High Standards for HDMI

December 14, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Becoming a certified HDMI product is no simple task. HDMI Licensing LLC. has high standards for products that claim compliance and meeting their requirements is no easy feat.


To be HDMI compliant, a representative sample of each licensed HDMI product or component must pass rigorous testing prior to mass production or distribution. Here’s an inside look at everything that goes in to meeting the high standards for HDMI.


First, the manufacturer must become an HDMI adopter. They then self-test according to the most current HDMI Compliance Test Specification. This year, HDMI 2.1 is being released and is the most current specification. The test specification has a list of testing procedures and minimum requirements for how to test each product. This testing is limited and only evaluates the product’s HDMI compliance, it is not designed to test the overall product performance.


Next, the manufacturer must submit the first product of each product type (i.e. cable, sink, repeater or source) to an authorized testing center (ATC) for further testing. To submit a product for testing, the manufacturer must fill out an application, submit the product, provide all operating instructions or manuals, complete a capabilities declaration form and submit any ancillary material or equipment. The product is then evaluated for a pass or fail result. If a passing result is given, it is not required to test any other products of that type. If the product fails the compliance testing, the manufacturer is given a list of areas that did not pass, so they can make changes as needed.



With this year’s release of HDMI 2.1, comes a list of new specifications that must be met by HDMI certified products. These new requirements are available to all HDMI 2.0 adopters. HDMI 2.1 features include:


  • ·       Higher video resolutions and faster refresh rates
  • ·       Dynamic HDR for improved depth, brightness, contrast and wider color gamuts  
  • ·       48G cables for enabling up to 48Gbps speeds for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support including 8K video with HDR
  • ·       eARC to support the most advanced audio formats and enable advanced audio signal control capabilities
  • ·       Game Mode VRR with variable refresh rate

As with all HDMI specifications, compliance testing must be performed for products to meet the HDMI 2.1 standards. All HDMI 2.0 adopters will have access to the HDMI 2.1 Compliance Testing Specification. The HDMI 2.1 specification supersedes HDMI 2.0b. All HDMI 1.4b products will continue to be tested to CTS 1.4b standards. HDMI 1.4b adopters cannot also be licensed to the HDMI 2.1 specification.


As an HDMI Adopter, L-com offers a wide selection of HDMI certified cables and HDMI Splitters/Extenders.


For more information about the HDMI standards, visit www.hdmi.org.


Case Study: Kinki Sharyo

November 30, 2017 at 8:00 AM


In metropolitan areas, thousands of people depend on the rail system every day as a primary mode of transportation. Our customer, Kinki Sharyo, has designed and manufactured more than 10,000 railcars and is the leading supplier of low-floor light rail systems in North America. From manufacturing to maintenance, they design a full-range of customized products to meet the needs for each transit system to get people where they need to go safely and reliably.


After being awarded a $30 million contract from NJ Transit, Kinki Sharyo needed to make 60 new trains with DVI, Cat5e and USB cabling for onboard video and LED lighting systems. The problem they were having was finding a cable that could provide connectivity to articulated train cars that are connected to each other.  The existing connectivity method used heavy gauge cables bundled together that frequently wore out and had failure at friction points. They needed a robust cabling system that would not wear down and could withstand the movement of the train cars and constant flexing of the cables.


L-com provided Kinki Sharyo with crush-proof armored USB, right-angle Cat5e Ethernet and right-angle DVI cables all off-the-shelf and ready for installation. These cables met all the needs of the new rail car design. The USB cables were more than rugged enough, the right-angle DVI and Cat5e cables were the perfect fit for rail cars with limited space and they all provided the added benefit of low-smoke zero-halogen jackets to protect the new rail cars and passengers inside.


To read the full case study, click here.


The Results are in: Rolling Bend Flex Test

November 16, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Data cabling can be subjected to extreme conditions it wasn’t meant to withstand when installed in industrial environments or robotic control systems. These applications require a more rugged cabling solution, which is why we developed our high-flex industrial Ethernet cable assemblies. These durable cables are designed to take a beating and endure harsh conditions without damage that, in other cables, could negatively affect performance. To see just how tough our continuous flex Ethernet cable assemblies are, we decided to put them through some vigorous testing.


There are various methods used in continuous motion flex testing. We chose the rolling bend method. The rolling bend trial simulates real world bending and reaching conditions which is critical to getting a true result for cable performance. We tested an unsupported cable span at the point of bend/flex motion to measure the destructive flex forces involved in a continuous motion application. By attaching the cable to a rolling bend test fixture, we were able to perform flex cycling for a specific amount of time. We then re-tested the cable to measure electrical performance. Those results were compared to the original test and a physical inspection was done to find any damage to the cable.


What we found was that our high-flex industrial Ethernet cable assemblies were more than able to withstand the rigors of real world use and extreme conditions. All of the tested cables surpassed performance requirements and flex testing had no significant effect on the cable’s mechanical or electrical performance. To see our full report detailing the method we used to test our cables and the test results, click here.


