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How to Speak HDMI, HDBaseT and Cat 5 to Clients

Integrators share connectivity sales tips for HDMI, HDBaseT, Cat 5 and more.

Talking about HDMI versus Cat 5 versus HDBaseT versus other connectivity options with clients is always a slippery slope. Many clients become confused and, frankly, many couldn’t care less about connectivity.

But cables are the lifeblood of system integration. We talked to integrators and manufacturers about their connectivity sales and marketing game plans for HDMI and beyond.

On HDMI, VGA
Kevin Miller, partner and owner at Coit Com, an integrator in Redwood City, Calif. whose client base includes Fortune 100 companies, Silicon Valley firms and high-end residential projects, says his customers are all about ease of use and instant connectivity. That’s why Coit Com includes HDMI and VGA on every installation.

“There’s pretty broad acceptance and recognition of HDMI at this point, although the commercial world has been a little slower on that,” Miller says. “If they’re not aware of it, I do sell them on the benefits and the future-proofing it brings.”

Common HDMI Problems
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Miller calls on the standards board to tighten its regulations so cables are “as universal as possible” going forward.

On HDMI, Not ‘Cheaping Out’
John Gulas, owner and principal at Bargain Byte, an Orange County-based integrator, says it’s important to address HDMI delays with clients. “If you use a decent switcher, you’re usually OK. When you’re showing it to someone, though, that one or two seconds can seem like an hour and your heart is just beating that it’s going to work the way you said it would.

“Certain things about HDMI are very exciting, but you have to deal with a number of issues, like the cable length limitations and all those pins,” Gulas says.

Related: The Technology that Drives HDMI Connectivity

“The marketing team for HDMI has done a fantastic job. You’ve just got to feel out the customer and see what the life cycle of the product is expected to be.

“There are a lot of things you can ‘cheap out’ on but this is one area that’s really going to affect how things work,” he says.

Gulas expects to eventually see an IP-based connectivity solution, and he believes it might have already come had the economy not dipped so dramatically in the past several years.

“I think people are still a little petrified of the idea, but I definitely see it happening at some point,” Gulas says.

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