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HDMI - Past, Present, and Future

Last response: in Tom's Guide
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January 8, 2007 10:12:07 AM

In 2002, the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) was founded by major electronics manufacturers, including Hitachi, Philips, Sony, Toshiba and others.
January 8, 2007 4:20:40 PM

It does not make sense to continue changing HDMI. Millions of TVs and receivers become obsolete with each new version. Leave it alone.
January 8, 2007 5:19:29 PM

30 - 48 bit color.....

LCD's have a hard time with 24bit.....how are we gonna get 48 out of them....

and as aUser says quit making my damn tv's obsolete.....
Related resources
January 8, 2007 5:25:35 PM

So, per the article, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD recorders will not be able to record through an HDMI port. How will they record and copy home-made Hi-Def movies?

Perhaps the author can clarify the role of HDMI in the overall perspective of video content and data transfer between these various devices.
January 8, 2007 7:00:36 PM

So, what version is the HDMI port on the PS3? Knowing Sony, they will have different formats on different versions of consoles leaving the consumer to guess which version they got AFTER they purchase it.
January 8, 2007 11:47:22 PM

Quote:
With an HDMI receiver, you can run one HDMI cable from video sources (such as an HD disc player or HDTV cable box) into the receiver input, and another HDMI cable from the receiver output into the HDTV display input. ... While there might not be much difference in audio quality between HDMI and a separate digital audio cable to most listeners, it does consolidate at least one cable in your system.


Yes, but I bet most people who cough up $3K or more for an HDTV are going to have a surround sound system, so the audio being carried from receiver to display is largely a useless capacity that you are paying for.

Another obvious issue is the lack of HDMI cable support for PCs. There is certainly no move from video card and sound card makers makers like ATI, Nvidia and Creative to integrate their products (combo video/audio card). And integrating HDMI on a typical PC motherboard is asking for jitter and noise issues with the sound. Using an auto negotiating interface like USB with an outboard DAC is a better sonic solution.

With no backward compatibility, DRM, and real issues for HTPCs; HDMI
is the next Blue Ray, HD-DVD, SACD, DVD-A meltdown for the 0 consumer.
January 9, 2007 1:20:19 AM

If your receiver can integrate a video source from one input and an audio source from another (my old Sony STR-DA4ES does this with S-Video and Optical inputs), then the disadvantage of having an HDMI signal without sound is non-existent. The only advantage to HDMI that I see is size; smaller connectors mean you can fit more physical connections within the same space factor. The big advantage DVI-I has over HDMI is that it also supports analog, which HDMI cannot.
January 9, 2007 11:38:49 PM

I wrote the following paragraph on Digg about 5 months ago. It is as relevant now as it was then:

IMHO, the whole HDTV phenomenon has been hyped way too much. There are too many technical issues to be resolved before any reasonable person would commit to the arduous task of upgrading their home theater equipment. For example, there are so many competing technologies right now and more coming right around the corner. You have LCD, Plasma, DLP, LCoS, SED, Carbon Nanotube, Laser, etc. You have the whole Blue-Ray/HD-DVD situation to deal with. Moreover, most OTA HD content and even the digital cable/satellite HD content is miniscule compared to the analog content. Wake me up when the OTA/Cable/Satellite HD content is at least 70%. Tap me on the shoulder when the above-mentioned HDTV technologies have matured past the hype stage and you can identify a clear winner so I won’t waste my money on a white elephant. And before I forget you might want to clear up the HDMI and HDCP issues as well unless you just like gambling and wasting money. I will check back in on HDTV in 2010 thank you very much. :-/
January 10, 2007 9:19:05 AM

Hey guys,

I have a question on HDMI with respect to audio.

How will all this link up from the source (HDDVD/BRDVD) to the TV and Audio system? I'm fairly new to this, but with HDMI being part of the content protection scheme, can audio only go via the HDMI interface to a audio (amplifier for instance) device?

The way I interpret it, is as follows: let's say we have a digital decoder satelite receiver. We receive HD content here (hypethetically), and it's then transmitted to my non existing 1080p LCD tv via HDMI. Will the TV allow me to output audio through it, via optical to my Z5500 speakers (bypass speakers from TV)? Or will the Audio only play thorugh the TV based on the whole HDMI protection scheme?

