With its third generation technology, DigitalMedia 8G+ enables transmission of uncompressed 1080p/60 digital video up to 330 feet using standard unshielded CAT5e wire.  Photo Courtesy of Crestron

For a company that helped pioneer technology for transmitting uncompressed high definition (HD) video with one wire over long distances, you can see pride and excitement in its news that Crestron’s third-generation technology, called DigitalMedia 8G+, enables transmission of uncompressed 1080p/60 digital video up to 330 feet using standard unshielded CAT5e wire.

Several years ago, the firm’s engineers began with a vision to create a solution to transmit uncompressed, content-protected, HD digital video long distance over a single wire so residential-focused electronic systems contractors (ESCs) could run through walls and conduit and terminate in the field. Another part of the vision: to transmit any mix of analog and digital audio/visual (AV) signals, high-speed Ethernet to support streaming media and IR/Serial control up to 100 meters using standard CAT5e cable. For longer distances, a fiber solution would be developed.

HDMI had proved to be more multi-layered and sophisticated than originally anticipated, with its mandate to manage other signal paths and data streams.

So, following development of new software and equipment for testing and diagnostics, Crestron introduced DigitalMedia to transmit uncompressed HD digital signals combined with analog AV signals, data, control and high speed Ethernet on a single wire. The original solution used chipsets from five different vendors, and while using a single jacketed cable, required three separate terminated wires.

There were detractors. Analog pioneers scoffed and denied the need for a digital solution. But Crestron engineers continued to work on a standard UTP solution for uncompressed HD digital AV. One corner-turner: Valens Semiconductor approached Crestron with the idea of a new chipset. At that time, the chipset reduced cabling requirements down to just one wire, but still required an engineered, shielded twisted pair wire to guarantee reliable performance.

The two firms formed an exclusive partnership to refine the approach to deliver a true UTP solution for full 1080p HDMI. Then a firmware version passed a set of tests.

The latest chipset is just the foundation on DigitalMedia is built. It is a complete, modular single platform solution, which distributes all analog and digital audio and video signals, plus Gigabit Ethernet, USB and control -- not just HDMI -- all through a single matrix (rather than several independent switchers that require transcoding) over a single wire. It switches any signal to any and all displays without compression, manages all the HDCP, EDID and CEC automatically, and provides software tools necessary for installation and troubleshooting for the ESCs.