Hardware Upgrade Consultation...?

  • Hello!

    My theatre company recently got a nice little grant for technology upgrades. I would like to upgrade my main projection computer as well as my output system. I've been designing projections in Izzy for quite a while, always stretching the capacity of my system, but try as I might, I cannot seem to turn myself into a true gear head. I was wondering if there was anyone out there who might consider a paid consultancy on the right gear for my needs. I do have some specific concerns which are mainly that we tour (on a budget) so I need mobility, but I also often end up running very long cables from computer to projectors and usually multiple projectors. For our last show I ran projections over Cat 6, which I really liked, but I don't see a lot of discussion of that on the Forums and so I wonder if there are better ways to go. Please let me know if anybody is interested in this. I don't think it would be a ton of time, but I don't want to put myself in danger of wasting the grant money on the wrong stuff.

    I hope to hear from somebody.



  • Tech Staff


    Where are you based?

    P.S. I love extending signal over Cat6 (just make sure it's either shielded Cat6 or that you're not crossing power cables so you don't get signal interference).

  • @woland -- Hi there...I'm based in Detroit, MI. Thanks for the Cat 6 tips...didn't think about the power interference...luckily it didn't come up during the show!

  • Tech Staff


    I also really like Cat because, though the extenders are expensive, they let you go further than 50' (where most cables like HDMI or DVI need a booster/repeater/active cable to go further than 50'). Also, Cat6 is light and dirt cheap, so it's easier to replace than a damaged HDMI or DVI cable.

    There are those who swear by extending over SDI, but I haven't ever had the opportunity to try it. I'm sure someone on the forum has though and could chime in as to their experiences with it.

  • @woland I do SDI and it is my preference, but I use a lot of CAT as well, but the cat based extension systems differ a lot, there is some cheap stuff and then real HDBaseT. The cheap stuff is not really worth using. The only problem with HDBaseT is that is re-encodes the video and gets rid of data. You will see that almost all HDBaseT is fixed at 4:2:0 colour compression. SDI conversions will not do any comprression, they just re-wrap the data, and if you send 422 or 444, that is what comes out at the other end. Cable is a bit more picky, although HDBaseT at 75m is also pretty picky and good tactical cat6 sftp (the sheilded kind) that has a good rubberized cover and does not kink will cost the same or more than the equivalent 3GSDI cable. The biggest advantage of the HDBaseT systems is the good ones (eg lightware) can be powered from either end and they can also carry a network connection so you can control the projector as well. Some projectors (late model panasonic) also have a direct HDBaseT input (but these models often have HDSDI as well), which also carries the network signal for control which is pretty cool, there are even HDBaseT matrixes. As a rule pretty although you can get functioning systems, HDMI or DVI should not go over 5m passively, active stuff is mostly consumer orientated and although some of it is good, with cat or SDI you can put a new tip on a cable in less than 5 mins, this is important for pros, and makes it worth investing in good cable.