VidaBox, makers of high-end Media Center computers and media servers, today announced a brand new product that brings charging capability to your Cat5 cables. There are actually two new products – the vPower Station and the vCharger. To my knowlege, VidaBox is the first manufacturer in this field, although there have been ways of extending USB via Cat5 around previously.
The vPower Station can connect a single CAT5/5e/6 cable at up to 328 feet [100m] long, and provide steady power to the vCharger, which has a powered USB port. The vPower Station is a 4 port adapter. The vCharger has one ethernet port and one USB port for charging a device. The vCharger is also backwards compatible with Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) switches as power sources.
While both devices are aimed at custom installers, as are most of the VidaBox products (they even state in their press release that “The vCharger can be also used in a table-top environment, or custom-built into new or existing furniture, as its gloss black finish gives it a high-end look that blends into any environment,”), the retail price makes them a real possibility for the general consumer market.
Both products, the vPower Station and vCharger, retail for $99 each and the purchase of 4 vChargers will get your a free vPower Station. You can head over to the VidaBox site to check them out, find out more, and place an order.