Apogee Inc., a manufacturer of AV and computer related products, has announced the long awaited Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter that also sports USB digital audio to be added to the Kanex series of adapters for DVI, VGA and HDMI. Due to this new adapter, the newer MacBooks with mini DisplayPorts can be connected to a HD source a lot easier and have digital audio output through the same adapter.
Opinions about the first Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter without audio where mixed up. The ones that needed it for applications that didn’t require audio were satisfied with it, while the others were criticizing that exact lack. They were complaining about the multiple cables they had to use besides the adapter, like a 3.5mm to RCA to output audio from their MacBooks.
Another problem with the original Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter was with certain HDTV models that ignore all other audio outputs when a HDMI is plugged in, therefore lacking sound. An alternative solution that many used was routing a separate audio system with their HDTV. The new Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter was developed to meet new users’ requests and solve the problems that older ones confronted.
Users kept wondering why isn’t it possible to have audio as well coming through the adapter, since HDMI supports both audio and video signals. The new adapter sports digital audio that is output through the USB ports from the MacBooks. USB audio was built-in the adapter with HDMI output to allow the audio to pass through. Actually, two USB 2.0 ports are also located very conveniently, next to the Mini DisplayPort to allow easy access to plug both cables in.
Specifications are still similar to those of the old Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter, which is still in version 1.3b and supports resolutions of up to 1080p. It even looks similar to the current adapter, with the only noticeable difference for the new one will be the extra USB cable next to it. The new adapter also supports uncompressed audio such as LPCM. Release date for the Mini DisplayPort to HDMI adapter with USB audio was stated around Sep. 2009. No other product information, availability or pricing was currently announced.
We all know what a HDMI cable is. We also know how much fun we can have with high quality gaming devices or HDTVs. You should know that all Xbox models (Xbox 360 Arcade, Xbox 360, and Xbox 360 Elite), PS 3, Satellite receivers, Blu Ray DVD players, etc ship with HDMI. If you want to enjoy the benefits of this revolutionizing technology, you will definitely need a HDMI cable.
One of the main benefits of this technology is the quality of image. Until HDMI appeared, digital sources sent signals through analog cables, downconverting the signal. The HDMI cable works with digital signals so it will offer a superior and cleaner image. Another main benefit is that a HDMI cable is a single cable carrying both audio and video signals.
Now, HDMI cables are pricy, so you need to find one of the cheapest while still keeping an eye on quality. We have just found the perfect HDMI cable for any of your HD sources. I must admit we were a little surprised of its price and performances. It supports resolutions of up to 1080P, which is astonishing at just £3.49
Nowadays, the latest car models that arrive on the market are much more complex than any previous such products, incorporating a host of functions and features nobody would have thought possible a couple of years ago. However, such complex solutions require the right cabling in order to work, and that’s exactly what connectivity-expert Molex is offering with its new HSAutoLink, described as an emerging high-speed data bus for vehicles.
According to the company, the high speed data bus connector and cabling system encompasses technologies incorporated from other Molex high volume products and industry standard applications such as Universal Serial Bus (USB 2.0), Low Voltage Differential Signaling (LVDS), 1394 Auto (FireWire), FlexRay and Ethernet (AVB).
Furthermore, it’s important to mention the fact that the HSAutoLink cabling system is specified to allow for positive latching and connection to a media module within the vehicle. This connection links with the media module, allowing a digital-signal to convert to a vehicle’s more traditional-analog signal, enabling the use of devices such as MP3 players, flash drives, SD Cards, and portable navigation systems.
Additionally, the full-length cable shielding provides superior signal performance and reduced Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), while the fact that Molex is offering three primary cable configurations, along with keyed right angle and vertical headers, allows integration engineers to more easily incorporate the HSAutoLink connector system into the electrical design of new vehicles.
“HSAutoLink is Molex’s initial product offering that leverages its vast technology capabilities to support automakers as they enable the connected vehicle,” said Mike Gardner, technical marketing manager for comfort and infotainment, Molex Incorporated. “We packaged an economical and widely deployed five-pin shielded interconnect system from the consumer market into a more rugged connector system to meet automakers mechanical requirements and the electrical demands of these high speed links at price points needed to enable acceptance and wide deployment of Telematics and Infotainment systems.”
Of course, it remains to be seen just how soon this solution will actually be installed in future cars, but it’s very likely that this will happen over the next couple of years.
