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Nov192017
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HDMI 1.4 - More Frustration For Consumers?

 

hdmi_cable

 

It’s ironic that the founders of the HDMI spec have adopted the following slogan on their HDMI.org website: “One cable.  One Standard.  The Future-Ready Way to Connect HD.”  In reality, HDMI cables have seemed to change their standards every season of the year.  And with those changes come the following:

  • New purchase demands by the manufacturers ["Oooh, sorry.  I know your equipment is less than a year old, but no, a simple firmware upgrade won't fix your 3D woes.  You'll need a new chipset for that to work."]
  • Installation challenges [trust me, reliable design of HDMI video distribution in a home or office can be a pain in the rear!] and
  • Constant consumer frustration [“That's right, Mr. Homeowner.  Your six-month old, HDMI 10-input passing, super-duper-video-scaling formatting,  second mortgage-maybe-my-kid-wouldn’t-mind-waiting-another-year-before-going-to-college costing, surround receiver may not pass the 3-D picture from your new $75 Blu-Ray player?!”]

I cannot imagine the founders of the HDMI standard thinking much into the future—other than to calculate potential revenue from all the many changes that they anticipated were to come.

 

In the past, most consumers worried if their cables were 1.2 or 1.3 certified. Then they had to determine if they needed to buy cables or audio/video components that were 1.3 or 1.4 certified.  Well, our endearing friends of the HDMI Licensing committee say we no longer need to look for cables that are ‘1.anything’ anymore.  With the new 1.4 revision comes a slight change in this "one cable standard" we call HDMI.  New HDMI cables will no longer be designated by their rev number, but by one of two new categories:

  • Standard HDMI with Ethernet
  • High Speed HDMI with Ethernet

The “standard” designation is for cables that have been performance-tested to at least 74.25Mhz.  The “high speed” designation is for cables that have been performance-tested to at least 340Mhz.

 

Some of the other [but not all] major enhancements for the 1.4 standard include:

  • HDMI Ethernet channel [use your IP-enabled device without a separate Ethernet cable]
  • 3D defined input/output protocols [hmm, actually having universal standards in an already-released protocol would be a good thing]
  • Audio return channel [send audio “upstream”, e.g. back to your surround receiver from a TV with 1.4 capabilities]
  • 4K video support [hmmm, I wonder if the guys at the ‘HDMI Roundtable’ even realize that the majority of TV content providers aren’t even giving us native 1080p content yet?]
  • Micro HDMI connector [new connector format for smart phones and other portable devices, capable of supporting 1080p video]

 

For more information, visit http://hdmi.org or download the following overview guide to the 1.4 specifications:

http://www.hdmi.org/download/press_kit/PressBriefing_HDMI1_4_Final_083109.pdf

 

As a general rule, Cinemaffect will carry only the HDMI High Speed with Ethernet cables in order to offer the maximum “future-proofing” in this ever-changing industry.  We sincerely hope that the HDMI powers-that-be can create a true backward-compatible solution that will satisfy the anti-piracy demands of the corporate movie studio execs and still allow for a consumer to own a piece of audio/video equipment that’s not outdated before they un-box it.

About Cinemaffect
Located in Northern California, Cinemaffect is a custom electronics design/build firm that integrates home cinema, multi-room music and video, communications, energy management solutions, networking, automation systems and various other components to enhance your living environment and lifestyle.  Our wonderful clients include ambitious home-owners, contractors, architects, cabinetmakers and similar trades professionals who desire assistance & collaboration on their projects.  We serve the greater Silicon Valley area, including San Jose, Atherton, Saratoga, Los Gatos, Cupertino, Hillsborough, Mountain View, Palo Alto, Portola Valley, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Woodside, Menlo Park and Burlingame.