9 Things You Need to Know about D-Subminiature Connectors

November 2, 2017 at 8:00 AM


Serial communication once reigned supreme. It used to be one of the most popular ways to connect peripherals such as printers, scanners, mice and joysticks to PCs. The most common connector type for serial communication was the D-subminiature connector, also called D-sub. Though they have been replaced in some applications, D-sub connectors are still relevant and used in many ways today.


Here are 9 things you need to know about D-subminiature connectors:


1.  D-subminiature connectors were once among the smallest connectors used on computer systems. They are named for their D-shaped metal connector shell. The metal shell surrounds two or more parallel rows of pins or sockets that carry the data in series.


2.  There are five different connector shell sizes. Each shell size can have two different configurations of pins. The standard shell size has two rows of pins and the high-density versions have three rows of pins.


3. With individual pins to carry serial data, D-sub connectors are very easy to customize. The DB9 is one of the standard configurations and has the smallest shell size, with 9 pins in the shell and measuring 1.3cm tall and 3.1cm wide. The largest, high-density configuration is HD78, with 78 pins it measures 1.5cm tall and 6.7cm wide. To see all shell sizes and D-sub configurations, click here.


4.  Cables using D-sub connectors can cover much longer lengths than other cables. RS-232, the current common standard for serial data, doesn’t have a defined length limit and RS-422 can be used over hundreds of meters with special equipment. On the other hand, USB has a length limit of five meters.


5.  Serial communication tends to be slow, especially over long lengths. Breaks in communication can cause software on a PC to freeze unexpectedly.


6.  D-Sub connectors are large, especially when compared to newer connector designs. This makes them difficult to connect and disconnect in tight spaces. Though right-angle adapters help in small spaces by allowing a right-angle bend without damaging the connector.


7.  Because the pins are exposed on these connectors, they can be easily bent or broken off in the shell. The best way to avoid broken pins is to use a D-sub plug or jack cover to protect the pins from being damaged when not mated. Also, gender changers and socket savers can help reduce stress from repeated mating cycles.


8.  D-subminiature connectors can be mated without thumbscrews but a friction-fit it does not always hold. Using thumbscrews makes for a more secure connection, but it does take longer to plug and unplug the connector.


9.  There are still many devices with DB9 ports and plenty of conversion options for legacy D-sub connectorized products. Converters to and from RS232/422/485 to USB, Ethernet and other technologies allow you to use your old serial device with many of today’s computers.


Technical Oddities

October 26, 2017 at 8:00 AM


From zombies and vampires to witches and werewolves, it’s the time of year when we celebrate the spooky, strange and weird. In the spirit of Halloween, we are also going to take a moment to highlight some technical oddities. Here are some strange, or strangely wonderful, inventions in the world of tech.


1.       Tail-Wagging Robot Pillow


Love the idea of having a pet, but don’t want to deal with the feeding, walking, fur or any of the other responsibilities that go along with having a pet? Now there’s an invention for you! The tail-wagging robot pillow is soft and fluffy, it will sit on your lap and even wag its tail when you pet it. Perfect for people with allergies or who live in small spaces, or those who just want the comfort of a pet without the list of to-dos that normally go along with owning one.




2.       Robotic Exoskeletons


Initially, exoskeletons were meant to help with rehabilitation for people with a damaged or lost limb or other limiting injury. The next generation of robotic exoskeletons are going beyond that by promising superhuman abilities like being able to lift a car. There is also the possibility of military exoskeletons that would give enhanced abilities to troops in combat, such as bulletproof body armor and enhanced strength to carry more powerful weapons and navigate through treacherous terrain.




3.       Speakerhat


When earbuds or headphones won’t do the trick, now there is the speakerhat. This modern-day reinvention of the boom box is a baseball cap with Bluetooth speakers embedded in the brim of the hat. Not only will you be able to look cool in your new tech accessory, you can walk around with your own personal soundtrack blaring from the speakers.




4.       Facial Scanners that Stop Toilet Paper Theft


You might not consider toilet paper theft to be a real issue, but apparently it was at a temple in Beijing, China. One of the most popular tourist attractions in the Chinese capital found that toilet paper theft had become a substantial cost as they were buying thousands of rolls of paper every month. To combat this issue, they installed facial recognition scanners that dispense a certain amount of toilet paper and store the person’s face in a temporary data base. If that same face returns for more toilet paper within nine minutes from their previous visit, it will not dispense any more paper. Toilet paper caper, solved!



5.       App to Stop SUI (Shopping Under the Influence)


Many have done it, few like to admit it – the late night act of online shopping after having too many adult beverages. What seems like a good idea at night, can prove to be a mistake in the morning. Fortunately, now there’s an app that blocks your credit cards for 12 hours if you’re over the alcohol limit. You may want to download this app before you wake up to a shipping confirmation for a box full of buyer’s remorse.


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