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Just what is HDMI and why do I need it?

Over the past few years, HDMI has become the standard audio and video connection for high-definition home theater gear. Most new High Definition televisions have at least two HDMI inputs, and gadgets such as DVRs, DVD players, Blu-ray players, game consoles (Play Station, XBOX etc…) , and computers feature HDMI outputs to deliver audio and video. Having a single cable handling both images and sound has the potential to make home theaters much simpler, but that's not always the case. Faced with complex standards (HDMI 1.2 vs. 1.3), confusing buzzwords (Deep Color), and exorbitantly priced cables (Monster), many buyers may be tempted to throw up their hands and stick with the analog cables they know.

Don't worry, all you need to know is that our cables are as good as the most expensive out there and that there is no reason that you should pay more!
HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, and that's a pretty accurate description of what it is. HDMI is a type of digital connection that's capable of transmitting high-definition video and high-resolution audio over a single cable. To do the same thing with analog cables, you'd need to connect three component-video cables plus six analog audio cables--that's a whole lot of cable clutter.
HDMI is typically used to connect a high-definition device--such as an HD DVR--to an HDTV. To make the connection, you simply put one end of the cable into the HDTV's HDMI input slot and the other end into the device's HDMI output slot. And that's it--just one cable and you're all set for the high-definition experience. If you have an AV receiver, just put it in the middle of the signal chain. The output of the AV receiver goes to the HDTV and you connect your high-definition device(s) to the AV receiver's input.

 

 
 

What's new in the HDMI 1.4 specification?

HDMI Ethernet Channel

  • The HDMI 1.4 specification adds a data channel to the HDMI connection, enabling high-speed, bi-directional communication. Connected devices that include this feature can send and receive data via 100 Mb/sec Ethernet, making them instantly ready for any IP-based application. The HDMI Ethernet Channel allows internet-enabled HDMI devices to share an internet connection via the HDMI link, with no need for a separate Ethernet cable. It also provides the connection platform that will allow HDMI-enabled components to share content between devices.

Audio Return Channel

The new specification adds an audio channel that will reduce the number of cables required to deliver audio "upstream" from a TV to an A/V receiver for processing and playback. In cases where a TV features an internal content source, such as a built-in tuner or DVD player, the Audio Return Channel allows the TV to send audio data upstream to the A/V receiver via the HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an extra cable.

3D

The 1.4 version of the specification defines common 3D formats and resolutions for HDMI-enabled devices, enabling 3D gaming and other 3D video applications. The specification standardizes the input/output portion of the home 3D system, facilitating 3D resolutions up to dual-stream 1080p.

4K Resolution Support

The new specification enables HDMI devices to support extremely high HD resolutions, effectively four times the resolution of a 1080p device. Support for 4K allows the HDMI interface to transmit digital content at the same resolution as the state-of-the-art Digital Cinema systems used in many movie theaters.

Expanded Support For Color Spaces

HDMI now supports color spaces designed specifically for digital still cameras, enabling more accurate color rendering when viewing digital photos. By supporting sYCC601, Adobe®RGB, and Adobe®YCC601, HDMI display devices are capable of displaying more accurate, life-like colors when connected to a digital camera.