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:

image

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.

image

Our next generation setup may look like:

image

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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