Tuesday, August 22, 2006

How do the audio/Video over CAT5 Baluns work?

Q) How do the audio/Video over CAT5 Baluns work? Do these allow me to run audio/video over an Ethernet Network? Does the Audio/Video pass through network Hubs, Routers, Switches etc?

A) The A/V signals are not converted to Ethernet, they are converted to "balanced" audio or video signals
for transmission over twisted pair wiring. The cables should be dedicated to A/V signals, and should NOT be connected to your Ethernet network, Ethernet hubs, routers, etc. Here are the basics:
The Balun converts the audio or video signal into a "balanced" audio or video signal which will allow any picked up noise to be canceled out at the receiving balun. It is very important that the "halves" of a balanced run be as similar as possible in length and other attributes. Otherwise the ability to cancel out noise is effected. Using CAT6 or high quality CAT5e cable with tight tolerances will give the best possible results.
Each CAT5 balanced signal run has to be separate - you can't do splices or "Y" cables with balanced signals.You have to split the signals with distribution amplifiers before the baluns, which means you would need a separate balun for each and every sent and received audio/video signal. There are some baluns that combine audio and video or multiple separate video components (like separate RGB signals or Y-Pr-Pb) into one box, but these boxes actually contain multiple baluns in one box and will require more and more twisted pairs to be used within the CAT5 cable. If more signals are needed than there are twisted pairs in a CAT5 cable, then multiple CAT5 cables would be necessary.

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