HD DVD, Blu-ray and HDMI 1.3 – Soylent Green is PEOPLE!
Hype and misunderstanding follow the new HDMI v1.3 and how it relates to high resolution audio formats found on HD DVD and Blu-ray discs. Many believe that in order to take advantage of the audio formats, you have to buy all new supporting products. That's not necessarily true.
Consumers are being bombarded with new products like HD DVD and Blu-ray players that carry new standards in audio and require new protocols to make everything work. HDMI (High Definition Multi-media Interface) is a new interface designed to simplify hooking up all your audio/video gear. For the first time ever, we can connect audio and video through one high bandwidth cable. The interface is also compatible with HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) – so you don't have to worry about a high def DRM boogeyman.
Recently, HDMI released its latest version; 1.3. Here are a few of the things HDMI 1.3 will do for you:
- Higher Speeds
- Deeper Color (up to 16-bit)
- Makes you taller, more attractive
- HD lossless audio support
The source of some very good information on HDMI and support for HD lossless audio formats, the horses mouth - hdmi.org.
HDMI 1.3 does, indeed, support Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD. Many new HD DVD and Blu-ray discs have an available audio track in these high resolution lossless audio formats. But they have to be decoded to be heard properly.
So, if your player and receiver have HDMI 1.3, your HD DVD or Blu-ray player can read the TrueHD soundtrack and send it in its raw, digital form to your receiver for decoding. But to enjoy the benefits of Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD, you don't need HDMI 1.3.
Soylent Green is People!
The trouble today is that all that HDMI 1.3 gear is expensive. Currently, no HD DVD or Blu-ray play supports sending the raw codec through HDMI; not even Sony's PlayStation 3. [http://www.dvdtalk.com/hd/hdmi_13_and_you.html] Toshiba has only just announced an HD DVD player capable of sending a lossless audio bitstream in the HD-A35.
But before you get depressed about your chances of hearing the new lossless audio formats, don't despair. You don't need HDMI 1.3. HDMI 1.1, which has been out since 2004, supports 8 channels of uncompressed high resolution audio in PCM (Pulse Code Modulation). That means, for the new lossless audio formats, HDMI 1.3 was a solution in search of a problem. But the problem doesn't exist if your player is capable of decoding TrueHD or DTS-HD. You can let your HD DVD or Blu-ray player decode the audio codec (TrueHD or DTS-HD) for your receiver and send itvia HDMI 1.1 – or better, to your receiver. You'll not hear a single bit of difference from those players that are sending the raw codec through HDMI 1.3. Both let you hear the high res audio soundtrack in all of its lossless glory.