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Learn About The HDMI 1.4 Specification


Do you carry HDMI 1.4 cables?

Our existing line of HDMI cables will support devices with HDMI 1.4 features such as 4K x 2K resolution, 3D and audio return channel. Devices that have the HDMI with Ethernet feature will require an HDMI High Speed with Ethernet cable which is not currently available. When devices using HDMI with Ethernet features become available to the market, we will extend our product offering to support those products.

Keep in mind that installing a cable supporting HDMI 1.4 features does not give your existing devices of previous HDMI specifications the ability to experience 4K x 2K resolution, 3D, audio return or Ethernet. New AV equipment supporting desired features is required in order to experience the newly specified features. For example: A 3D Blu-ray® player will be unable to display 3D video on an existing HDTV with previous HDMI features. A new HDTV with 3D support will be required in this scenario in order to experience 3D video playback.

What is HDMI v1.4?

As high-definition audio/video technology continues to advance, the specification for HDMI equipment and cabling is occasionally modified to ensure broad compatibility and maximum performance. Version 1.4 is the latest iteration of the HDMI spec, as issued by HDMI Licensing, LLC.

When was HDMI v1.4 released?

This version of the specification was released to the public on June 5, 2009. 

What is new with HDMI v1.4?

Following is a summary of the highlights of the new spec:
  • HDMI Ethernet Channel: A data channel will be added to the HDMI connection, enabling high-speed bi-directional communication. Connected devices will be able to share an Internet connection without separate Ethernet cables to each device. The HDMI link will also provide a platform for content sharing among connected, enabled devices such as blu-ray players, HDTVs and cable/satellite receivers.
  • Audio Return Channel: The new spec will enable a TV to send an audio signal back to an AV receiver for processing and playback. This feature eliminates the need for an additional cable connection (for example, a digital audio cable) from the TV to the receiver. Although many signals are typically sent "downstream" from the receiver to the TV, this feature is particularly convenient in cases where the TV has its own content source, such as a built-in tuner or DVD player.
  • 3D Over HDMI: While some 3D applications and equipment exist today, the new spec defines common 3D formats and resolutions for HDMI-enabled devices. The spec standardizes the input/output for 3D gaming and movie applications, facilitating 3D resolutions up to dual-stream 1080p.
  • 4K x 2K Resolution Support: The new spec enables HDMI devices to support extremely high HD resolutions, effectively four times the resolution of a 1080p device. Support for 4K x 2K allows the HDMI interface to transmit digital content at the same resolution as the latest Digital Cinema systems used in many movie theaters.
  • Content Type: The new spec enables simple, automated picture setting selection with no user intervention. The Content Type feature enables a display to auto-select the correct viewing mode to match the content type it is currently receiving from a source device, and to switch modes when a new content source is selected. Content Type supports content profiles for gaming, movie, photograph, and text viewing modes.
  • Expanded Support for Color Spaces: HDMI now supports color spaces designed specifically for digital still cameras, enabling more accurate color rendering when viewing digital photos.
  • HDMI Micro Connector (Type D): The HDMI Micro connector is a significantly smaller 19-pin HDMI connector supporting up to 1080p resolutions for portable devices such as cell phones, portable media players, and digital cameras. The new connector is approximately 50% smaller than the size of the existing HDMI Mini connector.
  •  Automotive Connection System (Type E): The Automotive Connection System is a cabling specification designed to be used for in-vehicle HD content distribution. New cables will be specially designed to meet the rigors and environmental issues commonly found in automobiles, such as heat, vibration and signal interference. The cable itself will likely have new construction requirements, while common connector types (standard, Mini, Micro) will likely still be used.

What has not changed with HDMI v1.4?

