Looking for an Affordable Upgrade?

In Audio, Camera, Expendables, Lighting, Live Streaming, Magazine Articles, Power Distribution, Video/Broadcast, Web Articlesby admin

The latest cables and connectivity solutions are an inexpensive and future-proof way to upgrade any AV system.

by Norm Carson

Quality matters. Often, the word “quality” evokes thoughts of high-end, splashy — and expensive AV solutions that are commonly found in mega churches, such as massive video walls or a full video production suite. Those components are nice and certainly can add to the worship experience, but they tend to be out of reach or unnecessary, especially in smaller churches. Quality, in those cases, will be defined differently — by need, ROI, and features that solve staffing and production challenges. One area that can be easy to overlook yet very critical is cabling and connectivity infrastructure to support ongoing upgrades. Even churches on the tightest budget can make a big impact with their AV when they focus on their foundation. Here are three economical ways to further the quality of your AV system:

1/ HDBaseT Sets

For around $300-$400, churches can establish a solid, dependable base for their current AV transport needs as well as those on the horizon by upgrading to HDBaseT transmitter and receiver sets. HDBaseT, the AV standard that distributes uncompressed UHD signals with zero latency alongside audio, control, Ethernet, and power for several hundred feet, can pave the way for any upgrades that church might have earmarked for the future.

Churches can find affordable sets that support: resolutions up to 2160p@60Hz, 18Gbps video bandwidth, HDMI 2.0, HDCP 2.2/HDCP 1.4, up to 7.1 channels of HD audio pass through (LPCM, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio), high bit rate (HBR) audio pass through, power over cable, and bidirectional IR, RS-232, and CEC pass through for remote capabilities. With these features, the system can extend video and audio signals from source to displays, speakers, or other audiovisual devices. It’s also wise for the features to include an HDMI output on the transmitter, which allows for a local monitor at the source and supports de-embedded audio at the receiver for the use of analog headphones or speakers.

HDBaseT sets also have the side benefit of cleaning up cable clutter and ensuring devices are interoperable. All it takes is an extender at the source and a receiver at the output. Typically, the rackmount units are plug and play, which means they can be deployed quickly and easily.

2/ Customized rack panels

Another area where churches can also look at for upgrades is customized rack panels. The word “custom” tends to strike the fear in the hearts of the budget-conscious, but customized panels can be found without spending a whole lot more on connectivity needs. And that investment can pay dividends in easing workflow challenges for AV staff and volunteers. With a custom designed panel, you have exactly what you need and nothing you don’t — cutting out any confusion of what plugs in where.

3/ AOC Cables

Active optical cables, or AOC cables, are one of the smartest AV upgrades and deliver a lot of bang for your buck. AOC incorporate active electrical and optical components to boost and receive signal via optical fiber. There are many advantages for selecting an HDMI AOC cable: First, they’re incredibly light weight and have a smaller bend radius compared to traditional cooper cabling, all of which make them incredibly versatile for installing just about anywhere. Where they really shine is transmitting high-definition content. The latest varieties can even support long distance, high-resolution 8K cable runs of 7680p@120Hz up to 100 feet and some models feature detachable connectors for even more flexibility. These cables can transmit both audio and video signals and are used on equipment such as computers, Blu-ray players, projectors, or monitors.

No matter what investments you’re making, quality should and can start with the best infrastructure, which can be an extremely economical way to boost performance for the foreseeable future. That might not mean 8K — yet, but knowing what trends lie ahead will be important can help in terms of laying down the best infrastructure for the best quality AV system that fits within the budget and most importantly, fulfills the mission.


Norm Carson is the President of Covid, Inc., and an industry veteran of 30 years, having worked on both the dealer/system integrator side and the manufacturing side. His experience provides a very extensive view of the industry and an in-depth understanding of the challenges that dealers face.