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HDMI 1.4 Gets Axed

By Mendelson Tiu | Monday | 01/03/2010

In a radical move, the HDMI licensing authority is set to move away from an evolutionary numbering system for its HDMI cables towards only having a Standard or High Speed classification.

Click to enlarge

The move means that the industry will not see the next generation of 1.4 HDMI cable. Instead, this new cable that includes 3D capability will be marketed as HDMI High Speed cable, according to David Meyer, the CEO of Kordz.

Mr Meyer said, "It is fact that version numbers in HDMI is one of the greatest sources of confusion for the trade and consumers alike, and avoiding such references is the first step towards finally simplifying the technology."

According to HDMI.org, "Adopters may no longer use HDMI version numbers in the labelling, packaging, or promotion of any cable product. This is effective immediately for any references to the HDMI Specification Version 1.4, and adopters have a one-year grace period for removing references to earlier versions of the HDMI specification when describing their cables."

This will result to HDMI cables having five different labels from October 2010: HDMI Standard Speed, HDMI Standard Speed with Ethernet, HDMI High Speed, HDMI High Speed with Ethernet, and HDMI Automotive.

"As has been the case since the introduction of the 1.3 specification back in 2006, Standard Speed is still certified 720p/1080i level, and High Speed is the whole box and dice at 10.2Gbps. Ethernet channel is optional and the new labelling makes it clear for all," said Mr Meyer.

Mr Meyer explained to SmartHouse why we need HDMI High Speed for 3D. "In regards to 3D requirements, it's all simple maths—1080p/60 (2D) is the current Full-HD standard, which uses about 4.45Gbps bandwidth, so the direct equivalent 3D version of this will double to around 8.9Gbps.

"Realistically, however, Blu-ray players will deliver 3D in 1080p/24, which is the format that Panasonic in particular has been pushing for.  It is my prediction, however, that as the gaming world starts to seriously adopt 3D, they won't want 24 frames per second, nor will they be entirely satisfied with 720p. They'll want 1080p at frame rates of at least 60Hz, so high quality bona fide High Speed cables will be an absolute must-have," he said.

However, the only real change to HDMI cables is the new optional Ethernet channel.

Mr Meyer said, "This can then be used for 100Mbps Ethernet distribution throughout a supporting AV system, such as for online content to a new display, Internet radio to an AV receiver, or BD Live function on a Blu-ray player without the need for multiple patch cables via an Ethernet switch. Just one Ethernet cable (CAT6) will go from the wall to a central device, then via HDMI to all other connected devices.

"In addition, Ethernet channel (HEC) in HDMI cable to also be used for audio return channel (ARC), giving the ability for an AV receiver to get the sound from a display's in-built TV tuner and pump it through the surround sound, without having to use a separate TOSlink cable, as has been the case until now. This means one HDMI cable from the AV receiver's output to the TV's HDMI input, carrying video from AVR to TV with external sources such as Blu-ray, but switching to audio return when the TV's tuner is being viewed."

In conclusion, Mr Meyer said, "Don't assume that 3D will be properly supported with any cable that will currently support 1080p/60.  It will with 3D delivery at 720p/60, 1080i/60 or 1080p/24, but nothing more. For 1080p/60 3D, you'll need true certified High Speed."

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