Print 41 comment(s) - last by TomZ.. on Jul 27 at 5:41 PM

HDMI continues to pick up momentum over other standards

The HDMI consortium announced earlier this month that it has reduced the licensing fees for using HDMI in devices from $15,000 per year down to $10,000 per year. Representatives from the organization said that the price reduction is designed to encourage companies to develop products that use the HDMI interface.

The new price will go into effect starting November of this year. The growing popularity and adoption of HDMI was also a determining factor for the price reduction. According to Leslie Chard, president of HDMI Licensing LLC, "the reduction of the annual fee, which was already minimal, will make it easier for smaller manufacturers to license the HDMI specification and will help ensure that all companies, large or small, can implement cutting edge HDMI technology into their products."

The HDMI interface carries a DVI signal along with digital audio signals for a seamless one-cable interface. HDMI devices have actually been shipping to store shelves for several years now. The HDMI interface recently received an upgrade in specification -- up to version 1.3. Improvements include higher resolution support, bandwidth upgraded from 165MHz to 225MHz, and a feature called "deep color".

More PC products with HDMI are being announced as well. PowerColor announced that its X1600 PRO HDMI video card is now available. The card features true HDMI connectivity with support for HDCP. Sapphire also announced availability of its X1600Pro HDMI, but unlike the PowerColor card, the Sapphire card lacks a S/PDIF connect for audio output in case the user is using the DVI adapter.

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Not to sound stupid, but...
By archcommus on 7/26/2006 10:25:35 AM , Rating: 2
Can someone tell me the advantage of having video and audio in one cable? The two feeds are never going to the same device (and only sometimes COMING from the same device) so how is this beneficial?

Sorry, HDMI n00b here...

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By Tuan Nguyen on 7/26/2006 10:30:45 AM , Rating: 3
For example going from a DVD component into a multi-channel receiver. The received is then connected digitally via HDMI or DVI to a digital display.

If not, you would have to use at least two cables (one for video and a SPDIF or optical Toslink for audio) and in some cases more (if you're using analog cables).

In many cases, the receiver will have multiple inputs from different video components, and acts as a video switching device. That's the only case where you wouldn't plug the video device directly into a display using HDMI (or any other connection).

In some cases, customers do not have multi-channel receivers, and just have a HD-DVD set top box and a display for example. A single HDMI cable would do the job nicely in this scenario.


RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By archcommus on 7/26/2006 10:36:10 AM , Rating: 2
Ahh I see. Well if I was interested in building a home theater I would almost definitely just build an HTPC. In which case, in the future, would I have a discreet sound card and video card that both have their own HDMI outputs, and thus still be using two HDMI cables (one to go to monitor/TV and one to go to sound system receiver, for example)?

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By Dulanic on 7/26/2006 10:38:48 AM , Rating: 2
You are correct, but the newer 1.3 HDMI specs go beyond that, HDMI is getting to the point where you will turn on your DVD player and if everything is chained everything else will turn on and go to the correct input automatically. It is very cool stuff.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By archcommus on 7/26/2006 10:42:04 AM , Rating: 2
Can you give me an example of this chaining? Like having TV->HD DVD player->console? I'm trying to think of some actually realistic/pratical examples.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By namechamps on 7/26/2006 11:41:02 PM , Rating: 2
Really no reason to do that. Any video card (or MB) with HDMI likely has an internal SPDIF header. So you connect your sound card to your video card internally. Then you have one HDMI cable from your HTPC to your receiver. Then you have another cable going from your receiver to your HDTV.

With one source and one display it doesn't really matter but everything is going HDMI so in the future you may have your HTPC, STB (cable ot sat), game system & HD-DVD Player all connected by HDMI to your receiver. Then your receiver has one cable going to your TV.

Imagine how simply the Home Theater rack would look like 4 components w/ total of 4 cables. Then if you have say your 65" plasma hanging on wall you would only have one cable comming from the receiver to your HDTV. To me that is a nice clean setup. Most receivers that handle HDMI switching will also do analog upconverting. This means if you have some legacy devices w/ only component or s-video the receiver will convert them to a TDMS signal and send it to your TV over the single HDMI cable.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By SunAngel on 7/26/2006 11:55:17 AM , Rating: 1
LOL! Thats funny. Sony has been doing that for nearly 25 years with the Control-S features on its products. You turn on the tv and the dvd player starts and the stereo switches on. All you have to do is grab your tub of popcorn and quart of soda. But nearly everyone here clobbers Sony for their innovation. But the moment someone other than Sony does it its not so bad of a technology. Hypocrites all of you!

By epsilonparadox on 7/26/2006 12:44:56 PM , Rating: 2
Ah yes the proprietory connection available on Sony products only. If Sony had been innovative enough to allow it to be an open standard maybe it would've been cool. But that doesn't really matter to me, my harmony 880 has one-button activity also and no two components in my home-theater is the same.

By mendocinosummit on 7/26/2006 12:49:05 PM , Rating: 2
I just don't like Sony's business practices. I like what South Park does; on all of there episodes that show a TV or DVD player they have Fony. It might be stupid, but I will never support a corp like Sony.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By brystmar on 7/26/2006 12:53:02 PM , Rating: 2
Maybe so, but you failed to mention the most important part: [b]you have to buy everything from Sony in order for it to work![/b] Many companies (not just Sony) have offered this for a very long time, but you need to purchase each component from the same brand for it to work. So if you have all Sony gear it'll work nicely, but if you throw a Toshiba DVD player into the mix it won't work.

HDMI standardizes all of this across the brand and platform levels; this way your Sony HDTV, Denon receiver, Toshiba DVD player, and Motorola HD-DVR will all work together seamlessly.

