HDMI 1.4a and Beyond
We have been talking about HDMI for pretty much as long as we have been doing this show, that’s more than six years. Every now and then we do a deep dive on the latest specification which currently sits at 1.4a. On today’s show we’ll look at what current specification supports and what’s on the horizon.
HDMI Ethernet Channel
In our rooms we have at least three devices connected to the receiver and when you include the TV and receiver you have five devices that need internet access. Yes some of them will use wifi and that does reduce wires but if you want fast internet access wired is the way to go. In our situation that means we have an eight port switch and a bunch of Ethernet cables running behind the TV.
With devices that support HDMI Ethernet channels all that goes away. Only one device needs to be connected to the network and the other devices receive the network connection through the HDMI Ethernet Channel. Nice and clean. A couple of things to look for. One, you will need a cable that explicitly states that it supports Ethernet. Two, the device’s port needs to support Ethernet. HDMI Licensing has recommended that manufacturers label those ports “HEC” but it is not required. Rocketfish has a 6 foot high speed cable that is rated for in-wall that sells for less than $10 (Buy Now).
Audio Return Channel
In years past if you watched TV over the air and you wanted to listen to Dolby Digital audio decoded by your receiver you had to connect an additional cable. With the audio return channel you no have that capability built into the cable! Unlike the Ethernet channel you don’t need a special cable for this functionality. All HDMI cables support this. HDMI Licensing has recommended that manufacturers label those ports “ARC” but like “HEC” its not required.
This feature allows the display to auto select modes based on the type of content being displayed. Content Type supports content profiles for gaming, movie, photograph, and text viewing modes.
Defines input/output protocols for major 3D video formats, paving the way for true 3D gaming and 3D home theater applications.
Enables video resolutions far beyond 1080p, supporting next-generation displays that will rival the Digital Cinema systems used in many commercial movie theatres
Additional Color Spaces
Adds support for additional color models used in digital photography and computer graphics.
HDMI Micro Connector
A new, smaller connector for phones and other portable devices, supporting video resolutions up to 1080p.
Automotive Connection System
New cables and connectors for automotive video systems, designed to meet the unique demands of the motoring environment while delivering true HD quality.
What does the future hold for HDMI? It looks like there will be one more revision to version 1.4 bringing it to version 1.4b. Version 1.4b adds support for 1080p video at 120 Hz. Also, all future versions of the HDMI specification will be made by the HDMI Forum that was created on October 25, 2011.
There won’t be a version 1.5 instead the HDMI Forum’s first specification will roll out with version 2.0 which essentially is more of the same only faster and more bandwidth. The HDMI Forum is looking to improve support of mobile devices and better control functionality. Beyond that there isn’t much in the way of new features. At least as of today.
Posted by The HT Guys, July 4, 2013 11:47 PM
About The HT GuysThe HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.
Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.
ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.
Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.