High-Definition Multi-Media Interface
The established digital audio-video connection format
HDMI stands for High-Definition Multi-Media Interface. It is similar to DVI in that it provides a fully digital and uncompressed video interface, but HDMI goes even further. With HDMI it's possible to transport not only high-resolution video but also multi-channel high-resolution audio at the same time.
HDMI is clearly the next step in digital media interfaces from DVI. The interface is often used to provide a connection from a DVD player or digital cable terminal to a digital TV. Home theater receivers will start showing up with HDMI in/out soon. There are already a couple of very expensive flagship models out there now, but expect prices to drop as the interface is more widely adopted. A home theater receiver with HDMI in/out will give your home theater system an added digital dimension as the center of your HDTV and multi-channel sound system. No longer will you have to make compromises for your components that use the HDCP-compliant interface. Soon you'll be able to use the receiver as it was intended to be - the control center of your home theater system.
The added audio of the HDMI port will give your sound system unparalleled access to your high-resolution sound formats like DVD-Audio and SACD. No longer will these multi-channel audio formats need to be forced through an analogue connection to your receiver. With an HDMI-equipped receiver and DVD player you'll be able to use the format completely in the digital realm, which will provide the best possible performance from the formats.
Safety in numbers!Big names behind the HDMI format include:
- And many more!
HDMI will support standard, enhanced and high-definition video as well as multi-channel audio. This makes it the most advanced widely used interface to date. Being backwards-compatible to DVI, it can be easily converted to or from the DVI format where slightly older equipment might have connections with the other HDCP-compliant connections. This flexibility allows you to maintain consistent digital connections even if you have components in your chain that use the other format.
Since HDMI is a collaboration of many of the major players in the entertainment and electronics industry, it's a safe bet this standard will be around for a long time to come. In the competing standards game we know all too well how industry support is important for longevity. HDMI has some of the biggest names behind it like Philips, Sony, RCA, Toshiba, Hitachi, Matsushita/Panasonic, Fox, Universal, Warner and Disney. Systems operators even throw in their support, and EchoStar, DirecTV and CableLabs will all be producing set-top boxes that use the new format. The only competition on the horizon for HDMI could possibly be the upcoming DisplayPort, which was recently submitted to VESA for approval. The clear advantage of DisplayPort will be that of a truly unified digital connection system that will reside internally for electronics circuit connections as well as an external connection method for both PC and home entertainment technologies.