As already stated, I'm fairly new with regards to HDMI, but would like to know whether my logi's will have any value come the full on HD movement. So in short, does HDMI and HD force me to upgrade tv, speakers and girlfriend?
January 10, 2007 10:01:33 AM

Quote:
The way I interpret it, is as follows: let's say we have a digital decoder satelite receiver. We receive HD content here (hypethetically), and it's then transmitted to my non existing 1080p LCD tv via HDMI. Will the TV allow me to output audio through it, via optical to my Z5500 speakers (bypass speakers from TV)? Or will the Audio only play thorugh the TV based on the whole HDMI protection scheme?


The way it works is that you would pipe ther signal from each source (in this example the satellite receiver) to your AV receiver, and then to your display. The audio would be piped to your amplifier. If your TV had more than one HDMI connector, you could *probably* use it as a source. But the prefered system design is to run every source to the receiver, and distribute the signal from there. This is the problem with using an HTPC as the receiver, the dang HDMI connectors.
January 10, 2007 1:13:04 PM

Hello all,

Yes, I should have clarified that you will be able to record non-HDCP material such as home-movies, etc. We will add this to the article.

Also, the PS3 does have the HDMI version 1.3 port.

Thanks all for your feedback

Chris
January 10, 2007 4:43:50 PM

"In addition, HDMI 1.3 will accommodate the next generation home theater sound formats of Dolby TrueHD and DTS HD Master Audio, which use up to 8 channels of 24-bit, 96 kHz lossless audio at up to 18 Mbps. All non-1.3 receivers will playback the legacy DTS and Dolby Digital formats"

Very good article but there is something incorrect in the statement above.

While it is true that without HDMI 1.3 the blu-ray or hd-dvd player cannot sent the next gen audio codec to be decoded by the receiver what some may not realize is that the audio can be decoded first in the player then sent to the receiver. The exact same great audio makes it to the receiver but the receivers job is not to decode it just to direct it to the correct speakers.

Here is how this all works now with my Toshiba HD-A2 hd-dvd player and my hdmi receiver.

In the hd-dvd player I have a couple of options.

Scenario 1. Player connected to tv via component or hdmi. and connected through optical cable to receiver.

The next gen audio (Dolby Digital Plus or Dolby True HD) audio is downconverted to DTS 1.5mbs stream and sent to the receiver through optical cable. Receiver sees it as DTS audio. Please note it is still better sounding then standard dolby digital on standard dvd.

Scenario 2: Player is connected to av receiver through hdmi and receiver is connected to tv through hdmi.

The Toshiba takes whatever the audio is and converts it to PCM mode audio. (Bitstream is what you use through optical normally). The audio is then sent to the receiver as 5.1 seperate channels of audio. The sound is not reduced at all. You are getting the audio quality of Dolby Digital Plus and/or True HD played through your receiver. The only difference is where the audio is first decoded. When I do this my receiver recognizes the audio as multi channel input and pcm instead of as dolby digital or dts specifically. It also sees it coming through at the higher 96khz quality.

When i have standard dvd or cd playing through my receiver it is at 44-48khz.

Now one caveat to what I said if the blu-ray or hd-dvd player does not have audio codecs built in then yes you are stuck with older sound. Not to stir the pot too much but that is one main reason I am currently supporting hd-dvd instead of blu-ray. The blu-ray players on the market currently have no ability to decode in this fashion. That is why many blu-ray movies will come some times with great video but only "older" DTS audio.. basically the same track you would find on the standard def version of the dvd.

All Toshiba's hd-dvd players do this audio decoding for you. All though to get the best sound you need a receiver that accepts hdmi. But it does not need to be 1.3.
January 10, 2007 6:51:36 PM

From page 4 of the article:
Quote:
...unlike other A/V cable standards, the HDMI standard requires the security of HDCP.
This is not true. HDMI is a connector/cable standard. HDCP CAN be carried over HDMI, but it is not "required". The HDCP is licensed and is optionally used on HDMI.

Many of today's HDMI sources (computer video cards, etc) can still be connected to HDMI/HDCP capable receivers and TVs without any issues - they do work. In fact, a friend of mine has done just this, and his Yamaha receiver reports an "HDCP error", but still outputs the video from the computer normally.

