Want convenience? Get HDMI connection!

The television and PC world has seen an influx of several kinds of technology, all aimed at having the best picture and sound quality. From cables to screen displays, there have been such a large number of products that the average user might have utter confusions and a difficulty choosing. The buzzword is High Definition, and everything from DVDs to sound systems is created to produce just that, crisp and clear images and sound. In the middle of all of these are the connecting cables whose role in the quality of picture and sound, though debatable, cannot be dismissed or ignored.

There are several kinds of cables whose work is to connect the various parts of the circuits to allow for the display of content from video sources to the several display platforms. Traditional forms of cables include the composite video and S-video, although these are no longer in widespread use. The other earlier technology in popular use is the component video cables. All these transmit their content in analogue format. Newer technologies, the DIV and HDMI, all transmit digital format. Of all these formats, HDMI cables bring with them convenience and quality and this is why.

Firstly, HDMI is the only technology that allows for the transmission of both video and audio content. The rest only support video content. This means if you want to use your DVD and TV with sound systems you will need extra cables, depending on the number of channels you wish to have. In the case of the analogue cables, you will also need to have several cables for the video connection. The messy cables can be quite off putting, especially for someone not well acquainted with all the ports and cables that come with such gadgets. However, with HDMI one simple and customer friendly cable is all you need for all your video and audio connection. It gives you the chance to fix an extensive number of cables in your system with 8 audio channels.

With all these connections, normally you will need several control gadgets, but not with HDMI. This technology allows you to control all your connections with just one remote, and at the press of a button you can carry out several commands. This is supported by the two-way communication between the devices enhancement. The other great convenience offered by the HDMI is the automatic picture format conversion. It allows for the correct picture format conversion, thus guaranteeing you high quality images.

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Understanding the circumstances when the HDMI signal can suffer degradation

Even though the encoding of the HDMI cables protects the signal transmissions from the source to the device, which does not automatically mean that the digital signals it carries cannot suffer degradation. According to certain tech websites, the possibility of the electronic data degradation is most likely to occur when the signal has to travel a long distance. However, even in this case, experts say that thanks to the two way signal transmission, there is always a chance that the integrity of the signal is completely recovered, regardless of how much degradation it suffered. As this varies from case to case, you can understand why this is a controversial subject.

If you were to search more information about the HDMI standards, you will find that the recommended minimum operable cable should measure 10 meters or 32 feet. However, on forums and most of the HDMI discussion pages, you will see many customers complaining that the operable distance is much less in practice. The length of the HDMI cable seems to be closely related to the resolution you are aiming for, as in practice the cable is able to transmit a full 1080p signal from a length of over 50 feet.

Considering the problems people had with long HDMI cables in the past, most manufacturers nowadays do not produce cables over 16 feet. However, before you render the HDMI cables useless, you should know that longer cables can have similar efficiencies if you look for ones that have a wider bandwidth. The bandwidth is an indicator of how much information the cable can carry per second. Whilst at the moment the latest versions can withstand a bandwidth over 10.2 Gpbs, it is speculated that the future models will easily reach 16 Gpbs or more.

Overall, when it comes to discussing the efficiency of the HDMI cables, it is important not to make the mistake of thinking that they either work or not, simply because they use digital signals. Sometimes, the signal degradation happens due to inferior cable construction. Therefore, if you are truly aiming for a full HD setup, then you should place the quality criterion in front of the financial one. Quality HDMI cables will not only have better shielding that will reduce interference from other signals, but they will also be made of materials that are more resilient to humidity, heat, direct damage from pets, stepping on them and so on.

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Understanding component video and HDMI

Both component video and HDMI are video standards of high quality interface with varying resolution. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is one of the latest forms of video standards and delivers digital high definition content through a single cable. The technology is a product of seven companies who were looking for a way to transfer digital data without the use of many cables and without compromising the picture quality. The companies are Hitachi, Panasonic, Sony, Toshiba, Philips, Thomson and Silicon Image. It is a follow up to earlier interface versions like composite video, S-video and component video.

The HDMI makes use of a plug and cable, which is more like a USB cable. The plug has 19 pins and is used to connect high definition visual devices and high resolution multi channel devices. This includes HD DVR, HDTV, HD camcorders, home theatres, Blue-ray players, etc. The 19 pins plug is the standard number, although some later models have 28 pins. Through the HDMI, HD video is transmitted uncompressed and this removes the need for two conversions of the content (from digital to analogue and then back to digital again). This ensures there is no loss of image quality and content. HDMI has an impressive bandwidth of 5 gigabits per second, which is more than the required amount needed to transmit high quality video and audio content. It has 8 audio channels, all supported with one cable, and can also support high resolution surround, like Dolby True HD, DTs and HD Master.

Composite video, on the other hand, transmits its content in analogue format. This is the major difference between the two methods. Composite video is an earlier technology and only supports video. For audio transmission, audio cables will be needed. It transmits video through three signals. The first signal is called the luminance signal and is called the Y component. This signal carries the brightness or the black and white aspect of the content. The other two signals are known as the color difference signals. These indicate how much blue and red there is in the luminance. The blue component is the B-Y while the red component is the R-Y. The two provide the green component.

Although the quality of composite video is almost the same as that of HDMI with very little noticeable difference, the fact that component video uses the analogue format compromises the quality. This is because the video has to undergo two conversions. Its inability to transmit audio content also gives rise to the need for additional audio cables.

