Standards Update: AV Disruptors and 8K

David Meyer | Mar 10, 2020

There was a time when the year 2020 sounded far-off and futuristic, but here we are. We’re definitely in a time of fast technological evolution and disruption, and a whole lot of social trends that influence what we want and do. At CEDIA we continue to keep a close eye on technology and standards news and updates.

The AV Distribution Disruption

This sounds like a title from an episode of The Big Bang Theory, but it is a big deal that impacts most technology system designers and integrators. At ISE, CEDIA hosted a “Death Match” panel discussion about HDMI, HDBaseT, AV-over-IP and optical fiber as methods for AV transport and distribution, which benefitted the full room of attendees and panelists alike, including updates to standards.
At CES in January HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. announced the new Ultra High Speed cable label, the big news being mandatory individual cable testing (it was optional before). But at press time there is still no HDMI 2.1 Compliance Test Specification (CTS) on which to base these tests, so don’t expect to see these cables in the market just yet.
There’s some HDBaseT news too, with the Alliance Board having just approved Specification 3.0 which supports the equivalent of 18Gbps HDMI uncompressed, and selectable transmit or receive functions. Several manufacturers are already prototyping the new tech, with some working samples demonstrated at ISE.
Meanwhile, AV-over-IP continues its growth, particularly in the commercial space. Interestingly, manufacturers’ proprietary approaches and innovations drive this category more so than standards, with SDVoE the only multi-vendor solution.
For more, check out the recently-released white paper, “AV-over-IP Systems,” and the upcoming “HDBaseT for 4K and 8K HDR Video,” available through cedia.net.

The real benefits of 8K come (ironically) not with 8K content, but with a display’s onboard processing. 

8K Video

Michael Heiss of M Heiss Consulting, and co-founder of CEDIA’s Technology Advisory Council, shared some news from the February HPA Tech Retreat in LA. Warner Bros and some other studios teamed up to conduct a consumer test of the benefits of 8K video. Using 88-inch displays with viewers seated at typical distances, a variety of 4K and 8K HDR content was played.
Overall “8K was, at best, rated ‘slightly better’ than 4K, although the majority found 4K and 8K to be the same.” Those with better than 20/20 vision were more likely to see the difference, but even then it was only moderate.
So the real benefits of 8K come (ironically) not with 8K content, but with a display’s onboard processing grunt and ability to upscale lower resolution content. If 4K looks almost as good as 8K, hey, I’ll take that!

CEDIA/CTA Standards Reaffirmed

This is a reminder regarding  two longstanding and important CTA/CEDIA Standards, both of which were reviewed and reaffirmed by the ANSI accredited joint R10 residential systems standards body in 2019:
  • ANSI/CTA/CEDIA-863-B R-2019: Connection Color Codes for Home Theater Systems
  • ANSI/CTA/CEDIA-2030-A R-2019: Multi-Room Audio Cabling Standard
Most of R10’s work is on recommended practices, but these two are actual standards. If you’re not familiar with them it would be a great idea to become so, as they could add further compliance and integrity to your projects and workflows.
R10 has multiple projects on the go at any given time. There’s always lots to learn and amazing people to meet, so if you’re interested in contributing please contact the CEDIA Technology and Standards team at standards@cedia.org.