Why upgrade to HDMI 1.4?

HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) has been touted as the best development to happen to Audio/Video products.  HDMI cables ability to carry high definition video and audio through one cable results in ease of connections and more simplicity to your audio/video system.  Since HDMI has been released in December 2002, there has been 6 different versions of HDMI released.  These different versions often times confuse clients that are looking for a new television or a Blu-ray player.  Here is the important thing to note about HDMI.  All of the different versions essentially mean an upgrade of the last generations feature set and allow the new HDMI version to be compliant with a new feature or increasing functionality.  As an example when HDMI 1.3 was released in 2006, one of the upgrades was that it supported new HD lossless audio formats.  Dolby and DTS had came out with digital audio formats (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio) which provided better audio quality and there certainly was a benefit to these new formats. 

What you need to understand about HDMI is that your system is only as good as your weakest link.  As an example if you wanted to have the best sound possible, you would want to have product that has HDMI 1.3 because it has the new lossless audio formats on it.  Lets say for instance you went out and bought a new home theater receiver that had version 1.3 on it and hooked up your Blu-ray player that was a couple of years old into it.  That Blu-ray player since it is a couple of years old, only has HDMI version 1.2.  It would revert back to HDMI 1.2 because the Blu-ray player is not capable of the new audio formats supported with 1.3.  This all gets a bit confusing for most clients and with good reason but hopefully this helps you understand it a little bit further.  HDMI is here to stay and it truly adds functionality and ease to your system.

So as many of you may have heard, recently many products started to ship with a newer version of HDMI called HDMI version 1.4.  So you may ask yourself why did the manufactures need to upgrade to another version?  The simple answer is broadband convergence or networking capability of audio/video devices.  Here are a few statistics of upcoming products: 24% of all consumer electronic devices will requires Ethernet, 100% of game consoles and digital media adapters will have network capability, 80% of Blu-ray devices will have network capabilities, and 72% of PVR/DVRs will have network capabilities.  Consumer electronics are finding new ways to integrate with network content delivering much more capability to you the customer.  Here is what HDMI 1.4 adds specifically:

HDMI Ethernet Channel- Consolidates HD Video, Audio and Data in a single cable and supports speeds up to 100Mbps.  This is bi-directional so it means that it eliminates the need for separate Ethernet port and cable required for enhanced devices.  It allows internet sharing and networking of all you home theater devices with one cable.  If all your products have version 1.4, you would simply plug an ethernet cable into one of them and they would all be networked together through the HDMI cables that connect them instead of having to add additional Ethernet connections for each device. 

Audio Return Channel-Simplifies the audio connection between the TV and A/V Receiver.  In the past if you pulled local TV stations in via antennae you would have to get that audio signal down to the receiver via an audio cable even though you had a hdmi cable plugged in between the TV and Receiver.  With Audio Return Channel it will now send that audio signal to the receiver via the existing HDMI cable eliminating the need to run an additional cable.  This becomes really important when you are mounting your TV on the wall above your equipment because it makes one less cable that needs to be ran within the wall, saving time and money.

3D support-Soon there will be a lot of different content available at home in 3D.  In order to take advantage of this new and exciting technology at home, you will need to have product that has HDMI 1.4 in it to carry the 3D signal.  This is considered the most advantageous part of HDMI 1.4. 

Support for 4k x 2k resolution-Today’s TV’s support a resolution of 1080.  This new resolution is the same resolution as many of the state of the art digital theaters and is 4 times the resolution of 1080p.   This will be the wave of the future and HDMI 1.4 has the capability to turn this into reality.

Real Time Content Signaling-Enables the TV to optimize picture settings based on the content type.  This will enable simple, automated picture setting selection without you having to change any settings. 

Support for Additional Color Spaces-in short, enables the TV to reproduce the rich, natural, lifelike colors from digital still camera and increases the accuracy and consistency between the 2 devices. 

Micro HDMI Connector-Many small portable devices are becoming sources of HD content.  Such as cell phones, pocket cameras, and other portable devices where connection space is a premium.  The new connection will be roughly half the size of the existing HDMI Mini connector.  It will have the ability to carry all the features in a much smaller cable. 

Automotive Connection System-It is designed for in vehicle HD distribution.  Includes an interlocking connector for internal connections and is able to withstand the rigors of an automotive environment. 

HDMI 1.4 certainly packs a punch and has a lot of new capabilities that will benefit you for years to come.  To find out more about how to best setup a new system or take advantage of some of these new features, give us a call.  We are here to help you and we provide full sales, design, and install services. 


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