Introduction of 12G-SDI


What is SDI?

SDI is the acronym for serial digital interface, a digital video interface standardized by SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers), which is widely used for transmission of uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals.

Currently used SDI interfaces are divided into the following types based on the transmission rate:

Standard Name Release Time Bitrate Digital Video Format
SMPTE 259M SD-SDI 1989 270 Mbit/s, 360 Mbit/s,
143 Mbit/s, 177 Mbit/s
480i, 576i
SMPTE 344M ED-SDI   540 Mbit/s 480p, 576p
SMPTE 292M HD-SDI 1998 1.485 Gbit/s,
1.485/1.001 Gbit/s
720p, 1080i
SMPTE 372M Dual Link HD-SDI 2002 2.970 Gbit/s,
2.970/1.001 Gbit/s
SMPTE 424M 3G-SDI 2006 2.970 Gbit/s,
2.970/1.001 Gbit/s
SMPTE ST-2081 6G-SDI 2015 6 Gbit/s 2160p30
SMPTE ST-2082 12G-SDI 2015 12 Gbit/s 2160p60


What is 12G-SDI?

12G-SDI defines a transmission rate of 12 Gbit/s, and offers eight times the bandwidth of normal HD-SDI. It can support SDI signals up to 4Kp60 resolution and higher bit rate, so it is also compatible with previous standards like HD/3G-SDI. There are three connection methods for 12G-SDI, including single-link 12G-SDI, dual-link 6G-SDI and quad-link 3G-SDI.

Most 4K professional cameras on the market use 4 BNCs to simultaneously transmit 12G-SDI signals, and so do mainstream medical endoscopes and monitors. With the development of technology some cameras have 12G-SDI output interface, such as the Sony PXW-Z280 handheld all-in-one camera, only one SDI cable that meets the 12G-SDI transmission standard can directly transmit 4Kp60 signals.

12G-SDI integrates 4 cables that transmit 3G-SDI signals into one to directly transmits 4K AV signals, so that the number of cables used for transmission is reduced, the structure is simpler, and the picture quality is more stable. But it should be noted that the higher the transmission rate of the SDI signal, the higher the requirement is for the cable and the transmission distance will also be affected. Take Magewell's Pro Capture SDI 4K Plus capture card as an example, the transmission distance for 3G-SDI signals is up to 150 meters, 75 meters for 6G-SDI signals and 40m for 12G-SDI signals (these data comes from practical tests, cable quality will also lead to the difference in transmission distance).

Other Magewell 12G-SDI capture products include Pro Capture Dual SDI 4K Plus, Eco Capture SDI 4K Plus M.2 and Eco Capture QL-SDI 4K M.2. These products flexibly support multiple 4K SDI interface standard, provide compatibility with both the latest and earlier 4K architectures and equipment, offering users with powerful and high-performance solutions.