Those HDMI 1.3 ports on the back of your HDTV and other digital components are just about to become obsolete, because HDMI 1.4 is on its way. It's a technological leap, where HDMI 1.4 cables will also carry data over Ethernet at the same time. They'll also have much higher bandwidth, handling higher resolution video then they can now, up to 4K resolution (4,096 x 2,160, if you can find any sources that can pump out such things). They'll also be able to move audio signals on a return channel, sending sound from, say, a TV to an A/V receiver.
Sound good? Here's where it gets weird. Not only will there be standard-sized HDMI plugs, and the new micro HDMI connectors (50% smaller than today's micro HDMI plugs), but there will be five different types of cables used with this new HDMI 1.4 spec. The "Standard" HDMI cable will handle regular broadcast-quality TV at 1080i/60 (or 720p/60), "High Speed" supports video rez beyond 1080p, along with Deep Color and 3D formats, and then there's the two corresponding cables that also support Ethernet. The fifth one is an automotive HDMI cable that's more durable, built for the demands of using the technology in your car.
The HDMI standards folks have lined up most consumer electronics manufacturers for the new standard, all busy preparing gear using this next-gen format. The specification will be available for download sometime "no later than June 30, 2009." The big winner in this upgrade will be HDMI cable manufacturers and their middlemen accomplices (Best Buy, we're looking at you), all standing at the ready to charge a premium for cables labeled "high speed." Just what we need — more cable ripoffs. The losers: consumers, who will probably end up paying quadruple price for cables labeled "new and improved." We're assuming there will be web-based sellers willing to skirt such artifices. Also on the bright side, we'll get a modicum of added convenience, eliminating extra Ethernet and audio cables.
Check out the details, from HDMI LIcensing, LLC:
HDMI LICENSING, LLC ANNOUNCES FEATURES OF THE UPCOMING HDMI
SPECIFICATION VERSION 1.4
Enhancements Include Networking, Audio Return Channel, 3D Capability,
Improved Performance and New Connectors
SUNNYVALE, Calif., May 27, 2009 - HDMI Licensing, LLC, the agent responsible for licensing
the High-Definition Multimedia Interface® (HDMI®) specification, today announced the
features that will be incorporated in the upcoming HDMI 1.4 specification. This latest
version of the HDMI specification will, among other advancements, offer networking
capabilities with Ethernet connectivity and will add an Audio Return Channel to enable
upstream audio connections via the HDMI cable. The HDMI specification 1.4 will be
available for download on the HDMI LLC website no later than June 30, 2009.
The HDMI 1.4 specification will offer the following enhanced functionalities:
• HDMI Ethernet Channel
The HDMI 1.4 specification will add a data channel to the HDMI cable and will enable
high-speed bi-directional communication. Connected devices that include this
feature will be able to send and receive data via 100 Mb/sec Ethernet, making them
instantly ready for any IP-based application.
The HDMI Ethernet Channel will allow an Internet-enabled HDMI device to share its
Internet connection with other HDMI devices without the need for a separate
Ethernet cable. The new feature will also provide the connection platform to allow
HDMI-enabled devices to share content between devices.
• Audio Return Channel
The new specification will add an Audio Return Channel that will reduce the number
of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback. In cases
where HDTVs are directly receiving audio and video content, this new Audio Return
Channel allows the HDTV to send the audio stream to the A/V receiver over the
HDMI cable, eliminating the need for an extra cable.
• 3D Over HDMI
The 1.4 version of the specification will define common 3D formats and resolutions
for HDMI-enabled devices. The specification will standardize the input/output portion
of the home 3D system and will specify up to dual-stream 1080p resolution.
• 4K x 2K Resolution Support
The new specification will enable HDMI devices to support high-definition (HD)
resolutions four times beyond the resolution of 1080p. Support for 4K x 2K will allow
the HDMI interface to transmit content at the same resolution as many digital
theaters. Formats supported include:
- 3840x2160 24Hz/25Hz/30Hz
- 4096x2160 24Hz
• Expanded Support For Color Spaces
HDMI technology now supports color spaces designed specifically for digital still
cameras. By supporting sYCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601, HDMI-enabled
display devices will be capable of reproducing more accurate life-like colors when
connected to a digital still camera.
