We haven't checked on the HDBaseT Alliance in a few years, but now its 5-in-1 Ethernet cable spec is getting a second revision. HDBaseT already crams virtually any HD source and signal -- and power! -- into one connection, and 2.0's biggest addition to the mix is USB 2.0 support. Manufacturers can now remove the multiple interfaces and conversion components the previous spec required, driving down prices and requirements for hardware like Pioneer's $3,000 A/V receiver. Beyond that, this new version brings control point-capability and networking into its single cable-party. Until now, this tech has been aimed primarily at professional installers and dedicated enthusiasts, but the new spec's focus on user friendliness and lower cost could bring more of us to the whole-house media bandwagon. Finally, surround sound for the bathroom delivered by a single network cable is within our reach.

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BEAVERTON, Ore. - August 13, 2013 - The HDBaseT Alliance today releases the specifications for HDBaseT 2.0, making the latest version of the HDBaseT technology available to manufacturers of professional AV and consumer electronics products. The new HDBaseT HomePlay feature set, based on the HDBaseT 5Play capabilities, will make it simpler and more cost-effective for consumers to turn their entire homes into multimedia entertainment centers.

"Over the last three years, HDBaseT has become the digital connectivity standard for professional AV installations, and we have leveraged our experience working with the pros to ensure that HDBaseT 2.0 will enable consumers to enjoy the same benefits and user experience: highest video quality, reliability and multi-room support all over a single inexpensive cable," said Micha Risling, marketing chair of the HDBaseT Alliance. "HomePlay, as defined in the new HDBaseT 2.0 specification, features an elegant, affordable plug-and-play solution that will allow the average consumer to experience the same multimedia benefits of HDBaseT that the professionals have become accustomed to."

HomePlay: the Evolution of Connected Home Entertainment

HDBaseT 2.0 represents the evolution of both multimedia entertainment and Ethernet technology.

"The HDBaseT 2.0 specification defines the required adaptations across all seven layers of the Open system Interconnection (OSI) model to support time-sensitive, high throughput video/audio and other time sensitive applications," said Eyran Lyda, HDBaseT Technical Committee chairperson. "The HomePlay switch is designed to provide all required services for the multimedia home."

While HDBaseT 1.0 only addresses the Physical and Data Link layers, HDBaseT 2.0 adds networking, switching and control point capabilities. HDBaseT 2.0 also defines point-to-multi point connectivity, providing multi-stream support. HDBaseT 1.0 defined a point-to-point connectivity standard.

Spec 2.0 also adds inherent support for USB 2.0, and other native interfaces which enable manufacturers to remove multiple interfaces and conversion components required for HDBaseT 1.0 products. The result is a smaller and a simpler-to- implement switch, which means vendors can produce HDBaseT switches with a consumer-friendly price tag.

"The key to making HDBaseT more cost effective for consumers and professionals is making the HDBaseT-enabled components more affordable, and the new features HDBaseT 2.0 offers will help manufacturers do just that," added Risling.

HDBaseT 1.0 was defined to support the transmission of the 5Play feature set (video, audio, Ethernet, power and controls) and Spec 2.0 establishes the specification that will allow HDBaseT - HomePlay switches to control and distribute multimedia across consumers' homes.

For more information on HDBaseT 2.0, please visit www.hdbaset.org.

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HDBaseT 2.0 spec makes the all-in-one home theater cable better, cheaper