Audio-Video: HDMI vs. HD-SDI

For the last two years, I have been webcasting.  By webcasting, I and a bunch of my buddies have been presenting on various Microsoft technologies using Lync as the communication medium.  Its been great.  We have slowly progressed from using a basic webcam to using higher end HD cameras. 

One of the lessons that I learned and wanted to share and hopefully save you some time/money is the decision of whether to go HDMI or HD-SDI as the connection between your video cameras and your video switchers and the Lync PC.

My current broadcasting setup is something like:


Everything is connected via HDMI.  It was a step up from my webcam plugged into my computer.  However, I am encountering some issues with using HDMI to connect my components which are: 

  • HDMI has no locking mechanism so the cables fallout or get loose. 
  • There appears to be a distance limitation with HDMI.  I have had to position the cameras a distance from the video switcher (25 feet).  It doesn’t work well.  The video sometimes goes jittery or black or drops out on a recurring basis.

Thus, we are planning to switch everything to HD-SDI.  HD-SDI has a locking BNC connector type of connection.  This will secure the cables to the devices and also allow us to have longer cable runs.


Our next generation setup may look like:


We are switching all the cables runs to SDI if possible.  The output from most computers nowadays are some form of HDMI so we are planning to get HDMI/SDI converters.  This would allow us to support the scenario of the computer on the podium at the front of the room with the HDMI/SDI converter.  The converter would connect using SDI to the video switcher at the back of the room . 

If you are planning this kind of implementation, I would recommend saving yourself the pain/money and go directly to SDI for your connection.

If you want to see my webcasts, I have posted the webcasts to Youtube (Dean Youtube Channel)

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