7
Aug/09
0

HDMI Versions explained

HDMI devices are manufactured to adhere to various versions of the specification, in which each version is given a number, such as 1.0, 1.2, or 1.3a. Each subsequent version of the specification uses the same kind of cable but increases the bandwidth and/or capabilities of what can be transmitted over the cable. A product listed as having an HDMI version does not necessarily mean that it will have all of the features that are listed for that version, since some HDMI features are optional, such as Deep Color and xvYCC (which is branded by Sony as “x.v.Color“).

Version 1.0 to 1.2

HDMI 1.0 was released December 9, 2002 and is a single-cable digital audio/video connector interface with a maximum TMDS bandwidth of 4.9 Gbit/s. It supports up to 3.96 Gbit/s of video bandwidth (1080p/60 Hz or UXGA) and 8 channel LPCM/192 kHz/24-bit audio. HDMI 1.1 was released on May 20, 2004 and added support for DVD Audio. HDMI 1.2 was released August 8, 2005 and added support for One Bit Audio, used on Super Audio CDs, at up to 8 channels. It also added the availability of HDMI Type A connectors for PC sources, the ability for PC sources to only support the sRGB color space while retaining the option to support the YCbCr color space, and required HDMI 1.2 and later displays to support low-voltage sources. HDMI 1.2a was released on December 14, 2005 and fully specifies Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) features, command sets, and CEC compliance tests.

Version 1.3

HDMI 1.3 was released June 22, 2006 and increased the single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbit/s). It optionally supports Deep Color, with 30-bit, 36-bit, and 48-bit xvYCC, sRGB, or YCbCr, compared to 24-bit sRGB or YCbCr in previous HDMI versions. It also optionally supports output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams for external decoding by AV receivers. It incorporates automatic audio syncing (audio video sync) capability. It defined cable Categories 1 and 2, with Category 1 cable being tested up to 74.25 MHz and Category 2 being tested up to 340 MHz. It also added the new Type C miniconnector for portable devices. HDMI 1.3a was released on November 10, 2006 and had Cable and Sink modifications for Type C, source termination recommendations, and removed undershoot and maximum rise/fall time limits. It also changed CEC capacitance limits, clarified sRGB video quantization range, and CEC commands for timer control were brought back in an altered form, with audio control commands added. HDMI 1.3b was released on March 26, 2007 and added HDMI compliance testing revisions. HDMI 1.3b has no effect on HDMI features, functions, or performance, since the testing is for products based on the HDMI 1.3a specification. HDMI 1.3b1 was released on November 9, 2007 and added HDMI compliance testing revisions, which added testing requirements for the HDMI Type C miniconnector. HDMI 1.3b1 has no effect on HDMI features, functions, or performance, since the testing is for products based on the HDMI 1.3a specification.  HDMI 1.3c was released on August 25, 2008 and added HDMI compliance testing revisions, which changed testing requirements for active HDMI cables. HDMI 1.3c has no effect on HDMI features, functions, or performance, since the testing is for products based on the HDMI 1.3a specification.

Version 1.4

HDMI 1.4 was released on May 28, 2009, and Silicon Image expects their first HDMI 1.4 products to sample in the second half of 2009. HDMI 1.4 increases the maximum resolution to 4K × 2K (3840×2160p at 24Hz/25Hz/30Hz and 4096×2160p at 24Hz, which is a resolution used with digital theaters); an HDMI Ethernet Channel, which allows for a 100 Mb/s Ethernet connection between the two HDMI connected devices; and introduces an Audio Return Channel, 3D Over HDMI, a new Micro HDMI Connector, expanded support for color spaces, and an Automotive Connection System.

Version Comparison

Note that a given product may choose to implement a subset of the given HDMI version. Certain features such as Deep Color and xvYCC support are optional.