Given the fact that modern applications require cables (any type of cable, really) to be quite long and flexible, in order to enable a high level of versatility during use, more and more manufacturers of such components are starting to improve on their design. And that’s also the case with W. L. Gore that has just released a flat flexible cable with a total width of 300 mm, which also offers quite an impressive estimated functioning life on the side.
Thus, this new, 300 mm wide, flat flexible cable offers a long lifetime of more than 150 million bending cycles, together with further excellent properties, such as suitability for clean room use and the possibility of stacking (several cables can be stacked on top of each other). The use of PTFE (Polytetrafluoride) as the insulation material of Gore cables and also of other high quality plastics and materials ensures that these cable constructions will take their place as further highlights in the Gore cable product assortment, which includes shielded/unshielded power and signal, video, Ethernet, IEEE 1394 and fiber optic cables.
In fact, Gore’s announcement doesn’t really come as a surprise, given the company’s expertise in configuring the versatile polymer PTFE. This has resulted in numerous products for various ranges of applications, such as electronic signal transmission, fabric laminates, medical implants, as well as membrane, filtration, sealant, and fiber technologies for diverse industries.
Sadly, no information has been provided regarding the exact moment when these ultra-flat and very flexible cables make their appearance into various real-life products and devices, but it’s very likely that this moment is not far away.
Despite the fact that the specs for USB 3.0 have been around for quite some time now, it was generally believed up until recently that the first devices to make use of this high-speed descendant of the Universal Serial Bus would not appear on the market by 2010. However, it would seem that the predictions were a little wrong, at least as long as Japanese company Buffalo is concerned.
Hence, Buffalo has recently released a new line of connectivity products, namely the BSUAB series, which includes USB cables that are compliant with the USB 3.0 specification. This means that they can attain theoretical data transfer rates of up to 5Gbps, which is absolutely fantastic, compared to their USB 2.0 counterparts, which can go as fast as 480 Mbps.
Curiously enough, during pretty much the same time frame, we caught word of the first computer motherboard to incorporate USB 3.0 ports making an appearance, and we’re talking here about ASUS’ P6X58 Premium model. Nice coincidence, indeed.
Anyway, getting back to the cables, it’s also important to mention the fact that they feature a special internal design, meant to reduce interference as much as possible, as well as USB A-type connector on one end and a USB B-type connector on the other. Weight depends on the length of the cable, the 1-meter version weighing around 63 grams, while the 3-meter one goes as high as 141 grams.
For those of you who don’t really know what the USB 3.0 is all about, here it is: it features the SuperSpeed bus and a technology similar to the PCI Express 2.0. It represents the fourth major iteration in the history of this connectivity solution, following the introduction of the USB 1.0 in 1996 by a group of companies consisting of Intel, Compaq, Microsoft, Digital, IBM, and Northern Telecom and followed by USB 1.1 and USB 2.0, in April 2000. Then, the USB 3.0 specification was released on November 17, 2008 by USB 3.0 Promoter Group.
While KVM switches are not exactly a hot subject (after all, they’ve been around for quite some time now, and, in spite of being some pretty useful products, they’re not particularly exciting), from time to time, we happen to come across a product of this type worthy of attention. And, to tell you the truth, this is the case with the latest product of this type launched by StarTech, which brings the DisplayPort technology to the world of KVM switches.
Aptly called the 2-Port USB DisplayPort KVM Switch, the device delivers multi-computer control for demanding high-resolution multimedia applications, or computer environments requiring true high definition capability. So, the gadget supports DisplayPort connections with a native resolution of 2560 x 1600 (@60 Hz, 30 bpp), as well as 7.1 HD digital audio (when connected to supporting displays and sources).
Furthermore, it can be easily installed pretty much wherever the user might want, as well as carried around quite easily, given the fact that it measures 126 mm x 65 mm x 40 mm, and weighs somewhere in the vicinity of 420 grams.
This versatile KVM switch features three Plug-and-Play USB console ports, including two dedicated peripheral (mouse and keyboard) ports and one USB 2.0 hub port – enabling users to share a USB mouse and keyboard, and one USB 2.0 peripheral between the two connected computers. Moreover, it sports both front-panel push-button and hotkey switching and offers a small form factor design with connection ports situated on the rear panel, allowing you to eliminate workspace disruptions.