The point is, HDCP is NOT required on an HDMI connection. At least until the content industry (may they rot in hell) starts locking down their content.
January 10, 2007 7:01:47 PM

You are correct, I should have phrased it differently:

....The HDMI standard does not require HDCP to function. However, it is required by industry groups and governmental regulation.....

I will make the revision in the article. Thanks for the heads up.

Chris
January 11, 2007 8:03:56 PM

The Xbox 360 puts out 1080p without the HDMI cable. It does it over componet cables just fine.
January 11, 2007 8:12:04 PM

What source material? If it is a copyrighted source, then it does appear that they are not enforcing their published standards.... good!
January 12, 2007 2:09:37 PM

Quote:
What source material? If it is a copyrighted source, then it does appear that they are not enforcing their published standards.... good!
The industry has not yet "enabled" the HDCP requirement, as far as I know or have seen... but they could do so whenever they want to. Which means, some day when you get a new High-def DVD with this enabled, you may find that your non-HDCP system may not play it at full resolution. The sad thing is that an uninformed consumer may THINK they are watching it in HD, but it's actually reduced quality.

Remember, the entire HDMI chain of devices ALL have to be HDCP compliant for the HD quality to be "unlocked". so, if you go from your DVD player to the receiver to the TV via HDMI, then they ALL must be HDCP compliant, otherwise (when the HDCP is being enforced) you will get a low-res version instead.

This is particularly annoying to people with home-grown HTPC systems (like myself)... as there is currently no way we can get an HDCP-compliant video card to use on our MythTV or even home-built Windows MCE boxes. Nice and fair, isn't it?

I have faith that the pirates and hackers will find a way around this... and then I won't bother buying those HD-resoultion DVDs at all. Screw you, content industry.
January 12, 2007 3:35:55 PM

Terrible! I hope you able to find some way around any issues that might come up.

What do you know about HD downloads.... I'm just starting to get my feet wet in this area. How are the services? Do you think it might knock off HD Discs down the line?
January 17, 2007 11:14:05 AM

I don't know much about the HD downloads, honestly.

I know that recently, the HD-DVD format has been broken (for a few titles at least) and those videos are available online through the usual-suspect sources. The downloads for those stand at about 19GB, which is enormous. If the other services provide downloads at this quality, then I find it hard to see how they can afford to provide 19GB worth of data in any reasonable time. So, I imagine, they heavily compress it somehow, or they aren't really in HD. I don't know which it is, but it's probably a mix of the two.

I, too, hope that there will be workarounds for HDCP, as I simply hate the concept. I imagine there will be, but the question is - how easy will it be for the lay-person to do... we'll have to wait and see.
January 18, 2007 1:06:05 PM

Chris,

I found the article very informative but I have a few questions on the audio capabilities. In the first page you said "Supports... 8-channel/192kHz/24-bit audio" but in the table for HDMI 1.2, its says "Maximum Audio Sample Frequency (2 channels): 192 kHz" and "Maximum Audio Sample Frequency (3 to 8 channels): 96 kHz (4 streams max)." Does this mean that 24 bit/192 kHz sampling is available for 2 channels only and 8 channels are limited to 24 bit/96 kHz sampling? Also, what are the "streams" mentioned in the table?

Thanks,
Drew
January 18, 2007 2:02:21 PM

Drew,

Thanks for the heads up. I'm in the process of modifying this information.

All versions of HDMI support 8 channel audio up to 192khz, and HDMI 1.3 supports 8 channel audio up to 768khz.

So the text portion is correct and the table will read:

Maximum Audio Sample Frequency
(up to 8 channels) 192 kHz (for 1.2) 768 kHz (for 1.3)

***

So you can listed to Dolby TrueHD and DTS, etc uncompressed with HDMI 1.3, and via PCM with HDMI 1.2.

Sorry for the confusion.

Chris
January 18, 2007 7:10:35 PM

Chris,

Thanks for clarifying the sample rate limits but what about the second question on the meaning of "streams" mentioned in the next line of the original chart?

Drew
January 18, 2007 7:45:42 PM

Streams means how many audio channels were being used at that moment.
!