What are HDMI cables?

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What are HDMI cables?


HDMI is an acronym that stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. As its name suggests, HMDI is an interconnectivity standard.HDMI cables are used to provide a high quality, reliable high speed HD connection.


Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson and Toshiba are the primary members of HDMI LLC, a non-profit industry organization created specifically to usher in the new era of digital high-definition video and multi-channel audio connectivity. These cables can carry video, audio and inter-component operability commands (remote control signals) on one digital interface. This interface builds on the success of DVI, offering new features while maintaining full backward compatibility. To understand how these cables work, we must first understand DVI.


For detailed advice on LINDY HDMI cables, call us on 1800 888 095 or submit an online enquiry form.


What is DVI?


DVI (an acronym for Digital Visual Interface) is an uncompressed digital connection scheme originally developed for the PC industry. Initially designed as a low-cost, high-bandwidth digital connection between PCs and digital monitors, DVI is now the most widely used digital display interface in the computer industry. The EIA/CEA 861 protocol defines how DVI is used to connect a video source device to a digital television monitor (DTV Monitor). In home theater applications DVI may be combined with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology to create a protected digital connection that prevents unauthorized duplication of appropriately encrypted programming.


DVI is a copper-based electrical interface that uses TMDS - Transition Minimized Differential Signaling. If significantly longer interconnect distances are needed a DVI “extender” device must be used. While common in the realm of PC's, DVI connections on home theatre products are found primarily on projectors, monitors, and advanced DVD players. All home theatre applications of DVI utilize the DVI-D standard in a single link configuration. DVI-D single link will support an image of 1920 x 1080 lines with progressive scan rates (1080p).


HDMI uses the exact same TMDS technology for video transmission. HDMI and DVI video signals are identical. That is why HDMI cables can be made that connects to HDMI on one end and DVI on the other. When connected, a device gets all of the video performance DVI can deliver, up to and including 1080p.


Advantages of HDMI cables


HDMI cables offer significant advantages over existing analog A/Vcables. Its uncompressed, digital format transports high-definition video, multi-channel audio and control signals between components. By combining all this on one cable, these cables offer a convenient connection alternative to the maze of existing analog A/V cables. HDMI cables will become the Consumer Electronics Industry standard for connecting A/V components of all types. As High Definition Multimedia Interface increases in popularity and application expand, expect to see DVI use diminish - especially in A/V gear. It is unlikely that many home theatre gear manufacturers will use DVI in 2007 models.


Types of Cables


HDMI 1.3


HDMI 1.3a adds six benefits to the High Definition Multimedia Interface palette. The most obvious and easiest to understand is higher data transfer speed. The 1.3a standard increases single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps), which will support demands of future HD display devices incorporating higher resolutions, Deep Colour and high frame rates. Keep in mind that previous versions of HDMI cables are fully capable of 1080p performance. Even more, the FCC has presented no imminent plans for a "higher" high-definition system than 1080p. Because 1080p has just begun to enter the market this increased bandwidth can be considered more a hedge against future applications than something the industry and consumers can benefit from in the near future.


HDMI cables 1.3a also support a format known as Deep Colour. You may see this referred to as Extended-gamut YCC (xvYCC). Deep Colour is a new colour space used in video electronics. It can support 1.8 times as many colours as RGB. RGB, as you may know, creates colours through a mixture of Red, Green, and Blue primary colours. Deep Colour defines colours by means of an algorithm that can specify any colour in nature. The 1.3a supports output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams for external decoding by AV receivers. TrueHD and DTS-HD are lossless audio codec formats used on HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. If the disc player can decode these streams into uncompressed audio, then 1.3 is not necessary, as all HDMI cables can transport uncompressed audio.


HDMI 1.4


With the release of the 1.4 HDMI cable specification, greater image and sound functionality plus more flexibility with networking capabilities is introduced to home and commercial AV setups. High Definition Multimedia Interface 1.4 is better - here's why...


High Definition Multimedia Interface Improvements


HDMI Ethernet Channel


Perhaps one of the most important of the new improvements is the HDMI Ethernet Channel. This is a data link that enables high speed, bi-directional communication. This means that a source can send data to a display via HDMI cables and at the same time a display can send data to the source.


Compatible devices can send a receive data using 100Mb/sec Ethernet which makes them instantly ready for any IP-based application. The Ethernet Channel allows internet-enabled HDMI devices to share and Internet connection using the link, with no need for a separate Ethernet cable. With more and more devices utilizing Internet based features, this HDMI cable feature will reduce the number of HDMI cable’s needed to make your devices work to their full potential, importantly ease the cable clutter. It also provides the platform that will allow HDMI-enabled components to share content between devices. Compatibility includes TCP/IP, UPnP, DLNA and LiquidHD.


To utilise this feature a new type of HDMI cable is required to be used. This new cable is called either a High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet or a Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet.


Audio Return Channel


Another welcome addition to the new HDMI spec, this feature reduces the number of cables required to deliver audio from the TV to an AV receiver for processing and playback. This is a very useful new feature because many TVs now have an internal content source such as a Freeview or Freesat tuner built-in – the Audio Return Channel on the HDMI allows the TV to send data to the receiver using the HDMI cable and removes the necessity for a separate audio cable.


4K x 2K Resolution Support


Support for 4K x 2K allows the HDMI cable to carry the digital content transmission at the same resolution as the most state-of-the-art Digital Cinema systems used in many cinemas. Formats supported include 3,840 x 2,160 pixels at 24Hz, 25Hz & 30Hz, and 4,096 x 2160 pixels at 24Hz.


Expanded support for Colour Spaces


This feature means that Digital Camera Pictures and still images should display more accurate colours on displays with the upgraded format capability.


3D over High Definition Multimedia Interface


Everybody is talking about 3D at the moment and the new spec defines common 3D formats and resolutions for HDMI-enabled devices, enabling 3D gaming and other 3D video applications. The new spec standardises the connection for a 3D home cinema system, facilitating 3D resolutions up to dual-stream 1080p (that’s 3D 1080p basically).


For more information about LINDY’s HDMI cables or other connection products, call us on 1800 888 095 or submit an online enquiry form.