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HDMI version 1.0–1.2a 1.3+ 1.4
Maximum signal bandwidth (MHz) 165 340 340[119]
Maximum TMDS bandwidth (Gbit/s) 4.95 10.2 10.2
Maximum video bandwidth (Gbit/s) 3.96 8.16 8.16
Maximum audio bandwidth (Mbit/s) 36.86 36.86 36.86
Maximum color depth (bit/px) 24 48[A] 48
Maximum resolution over single link at 24-bit/px[B] 1920×1200p60 2560×1600p75 4096×2160p24
Maximum resolution over single link at 30-bit/px[C] 2560×1600p60 4096×2160p24
Maximum resolution over single link at 36-bit/px[D] 1920×1200p75 4096×2160p24
Maximum resolution over single link at 48-bit/px[E] 1920×1200p60 1920×1200p60

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

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No Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes

No No Yes Yes Yes Yes

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No No No Yes Yes Yes

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HDMI version 1.0 1.1 1.2
1.2a
1.3 1.3a
1.3b
1.3b1
1.3c
1.4[120]
sRGB
YCbCr
8 channel LPCM/192 kHz/24-bit audio capability
Blu-ray Disc video and audio at full resolution[F]
Consumer Electronic Control (CEC)[G]
DVD Audio support
Super Audio CD (DSD) support[H]
Deep Color
xvYCC
Auto lip-sync
Dolby TrueHD bitstream capable
DTS-HD Master Audio bitstream capable
Updated list of CEC commands
Ethernet Channel
Audio Return Channel
3D Over HDMI
4K x 2K Resolution Support
A  36-bit support is mandatory for Deep Color compatible CE devices, with 48-bit support being optional.
B  Maximum resolution is based on CVT-RB, which is a VESA standard for non-CRT-based displays. Using CVT-RB 1920×1200 would have a video bandwidth of 3.69 Gbit/s, and 2560×1600 would have a video bandwidth of 8.12 Gbit/s.
C  Using CVT-RB would have a video bandwidth of 8.12 Gbit/s.
D  Using CVT-RB would have a video bandwidth of 7.91 Gbit/s.
E  Using CVT-RB would have a video bandwidth of 7.39 Gbit/s.
F  Even for a compressed audio codec that a given HDMI version cannot transport, the source device may be able to decode the audio codec and transmit the audio as uncompressed LPCM.
G  CEC has been in the HDMI specification since version 1.0, but only began to be used in CE products with HDMI version 1.3a.
H  Playback of SACD may be possible for older HDMI versions if the source device (such as the Oppo 970) converts to LPCM.
I  Large number of additions and clarifications for CEC commands. One addition is CEC command, allowing for volume control of an AV receiver.
28
Jul/09
0

How do I choose an HDMI Cable?

Choosing an HDMI cable can be a complex task. There are several factors which you must consider in order to select the best HDMI cable to meet your requirements:

hdmi-cablehd

  • HDMI standards compliance
  • HDMI Cable Categories
  • Cable length
  • Cable quality
  • Active cables
  • HDMI devices
  • Price

HDMI Standards Compliance

Each HDMI cable is rated to comply with a specific revision of the HDMI standards. A cable rated for HDMI 1.2a should meet the requirements of HDMI 1.0, 1.1, and 1.2 — but is not guaranteed to meet the standards for HDMI 1.3.

HDMI Cable Categories

The HDMI standards define two categories of cables. Category 1 HDMI cables are designed to support HDTV resolutions and frame rates. Category 2 cables are required for higher resolutions or higher frame rates.

Cable Length

The HDMI specification does not define a maximum cable length. HDMI cables are commonly available in 3′ to 50′ lengths.

Purchasing a cable longer than necessary will cost you more money, but it will also increase signal loss due to attenuation.

Cable Quality

All other factors being equal, a cable which is built to higher tolerances using better materials will outperform a cable which is built merely to meet a standards specification. In addition, these premium cables will often provide longer service lives.

An HDMI cable can be made using 28 AWG wire, but the use of 24 AWG wire will create a sturdier cable which is more resistant to attenuation.

As with traditional analog stereo cables, premium HDMI cables are often furnished with gold plated connectors to ensure the best possible signal quality.

Active Cables

For specialized high-end applications, some manufacturers are selling active HDMI cables. These cables use a variety of technologies which involve boosting the transmission distance or quality through the addition of electrical power to the cable connection.

Some of these active cables run over fiber optics or Cat-5 cable.

HDMI Devices

Another approach to supporting extremely long cable runs is to chain multiple HDMI cables together with amplifiers, repeaters, or equalizers.

Price

An HDMI cable only has to be good enough to support the equipment which it connects. It is useless to pay for a premium gold-plated HDMI cable for a low-end television set.