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Specification supports 4K video and 32 channel audio

The HDMI Forum is a nonprofit association that manages the HDMI specification. Today the HDMI 2.0 specification has been officially unveiled and is available for partners to download right now. HDMI 2.0 promises significantly increased bandwidth allowing new features.

HDMI 2.0 supports bandwidth of up to 18 Gbps. That gives the specification the bandwidth to support 4K 50/60 resolution video -- that is four times the clarity of standard 1080p/60 video. HDMI 2.0 also supports 32 audio channels along with dynamic auto lip-see and extensions to CEC.

HDMI 2.0 is backwards compatible with earlier versions of HDMI, and perhaps the best news is that HDMI 2.0 doesn't require new plugs or new cables. Existing high-speed category two cables are already capable of carrying the increased bandwidth provided by HDMI 2.0.

The HDMI 2.0 specification is available for adopters to download via the HDMI Adopter Extranet. A press conference will be held to discuss the new features of HDMI 2.0 at IFA 2013 in Berlin this Friday.


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RE: Stupid (?) question...
By EricMartello on 9/4/2013 11:43:20 PM , Rating: 2
1) How much more would it cost?

Initial models will be expensive. If and when it catches on with consumers, you'll have price/quality tiers as you do with most electronics. Eventually you could probably get a decent speaker system for under $1,000.

2) Who has the room or the aesthetic taste for all those speaker boxes all over the place?

People who really like immersive home entertainment? Keep in mind that these speakers do not necessarily need to be huge. For small to medium size rooms, you could get by with "cube" speakers that are 4-5" cubes. Larger rooms would benefit from larger speakers.

They could also introduce "arrays" which are basically like "sound bars" except that you place the sound bars around your seating area rather than just in front.

4) How much positional fidelity does the human ear really provide: can it discriminate positional sound to +/- 10 degrees? 5? 1? At what point do diminishing returns make for not just overkill, but nonsensical overkill? A related question might be, how does this ultimate limit of human auditory positional perception fidelity degrade when sound is not your entire focus of attention (e.g. when you're preoccupied with other visual/emotional/cognitive stimuli at the same time, and likely to a much greater extent)?

Human senses tend to get underrated when we're talking about entertainment stuff. For instance, a lot of people claim that the eye cannot discern detail finer than 1080p on a 50 inch screen - not true, our eyes can see a lot more detail than 1080p offers. The same is true for our ears, although some people are less sensitive to certain sound frequency ranges than others...overall we have pretty good hearing.

The idea with 32 channels is to create the illusion of a bigger space by using many speakers with independently controlled channels. It would work similar to the way "two speaker surround" works, which is by isolating groups of frequencies and adding very brief delays between them to create a "wider" sound stage with a broader "sweet spot".

With 32 independent audio channels, you'd have a larger sweet spot for sound effects than you do with 5.1 or 7.1 systems. What does this mean for you? Basically, it would be possible to create the illusion of sound emanating from anywhere within your room, or even somewhere far beyond your room. I'm not talking like "maybe sorta kinda" that you get with 5.1, I'm talking like "oh snap my coffee table sounds like a truck but I can hear the guy talking as if he is right next to me and yelling into my ear" type of potential.

5) What's the perceptual gain from a 14-speaker system vs. a 7-speaker system? What's the gain from a 21-speaker system vs. a 14-speaker system? If 7.1 sound is already pretty much "good enough", and then further if 14.2 sound would be astonishingly-awesome by comparison, then what would be the point of 30.2 sound???

The more independently controlled speakers you have, the greater the potential for replicating positional effects with accuracy and believability. Not only for single effects, for multiple simultaneous effects.

A 14-channel speaker system would sound nice but I think they'd opt for a figure that goes into 360 evenly so that the speakers could be evenly placed around the listening area. It wouldn't be a "hard" requirement because the A/V receiver would likely have a calibration routine to ensure that the the appropriate delays are added based on actual speaker positions within the room.

6) An intelligently built sound system can recreate a very complex sound field with very few speakers, simply by playing around with how the various speakers are timed relative to each other, and thus how their soundwaves interfere in space. Surround sound can be simulated with a stereo speaker system. What could be simulated with a 7-speaker system? (And is there even any need?)

Two-speaker surround requires that your head is almost perfectly triangulated with the speakers to get the "surround" effect, and even then it's not as convincing as having dedicated speakers in various locations throughout the room. This effect is created by the sound processor according to whatever algorithm they use.

As I said above, imagine how awesome it would be to have that same "virtual surround" tech applied to a large array of speakers. Everyone in the room could sit comfortably and enjoy those 3D sound effects, as opposed to having to sit in the sweet spot. The more speakers you have, the greater your "audio resolution" meaning that you'd have more uniquely discernible sounds playing simultaneously and convincingly from various locations throughout your room.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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