Why Global Coffee Chain Embraced KanexPro for Digital Signage Content Distribution

Rugged, weather-resistant KanexPro HDBaseT extenders chosen to tackle digital signage content distribution to hundreds of drive-through displays.

CI Staff

Imagine that on a blistering hot day you pull into the drive-through lane of a specialty coffee shop. You wait behind several cars, continually adjusting the AC settings. When you finally get to place your order and glance at the digital menu because you can’t remember what they call those frozen blended coffee drinks, the video isn’t working.

That’s the type of inconvenience that a colossal coffee chain (that prefers not to share its name here) wanted to avoid when it set out to create a rugged, heat-resistant solution to extend digital AV media reliably to its drive-through menus. 

It needed an HDCP compliant extender able to run long distances and wanted to leverage HDBaseT technology for delivery of audio and video. The decision of what type of extender to use fell on Global Display Solutions (GDS), which makes and deploys the commercial video displayed used in the drive-throughs.

GDS did a lot of HDBaseT extender testing and settled on KanexPro HDBASE100E, a transmitter/receiver that enables routing of ultra-high definition signals up to 100 meters with ample Ethernet connectivity. The KanexPro extenders went through rigorous week-long testing, subject to temperatures ranging from 69 degrees to -20 degrees celsius for eight hours a day, and passed with flying colors.

But don’t take our word for it. Here’s what GDS, whose displays’ performance depends on effective extenders, has to say about the KanexPro HDBASE100E.

Reviewer: Gus Rothmaler, GDS, product manager

GDS is a display manufacturer. Why were you so involved in the design of this solution, including the AV connectivity?

GDS is a global manufacturer of displays, in this case, the outdoor Midas series. The Midas series has been in production since approx. 2006 with thousands of units deployed worldwide. [In this case] the GDS display was discovered by the customer at a trade show and consequently were evaluated against competitors. 

KanexPro HDBASE100ME HDBaseT Extender At-a-Glance
– Extend uncompressed HDMI signals up to 330 ft. (100m) on single Cat 6 cable
– Integrates 2-Ethernet ports for network devices
– Supports resolutions from 1080p/60@48bit to Ultra HD 4K
– Bandwidth up to 10.2 Gbps
– HDCP, CEC and EDID compliant
– Infrared Signal Input/Output, embedded over extension
– Audio support: Dolby TrueHD & DTS Master Audio
– Uncompressed audio support such as LPCM
– RS-232 Control
– Front panel-LEDs for link activity and HDCP authentication
– Locking HDMI connectors to avoid dis-engagement & signal loss
– Locking power connector
– Aluminum case with separate mounting ears
MSRP: $550.00

After choosing GDS as the display provider, we integrated connectivity methods that would be best for the application. The original AV connectivity was chosen and supplied by the customer. After a pilot deployment it was found that the AV connectivity was not robust enough and could [not] meet the temperature requirements as well as being susceptible to damage by hot swapping the input. In the end, GDS found Kanex online and asked for an evaluation sample.

Can you explain the process you went through of testing the HDBaseT extender?

After getting a sample, GDS ran the display through a series of tests under normal operating conditions for an extended period. After passing this test we repeated the test at the high and low end of our operating range, which is beyond the industry commercial standard. This test also was conducted for an extended period of time. Lastly, after passing this, we went on to see where the devices absolute limits really were and were quite surprised by the performance.

What do you know about how it has worked out for the customer?

Before being allowed to integrate the extender into the GDS solution the end customer also ran some independent testing, ultimately arriving at the same conclusion as GDS. The solution has worked out well for the customer and has displaced up to 50 percent of the competitor’s installation with our customer. The competitor’s device is good enough for indoor solutions, but not outdoor.

For what types of applications do you recommend this product to integrators?

Any HDMI extender application that requires extreme operating conditions.

How difficult or easy is it to deploy the KanexPro HDBaseT extenders?

The product is simple to install, similar to others. Although it operated in very harsh temperature extremes, it need to be housed in a proper IP rated box if used outdoors.

What are the three biggest benefits — “pros” — for an installer using this product?

  • Operated in very harsh temperature extremes
  • Has locking power connector as well as HDMI cable
  • The warranty is better than most
  • Can perform hot swapping of inputs without damage

What are the three biggest negatives — “cons” — for an installer using this product?

It is a little bit more expensive than competitors, but worth the added cost.