12v triggers have been used for basic on/off control of components from different brands for awhile in the higher end audio and professional realms, but that required an extra mono cable and was never supported by most basic consumer-level products.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By Eric2203 on 7/26/2006 8:11:44 PM , Rating: 2
And every company with a multi-device communication idea will force you to use their products too, not just Sony.

What has this to do with Sony anyway...

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By Roomraider on 7/26/2006 11:40:56 PM , Rating: 2
The one very important aspect that you are not taking into account is, the digital audio signal through an HDMI cable is 2.0. Dolby Digital 5.1 and so on which is only available through toslink/fiber optic or coaxial is not possible with this application. A lot of people have been mislead into buying hardware with HDMI and later, to much dissapointment find this out.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By namechamps on 7/26/2006 11:53:22 PM , Rating: 2

HDMI 1.1 added uncompressed multichannel support.
HDMI 1.3 added compressed HD audio support.

Right now I have a Toshiba HD-A1 (HD-DVD player) connected to my onkyo receiver by HDMI. It transmits uncompressed video & uncompressed audio (6 channel PCM) at up to 24/96.

HDMI 1.1 supports a max of 10 channels (aka 9.1 sound) at up to 24/192 resolution. Far beyond anything that toslink can handle. HDMI 1.1 also supports sending the compressed Dolby & DTS signal to your receiver. HDMI 1.3 adds support for the newer HD formats (although there are no receivers that can decode them yet).

Toslink will NOT support Dolby Digital PLUS, Dobly TrueHD, or DTS-HD. Only HDMI (or 6/8 channel analog) will support those formsts.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By therealnickdanger on 7/26/2006 10:31:46 AM , Rating: 2
I believe the idea is that you can "daisy chain" all your devices together, so if you have an HDTV, an HD-DVD player, a DVR, and a receiver, you only need four cables for them to all communicate and send the proper signals to where they need to go. If that's how it plays out in the next 3 years, that would be sweet-as-pie.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By namechamps on 7/26/2006 11:52:18 AM , Rating: 2
HDMI can NOT be daisy chained.

HDMI is point to point.

SO if you have 4 devices (HTPC, HD-DVD players, xbox, STB)
you would need to use 4 HDMI cables to connect it to an HDMI receiver. Then one more cable to connect receiver to your display. So total # of cables will be n+1 (where n = # of sources).

Now some people say they dont need HDMI but truth is that within 5 years EVERYTHING will use HDMI.

High res audio formats Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TueHD, DTS-HD, DTS-HD Master require HDMI.

Analog sunset will begin by 2010 for premium HD (HD-DVD, Bluray, premium cable etc).

Now right now receivers w/ 2 HDMI ports range from $500-$1500. For 3+ ports (max I have seen is 4) they range from $2000-$6000. Howeve the costs are already comming down and will come down even more in future. Plus as an alternate as long as u have a receiver w/ 1 HDMI in and 1 HDMI out you use a HDMI switcher which run from $200 - $500 for 2 - 5 HDMI ports.

HDMI will be the high speed digital interconnect for next 20 years or so. Except HDMI to do for CE devices what USB did for PC devices.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By Ecmaster76 on 7/26/2006 12:07:09 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI can be daisychained. A device would simply go into a passthrough mode while instandby. As long as it doesn't degrade the signal, there is nothing prventing this from being implemented.

Sattelite receiver ouputs to TV. User hits a button and the receiver goes into standby. User turns on DVD player, which is connected to an input on the receiver. It works immediately.

Not saying this exists or ever will. But it could.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By namechamps on 7/26/2006 11:58:42 PM , Rating: 2
Ok I will grant you that it "could" but it never will. Why because daisy chaining would require 2 HDMI ports on every device. Already there are DVD players, ps3, HD-DVD players, Bluray players & STB with only one port. How will they daisy chain.

USB could techincally support daisy chaining (including a 2 port inernal hub in each device) but it never went that route. Make the devies cheaper and connect them to a hub. In this case the hub is the Home Theater Receiver.

Nice thing about HDMI is it works for low end and high end.

Low end system. 2 HDMI sources, and 1 HDMI display. Some people dont own/want a home theater system. Connect the 2 sources to the TV and your are down.

High end system. 3-4 HDMI sources, 1 HDMI receiver, and 1 HDMI diaplay. Connect all sources to receiver and connect receiver to the display.

Ultra high end system. 5+ HDMI sources, 1 HDMI receiver, and 1 HDMI display. Connect all sources to a HDMI switch, connect HDMI switch to the receiver, and receiver to display.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By SaintSinner1 on 7/26/2006 1:46:22 PM , Rating: 2
HDMI will be the high speed digital interconnect for next 20 years or so. Except HDMI to do for CE devices what USB did for PC devices.

OMG Noooooooo !!! another 20 years with so many cables !!?? I hope some new wireless technology standard will do to HDMI same as Blutooth and wireless network doing to USB ... my printer, camera, mouse, keyboard, speakers are wireless so why not my Monitor , TV, DVR ... huh ? why not ?

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By Torched on 7/26/2006 2:15:52 PM , Rating: 2
There is a good reason > bandwidth... There is no wireless standard yet that can move that amount of data. Maybe second generation UWB.

RE: Not to sound stupid, but...
By phusg on 7/27/2006 6:01:02 AM , Rating: 2
High res audio formats Dolby Digital Plus, Dolby TueHD, DTS-HD, DTS-HD Master require HDMI.

This appears to be true! Apparantely Coax/Toslink output don't have the bandwidth for these new formats. Current HD-DVD devices output these improved audio formats as analog 5.1 or HDMI 1.3, or downsample the signal to a max of DTS 1.5mbps, compared to a max of 3.0mbps for DD+.

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