Anyone who has ever dealt with capturing video has dealt with transmitting that video data for output – whether it be through coaxial, composite or HDMI transmission. Depending on what type of video you shoot and what quality of display you intend on showing your video on, finding the right equipment for the job is crucial to obtaining the highest quality in video.
SDI video, or serial digital interface, is the industry standard for transmitting uncompressed, high-end digital video formats at high rates without losing information. The signal carries component video, audio and other control data. It is the way that a device encodes the video signal at the output and then decodes the data of the signal at the input. While SDI is not a common video format for basic consumer use, commercial and studio production relies heavily on it in broadcast situations.
SDI video uses a coaxial cable, much like the type used for in-home television setup, but requires the use of different switches to decode the signal without losing information. There are two different types of SDI that are capable of coding video at different rates. Standard definition SDI, or SD-SDI runs at 270Mbps while high definition SDI, or HD- SDI, runs at rates of 1.48Gbps.
What is most important in adding equipment to an SDI setup is making sure that all added video splitters and switches are capable of handling the SDI signal. For instance, using video matrix switches allow for the connection of multiple outputs to multiple inputs in a studio environment but they must be able to handle routing the signals to the right destination without losing quality. While obtaining equipment capable of working with SDI video formats is expensive, not ensuring compatibility could defeat the whole purpose of working with SDI video and cause your large investment to be null and void.