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WHAT IS AN HDMI CABLE AND HOW DO I BENEFIT FROM IT ?

Posted 29 May 2011 | News & Blog   

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Q. What is HDMI?

The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. It represents a digital alternative to consumer analog standards such as Radio Frequency (RF) coaxial cable, composite video, S-Video, SCART, component video, D-Terminal, and VGA. HDMI connects digital audio/video sources such as set-top boxes, Blu-ray Disc players, personal computers, video game consoles, and AV receivers to compatible digital audio devices, computer monitors, and digital televisions.

HDMI supports, on a single cable, any TV or PC video format including standard, enhanced, and high-definition video along with up to 8 channels of digital audio. It is independent of the various digital television standards such as ATSC and DVB as these are encapsulations of compressed MPEG video streams (which can be decoded and output as an uncompressed video stream on HDMI).

HDMI products started shipping in autumn 2003.Over 800 CE and PC companies have adopted the HDMI specification (HDMI Adopters). In Europe, either DVI-HDCP or HDMI is included in the HD ready in-store labelling specification for TV sets for HDTV, formulated by EICTA with SES Astra in 2005. HDMI began to appear on consumer HDTV camcorders and digital still cameras in 2006. Shipments of HDMI are expected to exceed that of Digital Visual Interface (DVI) in 2008, driven primarily by the Consumer Electronics (CE) Market.

The HDMI Founders include leading consumer electronics manufacturers Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), Philips, Sony, Thomson (RCA), Toshiba, and Silicon Image. Digital Content Protection, LLC (a subsidiary of Intel) is providing High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) for HDMI. In addition, HDMI has the support of major motion picture producers Fox, Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney, and system operators DirecTV, EchoStar (Dish Network) as well as CableLabs.

How do Consumers Benefit from HDMI?
The new HDMI digital interconnect provides:
Superior, uncompressed digital video and audio quality
A simple, single cable and user-friendly connector that replaces the maze of cabling behind the entertainment center
Integrated remote control
A popular interface enabling the transmission of high-definition content. HDMI opens the floodgate of digital content from major motion picture producers

What is the Life Expectancy of HDMI?
HDTV uses less than 1/2 of HDMI’s available 5 Gbps bandwidth. With capacity to spare, HDMI can incorporate new technology advancements and capabilities long into the foreseeable future.

What are the Advantages of HDMI Over Existing Analog Interfaces?
Quality: HDMI transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality.
All-Digital: HDMI ensures an all-digital rendering of video without the losses associated with analog interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analog conversions.
Low-Cost: HDMI provides the quality and functionality of a digital interface while also supporting uncompressed video formats in a simple, cost-effective manner.
Audio: HDMI supports multiple audio formats, from standard stereo to multi-channel surround-sound.
Ease-of-Use: HDMI combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems.
Intelligence: HDMI supports two-way communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality.

Is HDMI Backward-compatible with DVI (Digital Visual Interface)?
Yes, HDMI is fully backward-compatible with DVI using the CEA-861 profile for DTVs. HDMI DTVs will display video received from existing DVI-equipped products, and DVI-equipped TVs will display video from HDMI sources.

Will Current HD TV’s and Set-Top Boxes Using DVI-HDTV be Compatible with HDMI Devices?
Yes. Currently there are TVs with DVI-HDTV inputs available from a wide variety of manufacturers. These devices will be compatible with future HDMI-equipped products.

What Types of video does HDMI Support?
HDMI has the capacity to support existing high-definition video formats (720p, 1080i, and even 1080p/60fps). It also has the flexibility to support enhanced definition formats such as 480p, as well as standard definition formats such as NTSC or PAL.

Does HDMI Accommodate Long Cable Lengths?
Yes. HDMI technology has been designed to use standard copper cable construction at long lengths. In order to allow cable manufacturers to improve their products through the use of new technologies, HDMI specifies the required performance of a cable but does not specify a maximum cable length. Cable manufacturers are expected to sell reasonably priced copper cables at lengths of up to 15 meters. As semiconductor technology improves, even longer stretches can be reached with fiber optic cables, and with active cable technologies such as amplifiers or repeaters.

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