Following is a brief summary of important things that have NOT changed with the new spec:
  • Cable Bandwidth: 10.2GHz remains the bandwidth standard to support the latest HDMI features. A cable with bandwidth of 10.2GHz qualifies as a High Speed HDMI cable. A Standard HDMI classification also exists for lower requirements (such as 720p resolution), but all of our existing cables qualify as High Speed and will continue to do so. (Note: A new cable that supports the new Ethernet feature will likely be called a High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet.)
  • Connector Style: While new connector types, such as HDMI Micro, are being introduced, the standard HDMI connector for component devices is not changing. This helps enable broad compatibility among many HDMI-enabled devices.

Will HDMI v1.4 be backwards compatible?

Yes. The connector will not change, and core capabilities will remain consistent. To take advantage of the new Ethernet communication feature, a HDMI standard/high speed with Ethernet cable must be used.

Will the physical construction of the cable be different?

We expect minor modifications to the construction of the cable. The pin count should stay the same, but the configuration of wires and shielding will likely change slightly to accommodate the performance enhancements. Formal test specifications have not yet been released, so we do not know the exact cable construction required for certification.

Must a new cable be installed to enjoy the new HDMI v1.4 features?

The HDMI Ethernet Channel feature will require a new cable that supports this functionality. All other features defined in HDMI v1.4 will be compatible with existing cables. (Note: Equipment using the new HDMI Micro Connector or Automotive Connection System will of course require new cables, because these form factors do not exist today.) 

When will equipment be available to perform at HDMI v1.4 specifications?

The first HDMI v1.4 devices where introduced at CES in January 2010, Current forecasts suggest availability as soon as the summer of 2010.

Must new equipment include support for all HDMI v1.4 features?

No. Manufacturers can implement the features that are best suited to their applications, and they will be expected to identify for the consumer which features are supported.

What application is the HDMI with Ethernet feature intended for?

The new HDMI with Ethernet feature can be implemented into devices that have a need for internet access for routine updates and entertainment features. Devices such as blu-ray players, displays, surround sound receivers, satellite and cable TV receivers and game consoles, will likely use this feature. With this new feature, devices can be connected to a network without the need for a Cat5e/6 patch cable connected to each one. A single network connection can support multiple devices.

What application benefits from the audio return feature?

Displays receiving off-air content will benefit the most from the new audio return feature. Instead of connecting an audio cable from the display to the surround sound receiver, The HDMI connection already in place from the receiver to the display can be used to carry audio information for surround sound.

How is the 3D supported with HDMI 1.4 different from 3D of the past?

3D images are traditionally created by superimposing images in the video with off-set color information. Glasses with unique color filters on each eye are used to complete the illusion of 3D. Although the effect is simple and does require unique features from AV equipment, the resulting quality is less than satisfactory for the HD experience. To improve quality, alternative techniques can be used such as a frame alternative, line alternative and full side-by-side just to name a few. The use of these techniques requires AV equipment which can handle specific requirements such as increased frame rates or increased video information.

How is the extended color feature of HDMI 1.4 different from the previous specification?

The extended color feature of the HDMI 1.3 specification (xvYCC) offers more realistic color representation with video content. The new color feature of HDMI 1.4 focuses on three spaces used with digital still cameras, sYCC601, AdobeRGB and Adobe YCC601. Displays with this feature will be able to reproduce more accurate results.

Because the HDMI micro connector is half the size of the mini connector does that mean that the connector has fewer pins than the mini or standard connector?

No, although the new connector is physically smaller in size, the connector and cable has the same characteristics of its full size counterpart.

How will the new HDMI 1.4 cabling be marketed?

HDMI cables meeting the requirements of the 1.4 specification are not to marketed using version numbers. Instead four names will be used to identify cabling products supportive of the specification:
  • HDMI Standard Speed
  • HDMI Standard Speed with Ethernet
  • HDMI High Speed
  • HDMI High Speed with Ethernet

If the equipment that I purchase advertises the HDMI connection as version 1.4, will I receive all of the features such as Ethernet, audio return, extended color and 4k x 2k?

No, a device may indicate HDMI version 1.4, however this does not indicate that all features are supported by the device. When purchasing equipment, it is recommended that you purchase and match devices based on desired features and not the advertised HDMI version number.