Some love it others loath it but despite what you think more than 340 Million people are now using HDMI connectivity as their preferred connection technology. More than 394 million HDMI-enabled devices will ship in 2009 claims the HDMI Licensing organisation creating an installed base of 1 billion devices, says In-Stat. But the successful HDMI standard is about to be upgraded to Version 1.4.
The HDMI spec is chasing added functionality by consumer electronics and PC makers. Says Steve Venuti, president of HDMI Licensing LLC, “The 1.4 specification will support some of the most exciting and powerful near-term innovations such as Ethernet connectivity and 3D formats. Additionally we are going to broaden our solution by providing a smaller connector for portable devices and a connection system specified for automobiles, as we see both more and different devices adopting the HDMI technology.”
You can expect to see new HDMI 1.4 cables when new HDMI 1.4 devices become available. Here are some of the most notable new features:
• Standard HDMI Cable – supports data rates up to 1080i/60
• High Speed HDMI Cable – supports data rates beyond 1080p, including Deep Color and all 3D formats of the new 1.4 spec
• Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet
• High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet
• Automotive HDMI Cable – to connect external HDMI-enabled devices to an in-vehicle HDMI device
The HDMI 1.4 spec will add a data channel to the HDMI cable to enable high-speed bi-directional communication. Connected devices with this feature can send and receive data via 100 Mb/sec Ethernet (making them instantly ready for any IP-based application).
The HDMI Ethernet Channel will allow an internet-enabled HDMI device to share its Internet connection with other HDMI devices without the need for a separate Ethernet cable. The new feature allows HDMI-enabled devices to share content between devices, too.
The new version will add an Audio Return Channel to reduce the number of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback. In cases where HDTVs are directly receiving AV content, the Audio Return Channel allows the HDTV to send the audio stream to the AV receiver over the HDMI cable (eliminates need for an extra cable).
The new 1.4 version defines common 3D formats and resolutions for HDMI-enabled devices. For 3D Over HDMI , the spec will standardize the input/output portion of the home 3D system and will specify up to dual-stream 1080p resolution.
HDMI devices will be able to support HD resolutions at 4X the resolution of 1080p. Support for 4K x 2K lets the HDMI interface transmit content at the same resolution as many digital theaters. Formats supported include:
• 3840×2160 24Hz/25Hz/30Hz
• 4096×2160 24Hz
Other enhanced functionalities in the spec include:
• expanded support for color spaces specifically for digital still cameras, including YCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601
• a Micro HDMI 19-pin connector supporting up to 1080p resolutions for portable devices and about 50% smaller than the extant HDMI Micro Connector
• an Automotive Connection System cabling spec for in-vehicle HD content distribution, (specified resistance levels to heat, vibration and noise)
When you live next to a place that offers wireless Internet for free but you have to actually be there in order to use it, it can be pretty distressing. Sure, you can use a Wi-Fi adapter but those devices usually don’t have such a long range and you might find yourself still not being able to receive the desired wireless signal. hField Technologies has come up with the Wi-Fire; however, a very long ranged high-performance USB Wi-Fi Adapter that is a lot smaller and lighter.
And by a lot smaller and lighter, I mean 40 percent smaller and about 30 percent lighter. It features an integrated directional antenna, which paired with proprietary software and a highly sensitive receiver, promises to allow better reception of wireless signals. Users will thus benefit from greater range and increased mobility. Not to mention the fact that they will be able to maintain higher speeds at a higher range with no noticeable decrease.
“Wi-Fire is the perfect device – light weight and easy to use – for the seriously mobile computer user with high bandwidth needs, and those who have problems connecting to their regular wireless network because of distance, obstacles or other interference,” said Tom DiClemente, hField’s CEO. “We’re dedicated to empowering people to connect better, faster and more economically.”
The new Wi-Fire will also feature hField’s Connection Manager 2.2 software for Windows and the WCM 1.1 for Mac. As for Linux, for most of its iterations out there, it will be as simple as plug and play. The MSRP for hField’s Wi-Fire long range Wi-Fi adapter is set at just 59 USD. Pretty good for a portable, long-range device that allows you to better connect to wireless hotspots outside of your bedroom window.
The cheapest way to get online using your mobile phone (or PDA, laptop or any other mobile device) is without a doubt going out and hunting for unprotected Wi-Fi hotspots. You know, those places that offer free wireless connectivity because someone forgot to password protect his or her shared wireless connection. Well, Wireless Matrix has just released its integrated 3G cellular, GPS and wireless LAN platform, the Communicator 1000, especially designed for the need of mobile connectivity.
