What is HDMI?
HDMI, or High-Definition Multimedia Interface, is the first and only industry-supported, all-digital audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. As an alternative to consumer analog standards, HDMI connects digital audio/video sources—such as PCs, Blu-ray Disc players, AV receivers, video games consoles, and video boxes—to compatible devices. On a single cable, HDMI supports any PC or TV video format with up to 8 channels of crystal-clear digital audio.
Today, more than 700 companies in the consumer electronic department have adopted and implemented new versions of the HDMI specifications.
Image Quality: Compared to other connections, HDMI can deliver the best image quality that’s available today. It can handle high-definition video of up to 1080p resolution at 60 frames per second, which is the most bandwidth-intensive video format currently available on the market.
In addition to superior image quality, HMDI can easily handle even the highest resolution audio soundtracks, including Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. It supports up to eight channels of 24-bit audio at 192kHz. The only other connection type that can deliver the same quality are multichannel analog audio cables, but you’d need to run as many as eight separate cables just to get the same quality.
Adding more intelligence to a home entertainment system makes it more efficient and easier to use. Using HDMI enables new functionality, such as one-touch play and automatic configuration. One-touch play allows users to turn on all the devices necessary for playback with the touch of a single button.
Ease of Use:
HDMI can do in one cable what could otherwise take several cables. Ultimately, HDMI eliminates the cost, clutter, and complexity of multiple wires. These features are particularly beneficial when upgrading or adding equipment.
HDMI & Entertainment Systems
The most tangible way HDMI affects the way we interface with our components is in the set-up. Because one HDMI cable can replace several analog cables, the process of setting up home theatre systems is highly simplified. Because of the two-way communication capabilities, components that are connected via HDMI constantly talk to each other in the background, so that content is sent in the best format without much user intervention.
Whereas the standard DVI cables were originally developed for PC use, HDMI cables were developed specifically for consumer electronic products, such as DVD players and digital televisions. Manufacturers have started producing both standard and high-speed HDMI cables. Standard cables typically perform at speeds of 75Mhz, while high-speed cables typically perform at speeds of 340MHz. The HDMI standard cables also include two other important channels: CEC (Consumer Electronics Control Channel) and DDC (Display Data Channel).
CEC functionality utilizes HDMI’s two-way communication to allow for single remote control, such as the One-Touch Play we mentioned earlier. Because CEC is an optional feature, consumers must look for it in the product feature list.
HDMI technology has been engineered to use standard copper cable construction at long lengths. However, signal strength tends to deteriorate over long cable runs. The recommended maximum cable length is approximately 33 feet.
Keep in mind that if you are connecting a DVI-enabled device that does not support HDCP, then connecting your DVI gear to an HDMI port will force the HDMI-enabled device to downgrade high definition video content to standard resolution.
When buying HDMI cables, price doesn’t need to be a factor in your decision. In general, a $10 cable is likely to perform just as well as its $50 counterpart.
HDMI cables can come with two kinds of connectors: a compact Type-A 19 pin connector, and a slightly larger 29-pin Type-B HDMI connector. This second connector enables the use of dual-link HDMI configuration, which doubles the maximum transfer rate.
The later versions of HDMI technology include support for One-Bit Audio format used in SuperAudio CDs (SACD) Direct Stream Digital.