HDMI 1.4 Brings Ethernet, 3D, 4K Support To AV

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News Posted: Sat, May 30 2009 8:19 AM

Remember the days when we weren't even sure if Sony's PlayStation 3 would rely on HDMI to output its high-definition content? Seems like an eternity ago, right? Today, HDMI is a home theater mainstay, and a practical guarantee on any piece of new A/V equipment. We're even seeing it pop up on lower-end notebooks these days, which certainly goes to show just how pervasive the format has become.

This week, the HDMI Licensing group announced the next logical step in the protocol, with HDMI 1.4 being revealed. Obviously, this takes over where HDMI 1.3 (the existing specification) left off, and we definitely have mixed feeling on the whole thing. For starters, we're thrilled to see such advancements delivered to HDMI. This new spec promises networking capabilities with Ethernet connectivity, not to mention an Audio Return Channel to enable upstream audio connections via the HDMI cable. Furthermore, it will support 3D over HDMI and 4K x 2K resolution. Finally, it'll support an array of expanded colors and even a microHDMI connector that is approximately 50% smaller than the size of the existing HDMI Mini Connector.



HDMI 1.4 is even tailored to automobiles...if you buy the right cable. You see, for as many things as HDMI 1.4 does right, it gets one thing very wrong. Consumers don't need any more confusion in their lives, especially when it comes to A/V. Instead of having just one cable that does it all (like HDMI 1.3), HDMI 1.4 will arrive in five different versions for varying needs. We appreciate the chance to choose, but in this industry, we can't see this going over well with unseasoned cable buyers.

The specification should be fully available to cable makers and equipment designers by the end of June, and while there's no time line given as to when we'll see HDMI 1.4 certified cords, we'd guess they'll be infiltrating Best Buy within the year. More details on the new features and five cable options are below.




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 Mini 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.


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.



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3vi1 replied on Sat, May 30 2009 9:14 PM

>> This new spec promises networking capabilities with Ethernet connectivity

Wonderful: Now they can add artificial HDCP restrictions to the network devices.

hdcp

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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Dave_HH replied on Sat, May 30 2009 10:42 PM

One word for you 3vi1... jaded! :)

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3vi1 replied on Sat, May 30 2009 11:16 PM

Heheh... true.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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You guys make my day. Also Dave I can now forgive you now for the Dave_HH is now playing FarCry 2 pop up 20 times over my ubercharge meter in my Team Fortress 2 match earlier.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, May 31 2009 12:23 AM

Heheh... Me and my son were kicking back with a little frag time. :)

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nelsoncp21 replied on Sun, May 31 2009 12:39 AM

nothing about them working out the length issues with HDMI huh. sure just throw more features but don't improve what is already lacking. Looks like you will still be using component for whole house distribution among other things.

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Dave_HH replied on Sun, May 31 2009 8:54 AM

Hmmm... what's max run for HDMI? I'm not even sure off hand.

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3vi1 replied on Sun, May 31 2009 3:30 PM

less than 50ft, without a repeater or transceiver, from what I've read.

Bug note:  If you start your message with a less than sign, it's assumed to be an unclosed markup tag and the message comes out blank.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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you can sometimes get 75-100 feet to work but no gaurantess. Anything over 50 feet you take the risk of haveing issues.

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digitaldd replied on Tue, Jun 2 2009 12:23 PM

Wow this new standard seems so confusing that I bet Monster is behind it. I wonder how much they paid to make it so confusing that they can make it easir for retailers to upsell customers to $200 3ft cables. pretty soon the cables will cost more than the deivices that they connect.

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