Say you own a mobile company and usually send your field operators all around town in order to take care of customer requests. They will definitely require “on the spot” connectivity in order to get the necessary information so as to solve the problem. Well, if they have the Communicator 1000 installed on their vehicle, that will surely not be a problem.
“The Communicator 1000 is a powerful platform for fleet operators seeking the highest value from their vehicles and technicians,” said J. Richard Carlson, president and CEO of Wireless Matrix. “The added ability to refresh the Communicator 1000 with emerging technologies makes it the superior choice for companies that want a future-proof solution for managing their service chain.”
The C1000 is field upgradeable and expandable and its firmware updates itself automatically. It comes with a lot of extra modules, Wireless Matrix’s FleetOutlook for real-time vehicle management and the TechConnect two-way messaging and navigation module. The Communicator 1000 supports communications between 802.11G and 4G technologies such as LTE and WiMAX and it is certified for Verizon Wireless EvDO Rev-A and AT&T’s HSUPA networks.
The super sensitive 50-channel GPS receiver offers accurate vehicle tracking and positioning. It is definitely a great device for technicians. No pricing has been released, though it is no surprise if we are to take into account the fact that the C1000 is not exactly aimed at the usual consumer.
High Definition digital video allows users to experience high resolution, near perfect video content. Asmore content is delivered digitally, the content creators are increasingly concerned with content piracy because digital content can be perfectly duplicated. Therefore anti-piracy safeguards such, as High Bandwidth Content Protection (HDCP) is necessary in order for original content creators to protect their assets. In this article we will touch on the key points of HDCP.
What is HDCP
High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection,HDCP, is an encryption scheme developed to defend against uncontrolled copying of digital content over high bandwidth digital interconnects such as DVI and the HDMI. The FCC approved HDCP as a “Digital Output Protection Technology” on August 4th,2004. A HDCP protected system consists of: 1) HDCP transmitter(DVD player for example), 2) the digital interface (DVI orHDMI), and 3) the HDCP receiver (your display monitor). Inbrief, the content is encrypted at the transmitter and the signal is passed to the HDCP receiver (display) via the DDC lines (in essence an I2C bus) where it is decrypted before viewing. HDCP requires that both the transmitter and the receiver comply with standards. If either one does not comply,the video will not be displayed properly. Incidentally, HDCP does not apply to analog interface such as component video although component video can be used to display high definition video.
Why should the consumer care about HDCP
It is highly recommended that consumers be aware of HDCP and purchase sets that are HDCP compliant. Here is why. It has been speculated that the two competing high definition DVD standards HD DVD, and BLUE RAY, due out in 2006 will only deliver full resolution on HDCP protected outputs such as HDMI or DVI. If true, then usersmust have a HDCP monitor in order to experience full resolution HD DVD technology. Therefore it is prudent for the consumer to select HDCP compliant displays so the display can be used with future applications.
What is involved during a HDCP session
HDCP is a complicated process but can be broken down to 3 key functions: Authentication, Encryption, and Renewability
The first step before video is actually sent is for the HDCP transmitter to determine if the receiver is “authorized” to accept HDCP protected content. Stored in the PROM of each transmitter and receiver is an array of 40, 56-bit secret keys and a 40-bit entity called Key Selection Vector. Authentication requires that the transmitter and receiver pair exchange “secret keys” and key selection vectors. The keys are scrambled and never revealed. The mathbehind the encryption allows each half to calculate a resultant number, call it Rs, based on the key exchanges. The Rs value is then shared and compared. If the Rs value matches, the receiver is accepted as an authorized HDCP receiver and video transmission can start.
Once authentication is completed, transmission of the video content can commence. To prevent an unauthorized receiver from receiving the content, the video data must be encrypted prior to transmission. At the transmitter end, the video data bits are exclusive-ored with ashared calculated number lets call it Rt ( Rt is similar to howRs was calculated) and sent to the receiver. At the receiver end the encrypted data is again exclusive-ored with Rt. Since the XOR function is invertible, XORing with the same Rt at the receiver end will reveal the true unscrambled video bits. Incidentally, a new Rt value is calculated about every 2 secondto prevent corruption due to hacking.
HDTV technology is changing rapidly. Content providers need to protect against piracy by implementing HDCP. HDCP and digital connection standards such as HDMI will become the de facto standard for digital video connections. We have outlined the important features of HDCP, so the consumer can make intelligent purchasing decisions.