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The Difference Between Baseband and Broadband Video

Baseband Video consists of one video picture being sent point-to-point, such as the video output of a VCR to the video input of a monitor. There exist two levels of service for baseband video: broadcast studio and consumer. These types describe, primarily, the quality of the signal. Broadcast studio quality requires a much higher signal fidelity, while the consumer quality baseband requirement is less demanding. In addition to the difference in signal fidelity, there is also a difference in the connectors typically used for the transmission of these signals. The broadcast baseband applications typically use a BNC connector and the consumer baseband applications typically use an RCA connector.

Broadband Video consists of the complete bandwidth of a transmission medium and its ability to transport multiple signals and traffic types simultaneously. The medium can be coax, optical fiber, twisted pair or wireless. In contrast, baseband describes a communication system in which a single set of information is transported across the transmission medium.

       1.   What are some advantages of broadband vs. baseband distribution?

The term “baseband video” refers to a signal that contains the necessary information to reproduce a picture but it is not modulated onto a radio frequency carrier.  Some examples are: composite, component, VGA and HDMI video.  A TV monitor typically has these inputs available for picture viewing.  The bandwidth is typically 5 MHz.

The term “broadband video” refers to any baseband signal that is modulated into RF carriers.  Each RF carrier represents a TV channel, such as channel 2 or 3 etc.  Although, the bandwidth of the TV spectrum has only 134 channels, digital video can use sub-channels giving the consumer the option of hundreds of individual viewing channels.  Each channel can have multiple sub channels such as channel 2.2, 2.2, 2.3, etc.  Typically today you can have hundreds of baseband signals modulated on a broadband RF system.  A TV simply tunes to the various channels.

      2.   What are some real life examples of common baseband distribution?

Typical examples of a baseband application are monitoring security cameras and interconnection between set top boxes and the TV monitors.  On the other hand, an example of a broadband application is viewing CATV/satellite in your home (typically hundreds of HD video and audio channels).  A broadband signal is the input to the set top box; the output is typically either Channel 3, 4 or a baseband signal (HDMI, composite, component)

      3.   Why is a broadband RF distribution system important to your customers?

Broadband RF systems provide a simple way to connect a large number of CATV, satellite, off air, internally generated video, and digital signage sources to a large number of TV devices without impacting the local area network bandwidth.  While most people think of coax when using a broadband RF video distribution system, it is also advantageous if the broadband RF signal is transported over an intelligent, structured Category cabling (i.e. twisted pair) based system for consistent picture quality, plug-n-play adds, moves and changes, and cabling system obsolescence protection; you are ready whenever IPTV becomes the video distribution system of choice.

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