Have you ever seen these numbers on any recent electronics or HDMI cables you have purchased lately? Ever wonder what they mean, or do you just “plug and pray?” Although these numbers are a bit technical, you should be aware that purchasing the incorrect HDMI version of a component or cable can lead to hours of frustration and often times buyer’s remorse.
The HDMI 1.4. 1.3, etc. designations are most easily thought of as a type of software release. In my best announcer voice, “with the release of HDMI 1.4 enabled components and cables, you will have the following new features.” What are some of these key features you ask? Please read on….
HDMI 1.4 is a brand new technical spec that is only now being released (October 2009). HDMI 1.4 is currently only in the most expensive flagship models for component and cable manufacturers. Some of it’s key features include:
- HDMI Ethernet Channel – the ability to use 1 cable for both Audio, Video and Network connectivity. This means that 1 HDMI cable can connect you to the Internet, stream your high-resolution Audio and your High-Definition Video
- 3D Over HDMI – the ability to send 3D Content from one device to another. Excited about 3D at home? Well, there is much more data present in a 3D picture. Thus, a cable with increased data capacity is needed to bring you those amazing images
- Four times 1080p Resolution – 1080p is the highest resolution availble to consumers currently, allowing for vividly bright, detailed and accurate pictures like many have never seen before. The HDMI 1.4 cable can take these features even farther, supporting a resolution 4 times better than 1080p
So how exciting does that sound? HDMI 1.4 will give us increased connectivitiy flexibility, 3D pictures and more resolution than we could ever imagine. What about HDMI 1.3?
HDMI 1.3 is pretty much the current standard for HDMI enabled components and cables. The 1.3 release brought us things like:
- Deeper color capabilities, allowing for more realistic colors to be displayed on our TVs
- The ability to stream uncompressed digital audio along with our HD video, giving us for the first time sound quality that is equivalent to when it was recorded in studio
- Improved Lip Sync capabilties, further overcoming the complicated digital signal processing necessary for you to hear audio signals from your Home Theater system and see video signals on your TV without anything appearing out of sync
If you haven’t experienced the increased color gamut of today’s displays and enjoyed audio as you’ve never heard it before– you need to.
HDMI 1.1 and earlier…
HDMI version 1.1 is about the last version of note for Home Theater as it allowed us to be able to transmit both video and audio signals in one cable. Essentially it became the digital version of the coax cable we all have had in our homes since the 80’s. Earlier versions of HDMI will not give you any of the Home Theater features you now propbably take for granted. Thus, purchasing any components with an HDMI rating earlier than 1.1 is just a bad idea.
Now here’ s the tricky part… The HDMI feature set is a MENU of specs for manufacturers to chose from, they are NOT requirements. Thus, just because you have a component or cable that is 1.4 capable does not mean you will have all the 1.4 features I listed above. It is up to the sole discretion of the manufacturer which of these specifications it choses to feature on its product.
Thus, the moral of this little tale is that when purchasing HDMI enabled components and cables, be cognizent of which HDMI version they are and MAKE SURE TO READ THE FINE PRINT about which features of each HDMI version the manufacturer has decided to include in their product.
Feel like your head just exploded trying to figure out what the heck this article is talking about? Don’t worry, call Technospeak today and we’ll help you wade through all these specifications and get you right to enjoying your electronics.
At Technospeak, we take the “techy” out of Technology.