One more standard for everyone

Not to the surprise of DailyTech readers, the HDMI Founder companies announced the 1.3 revision of HDMI last weekDailyTech earlier ran a story about the new standard, which includes support for "Deep Color."  For the most part, the new standard is just an increase of the single-link bandwidth from 165MHz to 340MHz -- giving the protocol approximately 10.2Gbps of bandwidth.

The HDMI Founders were quick to grab a sound bite from Ken Kutaragi, president and group CEO of SCE, who claims "By introducing the next-generation HDMI 1.3 technology, with its high speed and deep color capabilities, PS3 will push the boundaries of audiovisual quality to the next level of more natural and smoother expression on the latest large flat panel displays."

HDMI 1.3 is backwards compatible with existing HDMI devices. The HDMI founders list the new additions to the standard as follows:
  • Higher speed: HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth from 165MHz (4.95 gigabits per second) to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future high definition display devices, such as higher resolutions, Deep Color and high frame rates. In addition, built into the HDMI 1.3 specification is the technical foundation that will let future versions of HDMI reach significantly higher speeds.
  • Deep color: HDMI 1.3 supports 30-bit, 36-bit and 48-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 24-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification.
    • Lets HDTVs and other displays go from millions of colors to billions of colors
    • Eliminates on-screen color banding, for smooth tonal transitions and subtle gradations between colors
    • Enables increased contrast ratio
    • Can represent many times more shades of gray between black and white. At 30-bit pixel depth, four times more shades of gray would be the minimum, and the typical improvement would be eight times or more
  • Broader color space: HDMI 1.3 removes virtually all limits on color selection.
    • Next-generation "xvYCC" color space supports 1.8 times as many colors as existing HDTV signals
    • Lets HDTVs display colors more accurately
    • Enables displays with more natural and vivid colors
  • New mini connector: With small portable devices such as HD camcorders and still cameras demanding seamless connectivity to HDTVs, HDMI 1.3 offers a new, smaller form factor connector option.
  • Lip Sync: Because consumer electronics devices are using increasingly complex digital signal processing to enhance the clarity and detail of the content, synchronization of video and audio in user devices has become a greater challenge and could potentially require complex end-user adjustments. HDMI 1.3 incorporates an automatic audio/video synching capability that allows devices to perform this synchronization automatically with accuracy.
  • New lossless audio formats: In addition to HDMI’s current ability to support high-bandwidth uncompressed digital audio and currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and DTS), HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new, lossless compressed digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
Unfortunately, all is not beer and Skittles for the HDMI Founders.  Silicon Image, an HDMI Founder, is an integral cornerstone in the UDI protocol; a competing HD point-to-point transfer protocol. Yet, even UDI does not have much support with the hardware manufacturers, as PC companies have introduced a third HD protocol, called DisplayPort, to replace DVI and offset UDI and HDMI.

"Let's face it, we're not changing the world. We're building a product that helps people buy more crap - and watch porn." -- Seagate CEO Bill Watkins
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