If we haven’t formally met, I’m James Chen – Managing Director for Kordz cabling products.
My thought on what we do at Kordz – and more importantly, why – is to:
“…make possible the expansion and advancement of technology through connecting devices reliably and effectively”.
To this end, the past year was an unprecedented one, both inside and outside the AV industry. Major global factors have impacted our ability to do what we do best. But even as disruptions to supply chain (read our report here) impacted Kordz’ ability to connect in-person AV experiences, we grew as a provider and were met with some unexpected truths about the state of AV connectivity as we now move into another year.
Cable vs Wireless is No Competition
One particular talking point in the AV industry is cabling vs wireless.
Not particularly as direct competition, as context and situations can demand one means of connectivity over the other. But if we are talking situations where the decision is cable or wireless, the debate is over before it’s begun. Sure, I’m not exactly impartial in this debate. However, within this ongoing conversation are overlooked aspects, particularly in the benefits of cabling now and moving forward.
The first – and foremost for Kordz – is if you want reliability without failure, cable is the only way to go. Not just because of the physical nature of cabling, but wireless connectivity is subject to noise and contributes more noise within the system as well. This causes and contributes to more signal dropouts and frustration that can easily be avoided.
Second, is performance. Cabling allows high bandwidth content, multi-channel streaming and multi-user access while avoiding latency where it has the potential to exist. Not only is performance reliable, but also secure.
Both the above points can factor in security and safety for users. Secure updates and safety from connecting a cable simply cannot be replicated by wireless means and cabling is still – and will be for a long time – the backbone of any system.
One of the things I was really excited about in 2021 was not meant to happen.
HDMI cables with Ethernet function have been available from Kordz since 2007. This feature was considered ‘optional’ at the time. However, we committed to ensuring Ethernet functionality as standard across our products. As technology has matured on each end of the HDMI cable, our efforts to support Ethernet as a standard feature has allowed us to support the latest eARC for immersive and high-resolution audio formats of today.
Simply put, we over-engineered to support every feature.
At Kordz, we believe cables should support every feature. Particularly when we consider longevity and the unpredictability of technology changes. Sure, this can seem like ‘overkill’, but we believed (and in 2021 were proven correct) that cables are installed within the building they become part of the building. And engineering for future functionality can ensure our customers don’t waste future time, effort and money as our products have them covered.
And so, we extended Ethernet functionality much like our long length HDMI cables to our short lengths, including all features to deliver eARC, and much higher bandwidths. We put a relatively beefy Ethernet channel in the HDMI. So, with the updated 2.1 specs in 2019 making Ethernet mandatory for enhanced audio return requirements, we were surprised and delighted that our customers with the latest 4K TVs could potentially get Auro 3D, Dolby Atmos and DTS X in a cable that was over 13 years old!
Kordz 1080p Standard ‘Accidentally’ Handling 4K, High Frame Rates & HDR.
Adding to the above, many of our cables from 2007 could handle the data needed to run 4K TVs despite the cables being only designed for 1080p. Not only did they support 4K, they also supported high frame rate and HDR.
So, most of our 1080p certified cables designed over a decade ago are still alive and kicking today, providing some users with the latest and greatest AV features.
Although this was an unplanned delight on everyone’s behalf, I must be clear: the product is not certified for this. The main reason is that there’s no guarantee, is dependent on the output of your Bluray player. If you’ve got a good quality Bluray player with good quality output and enough power, then you’ll drive the signal better. But you can’t without that reliability.
If the source device isn’t up to the task, it won’t work, even more so with longer cables. The device might not have the power to send the signal over the distance and vice versa. If the TV is not of high quality with the associated power, it’s not going to have enough power to push that delicate audio signal back to our AV receiver either.
“The delight was the 4K experience, which meant that even if you bought a cable over ten years ago, it still worked, even though it wasn’t designed for that.”
The 4K, HDR and fast frame rates are good, happy accidents, where we’ve engineered to the Nth degree and more than what’s expected. But there is an inherent risk in over-engineering and missing the mark. And there you’ve created something that’s overkill, while device technology has actually gone another way. Like playing a game of golf and using a driver on the green!
Important note: We must make it clear that the passive, short-length cable products in this article are not guaranteed for the mentioned functionality. It was a happy discovery due to a combination of over-engineering and better electronics available today.
The Near Future of Kordz Connectivity
If 2020 was the year that didn’t happen, Kordz’ focus in 2021 and into 2022 has shifted significantly from being just an HDMI cable company.
While we’ve tried to deliver cutting edge products whenever HDMI offers a new standard, we’ve also sometimes been guilty of becoming reactionary to the market. Our shift moving into 2022 is to become more planned and purposeful, driven by the beliefs and needs of our customers and users.
Being reactionary and jumping on the latest change is not predictable, nor reliable. And it doesn’t hold true to our values of providing cabling products that are predictably reliable.
Our strategy for 2022 and beyond is not for massive gains in short periods of time – which could also lead to massive losses in short periods of time. We’re working towards consistent economies of scale that lead to us becoming a highly effective cable brand. We’re not delivering cutting edge technology for cutting edge technology’s sake, or connectivity for connectivity’s sake. What we’re doing is applying the things that our customers believe in to achieve effective reliability.
In the year ahead and the near future, we aren’t going to be the company that makes everything for everyone. We focus on professional-grade products for integrators. And this shift in focus allows our customers to feel safe while expanding their service delivery horizons, with the ability to do so on a dime with products that install and perform reliably.
AV is rebounding from the trials of the past two years.
And with it, Kordz is growing.
Not just in people, but in terms of knowledge, understanding, and the application of our philosophy. This infrastructure allows you – our customers – to implement assured functionality in systems. We’re engineering for predictable reliability, which is by its nature, a constant pursuit.
Thanks for your support and belief in what we do.
2022 looks very interesting. It is still a time for valuable consolidation and refinement rather than huge expansion, given the long range cycles of our business. Some additional thinking and planning time is proving beneficial. And with it are bound to emerge some very interesting opportunities.
All the best for now and we hope to see you in person sometime this year.
– James Chen