. lol. Anyway, I was simply considering that uncompressed 1080P is about 1920x1080 pixels, each one represented by about 4 bytes of color information, multiplied by 30 frames per second, gives you a figure of about 1.9-Billion bits per second... again, uncompressed and raw. Almost any form of compression should get this figure down quite a bit I would imagine.

Yeah, nothing outside of the studio gear transmits digital video without compression. Think about the satellite links, for example...
Quote:
I'm surprised there is not a ready-made solution for this on the market already in the $40 range for either the transmitter or the receiver.... or is there? I'd be willing to pay more, but really all I need it a single transmitter and up to about 8 receivers, all on the same local network. I also need it to play nice on my network using IP. Still looking.

There should be, but "content protection" in the digital age has prevented this. Otherwise streaming a Blu-ray image from a player / server somewhere in the house to any display would be a simple exercise these days...

JustAddPower is the closest thing we have that is content-agnostic. Anything you can feed the JAP encoder (component video input) can be sent to any number of receivers. It's just 20x the cost target you mention above. biggrin.gif


Jeff


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post #17 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Yeah, nothing outside of the studio gear transmits digital video without compression. Think about the satellite links, for example...
There should be, but "content protection" in the digital age has prevented this. Otherwise streaming a Blu-ray image from a player / server somewhere in the house to any display would be a simple exercise these days...

JustAddPower is the closest thing we have that is content-agnostic. Anything you can feed the JAP encoder (component video input) can be sent to any number of receivers. It's just 20x the cost target you mention above. biggrin.gif


Jeff

Are you aware of any "do-it-yourself" designs that accomplish this? I do in fact design systems and boards. I'm thinking one of the compression IC's on the market along with a network interface chip and an adjacent ARM processor could accomplish what I want (if I were to do it myself it's a year long project).
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post #18 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by Alvino View Post

Are you aware of any "do-it-yourself" designs that accomplish this? I do in fact design systems and boards. I'm thinking one of the compression IC's on the market along with a network interface chip and an adjacent ARM processor could accomplish what I want (if I were to do it myself it's a year long project).

There are plenty of mixed-bag solutions using various software components and media streamer 'receiver' products. Look in the HTPC and Media Streamer forums and you'll see a whole bunch of them. But all depends on what you want to accomplish, and what 'content' is included. And how much work you want to spend on it. But "from scratch", you're off on your scope by a few man-decades... biggrin.gif


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post #19 of 22 Old 04-24-2013, 05:26 PM
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Thumbing through a trade magazine today, I saw AV over IP devices from Matrox and Black Box.

I also see Dante mentioned often, as a standard, for commercial applications. http://www.audinate.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=91. Many device ads mention Dante, but I don't know much about it.

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post #20 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 09:43 PM
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My house has been under construction for 10 months now and I've been wrestling the whole time with buying an 8 x 8 HDBaseT matrix. I really DON'T want to do it, but for my use case of distributing to 6 tvs it seemed like I was going to have to do it. Now that Tivo Mini is out (pretty close to the IP solution you mentioned) I am excited about not going through the complexity of matrix and IR distribution. I was already planning on buying two Tivo Premieres so adding 4 Tivo Minis at a total cost of $1000 sounds a lot better than the $8000 I was looking at for the 8 x 8 matrix. More importantly it's a much simpler solution.

I am planning on buying a second router for my rack and running a separate subnet for the Tivo traffic. It might not effect my other IP traffic on a single subnet, but it will be nice to segment and know that if my laptop internet connection is slow it's not because somebody is watching tv.
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post #21 of 22 Old 04-25-2013, 10:26 PM
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I am planning on buying a second router for my rack and running a separate subnet for the Tivo traffic. It might not effect my other IP traffic on a single subnet, but it will be nice to segment and know that if my laptop internet connection is slow it's not because somebody is watching tv.

A second router probably doesn't help. Any decent gigabit switch would do fine, separate subnets won't affect the traffic between the TiVo Minis / XL vs. your Internet connection because they aren't on the same switch links anyway. Putting all the TiVos on a switch with a single uplink to the rest of the house network would be a better answer, although none of this will be an issue. Those are 10/100Mb devices serving up mostly <10Mbs streams to each other.

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post #22 of 22 Old 04-26-2013, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by jautor View Post

Avoiding set-top box rental fees can help offset the cost of A/V distribution, but the break-even on that alone can be many, many years...

...

Wiring issues, heat, etc. are all issues regardless. Having the equipment in one place, though, means those issues can be addressed once, instead of multiple places...

The built-in DirecTV RVU client in forthcoming Samsung TVs and the cable-industry equivalent (AllVid?) may make a lot of A/V distribution unnecessary. The latest "whole house DVR" solutions will also solve this issue. Having either a small box mounted behind the TV, or build into the set to access DVR'ed content and streaming Internet services is the future. But that's not available yet - coming soon...

With the current distribution systems, there is no break-even. It's for the control and the capability, not for the cost. Plus on the cable side, you can buy all your hardware and break-even in less than 4 years.

Wiring and heat issues are basically issues created by centralizing the equipment.

I wonder if RVU or AllVid will ever work with every device out there, like an HTPC, Roku, Apple TV, etc, so the point where everything can just run over a single LAN. That would be the ultimate.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

I've held off on the matrix switch/distributed video option myself. I'm itching to switch from comcast to DirecTV, for their shared DVR service. We currently use only 1 TV with any frequency, but as my kids get older, I have plans for 5 locations. I've left the option for DV though, adding the cables when feasible (kitchen and basement remodels).

TiVo is even better, and works with cable. DirecTV, however, offers better programming options than most cable companies.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Neurorad View Post

After some thought, I think hiding all equipment is the biggest reason for distributed video.


For a home theater, I think a visible rack of equipment could add to the aesthetic, but I wouldn't want equipment visible anywhere else. Of course, that's an ideal. Looking through pics of family rooms, MBRs, and 'media rooms' featured in online and print interior decorating, architectural, and pro installation publications, one doesn't EVER see the equipment - at least in the high end designs. That's what I'm shooting for, long term.

The secondary locations may benefit from hiding the equipment, but for any TV that's on a piece of furniture, the furniture will hide the stuff. The Standout Designs stuff will hide quite a bit of it too. There's no reason that a couple of components nicely organized and wired have to look bad.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Alvino View Post

Private sector bridging might be an interesting area to watch I agree. I have already thought of the fact that even though my one and only current need is to pipe the video from a single tuner output from it's source to other receivers on my local net, that there is little stopping someone from opening a port on their network and sending this stream out over the internet. I would never need to do this (in fact I already do have a slingbox that accomplishes this) but it's an easy thing to do.

In my research after reading this thread I have started looking for "HD over IP" and discovered very quickly that it also goes by "TV over IP" over simply IPTV. I have also enough background to realize that at gigabit speeds, loss-less IPTV can not be achieved at Gigabit Ethernet speeds however it's close enough to reality to be very useful if a bit of compression is used in the transmitting module. Uncompressed signals would require 10GbE minimum... or HDMI over Ethernet (dedicated CAT6 required not using IP).

Great link and I see some links on that page that are of direct interest to me. Thank you very much. Have a great day! smile.gif

Just Add Power is doing 140mbps over Gigabit Ethernet, which is more than enough to preserve even Blu-ray signals.
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