• Micro HDMI Connector
The Micro HDMI Connector is a significantly smaller 19-pin connector that supports
up to 1080p resolutions for portable devices. This new connector is approximately
50% smaller than the size of the existing HDMI Micro Connector.
• Automotive Connection System
The Automotive Connection System is a cabling specification designed to be used as
the basis for in-vehicle HD content distribution. The HDMI 1.4 specification will
provide a solution designed to meet the rigors and environmental issues commonly
found in automobiles, such as heat, vibration and noise. Using the Automotive
Connection System, automobile manufactures will now have a viable solution for
distributing HD content within the car.
"The HDMI specification continues to add functionality as the consumer electronics and PC
industries build products that enhance the consumer's HD experience," said Steve Venuti,
president of HDMI Licensing, LLC. "The 1.4 specification will support some of the most
exciting and powerful near-term innovations such as Ethernet connectivity and 3D formats.
Additionally we are going to broaden our solution by providing a smaller connector for
portable devices and a connection system specified for automobiles, as we see both more
and different devices adopting the HDMI technology."
Consumers will also see new HDMI cables introduced to the market. In order to take
advantage of the HDMI Ethernet Channel, consumers will need to purchase either a
Standard HDMI cable with Ethernet, or a High Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet. Consumers
connecting an external device to an in-vehicle HDMI-enabled HD system will need the new
Automotive HDMI cable. Consumers can expect to see new HDMI 1.4 cables introduced to
the market when new HDMI 1.4 devices are available.
Consumers will have a choice of the following HDMI cables:
• Standard HDMI Cable - supports data rates up to 1080i/60;
• High Speed HDMI Cable - supports data rates beyond 1080p, including Deep Color
and all 3D formats of the new 1.4 specification;
• Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet - includes Ethernet connectivity;
• High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - includes Ethernet connectivity;
• Automotive HDMI Cable - allows the connection of external HDMI-enabled devices to
an in-vehicle HDMI device.
The HDMI standard continues to grow in the marketplace with now over 850 adopters
worldwide. The growing adoption of the HDMI specification by both consumer electronics
and PC manufacturers further strengthens its position as the worldwide standard for high-
definition digital connectivity. According to market research firm In-Stat, over 394 million
HDMI-enabled devices are expected to ship in 2009, with an installed base of 1 billion
devices. By the end of 2009 100% of digital televisions are expected to have at least one
The HDMI specification 1.4 will be available for download at http://www.hdmi.org no later
than June 30, 2009.
About HDMI Licensing, LLC
HDMI Licensing, LLC is the agent responsible for licensing the HDMI specification, promoting
the HDMI standard and providing education on the benefits of the HDMI specification to
adopters, retailers and consumers. The HDMI specification was developed by Hitachi,
Panasonic Corporation, Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson and Toshiba as the all-digital
interface standard for the consumer electronics and personal computer markets. The HDMI
specification combines uncompressed high-definition video and multi-channel audio in a
single digital interface to provide crystal-clear digital quality over a single cable. HDMI
Licensing, LLC is a wholly owned subsidiary of Silicon Image, Inc. For more information
about the HDMI specification, please visit www.hdmi.org.
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of federal
securities laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, statements regarding the HDMI
1.4 technology and its anticipated advantages, growth, market, adoption, consumer
demand, and anticipated shipments and product introductions. These forward-looking
statements involve risks and uncertainties, including, but not limited to, risks associated
with the claims made regarding the HDMI 1.4 technology, as well as those risks and
uncertainties described from time to time in Silicon Image's filings with the Securities and
Exchange Commission (SEC). These risks and uncertainties could cause the actual results
to differ materially from those anticipated by the forward-looking statements contained in
this news release. Silicon Image assumes no obligation to update any forward-looking
HDMI is a registered trademark of HDMI Licensing, LLC in the United States and/or other
countries. All other trademarks and registered trademarks are the property of their
respective owners in the Unites States and/or other countries.