The HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is a plug with a cable that has been developed for connecting High Definition players, Set-top boxes etc. to your HD monitors or HDTVs. It has advantages over the three component video connectors that have been used for connecting your DVD players etc. to your displays. This is because the component cables carry the data in analog form. This means that the data is converted from digital to analog and then back to digital after the transmission. In contrast, the HDMI cable carries digital data in uncompressed format and therefore does not result in any loss of data. Because of this reason the HDMI cable also does not result in any loss of data when transmitting multi channel digital uncompressed audio. Uncompressed basically means that in order to no loss of data would occur fit the data into the available space like on a DVD. So, Dolby digital can be used with an HDMI cable and would result in no loss of data because HDMI has multi channel audio space. The advantage is that over time if loss of data keeps occurring then the resultant sound will get coarser even with a Dolby digital 5.1 which is a much less loss format as compared to mp3.
There have till now been five versions of HDMI cables (1.0, 1.1, 1.1, 1.3, 1.4) all of which can transmit 1080p data and contain eight channels of digital audio. This means that in order to view maximum resolution on your HD monitors you have to use an HDMI cable otherwise you would end up limiting the resolution of your HDTV. But obviously if you displays are of a lower resolution then using an HDMI will not increase the resolution. A very unique feature of the HDMI 1.3 is called the ‘auto lip-sync’. This feature aligns the audio and the video signals travelling through it so that there is no latency between when the video appears on the screen and when the sound is heard.
A seeming disadvantage of an HDMI cable can be when certain cables do not seem to work with your HDTV displaying nothing on your screen. It is not actually a disadvantage because it is related to HDCP or High Definition Digital Content Protection which is a digital anti-piracy scheme. To connect any device like an HDTV, DVD players, set-top boxes, AV receiver etc. using an HDMI cable you need to check in the product specifications whether both the devices are HDCP compliant. This means that the two devices can communicate with each other and will not display an image on your monitors till the time both the devices are ensured to have HDCP anti-piracy codes. If this is not done then the HDMI cable will not send any data through it and no image will be seen.
Including all these features the 1.3 HDMI has additional features that can display brilliant color. HDMI 1.4 can also be used for the viewing of 3D and for playing 3D videogames using play station.