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Top reasons why you should consider purchasing HDMI cables

Whether you bought a HDTV, Blu-ray, video game console, or a DVD player recently, the one thing that all these digital devices have in common is the HDMI port. The role of the port is to allow you access to better display and sound via the HDMI cables. From this point of view, the HDMI cable can be considered an innovative way of bridging the gap between a digital source and a digital output by offering the possibility to enjoy a better representation of the originally recorded media. Therefore, one of the advantages that they bring to the digital environment is the true full high definition quality and setup.
Another reason why they are so appreciated by experts and common users alike is the ease with you can connect them. In the old days, you needed to setup up the audio and video interfaces separately, but nowadays all you need to do is connect the single HDMI cable between the source and the device. Moreover, thanks to intelligent link connectivity, you will no longer have to waste your time with configurations, as it does that automatically. Of course, you do have the option to setup the resolution and audio formats that you prefer. However, the Extended Display Identification Data standard simplifies the entire process by a great margin.

The advantage the HDMI cable has over its analog video cables is that it ensures as little data loss through the transmission process as possible. Due to the fact that it creates an inverse copy of the signals it receives, it is able to detect and fill in the display with the missing pixels. A truly impressing feature is that a high quality HDMI cable will be able to correct most of the potential degradation that the signal has been exposed to at the end of the receiving.

In addition to reducing the number of wires connecting accessories to your digital devices, the HDMI presents a communication link that enables management over several devices connected, known as Consumers Electronic Control. Even though the CEC feature is optional, it comes in handy for users that are looking for an easy way to turn the other devices on and off from a single remote control, for instance. Lastly, another reason why you should consider giving the HDMI cables a try is their compatibility with all current high definition devices in both audio and video formats.

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Tips for HDMI cable shopping

With a myriad of advantages to its name, the HDMI has become the choice cable for most people. Its versatility and convenience, coupled with great performance and delivery, make it a mile ahead of the rest of the connecting cables in the market. Designed to be a single connector transmitting digital high definition content between the audio and video devices, it has certainly lived up to its billing. It not only offers transmission for both audio and video content, it also allows for all in one remote control, and delivers great sound quality, since it is compatible with the high standard sound formats.

To experience all the benefits that come with this great piece of technology, it is important to get the right cable for your purpose. This is important since different needs and conditions require different types of HDMI cables. It is also important because there are several HDMI cables with varying specifications. Since HDMI cables have a universal interface, meaning they can be used with a wide range of devices from AV receivers, surround sound processors, flat panel and projector video displays, digital setup boxes and DVD players, you need to get the right cable for each device. There are several factors you will have to look out for when choosing.

The first thing to check is the cable’s compliance to HDMI standards and specifications. There are several cable versions and each with a set performance standard. A cable can perform the work of lower standard versions up to its level. However, it may not meet the standards of higher placed models. The other factor is the cable category or type. There are two types of HDMI cables; type A which is the standard with 19 pins, and type B, which has 29 pins. The first type supports HDTV resolution and frame rates, while the second type is used for work that demands higher frame rates, like in motion pictures and other professional work.

The other factor to look out for is the cable length. Ordinarily, HDMI cables have a length of 15 feet with some going up 50 feet. The longer the cable the more it will cost and you may risk suffering from signal loss. Length will also be determined with the number of devices you want to include in the circuit. Another important factor is the quality of the cable. You need a high quality cable that allows for better performance and is durable. The 24 AWG type is one such cable. As for price, it should reflect your needs and specifications.

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The power of HDMI CEC unleashed!

Consumer Electronic Control (or CEC) could, in many ways, be considered to be at the heart of the HDMI infrastructure. The reason for this is that CEC, in combination with HDMI, offer the user the possibility to be able to set up a complete multimedia home entertainment system without the need to be an expert in electronics.

The key to making this possible was to make HD device control follow standards by using control protocols as defined in the CEC specifications. Having achieved compliance, the consumers can enjoy the benefits of CEC compliant boxes being able to manage many devices with a single remote control. Not only does this feature save space in terms of the number of required remote controls, but it also reduces the number of batteries that need to be used. Most importantly, the consumer needs to only become familiar with the functionality of a single remote control device.

The combination of CEC and HDMI offer a number of benefits thanks to their combination. CEC devices have intelligence on board as standard. This means that a user can point the remote control device at one box and issue commands to another box connected by the HDMI cable. For example, a consumer can point the remote control at the television and issue commands to the HDMI connected DVD player. This CEC compatibility added the additional advantage that the remote control no longer is limited to controlling a CEC box from the same manufacturer.

CEC offers a great range of automatic features. Without CEC, should you want to watch a DVD movie you would need to load the DVD, turn on the TV and also turn on the audio system. CEC boxes do all this for you intelligently. The DVD player will know that you need the television screen to be on to enjoy the movie, so it turns it on. It can detect if you have a CEC enabled sound system through the HDMI cable connection and it will activate this for you too. From your single remote you can control the sound volume and sound settings with ease.

In the same light, you decide that you want to record a TV program. You simply set your DVD recorder into record mode and the DVD player will automatically pick up the TV signal and record the program you want. One touch discovery is a key feature of CEC auto discovery when used in combination with HDMI.

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The HDMI’s pure digital to digital signal chain explained

Since its release on the market in 2003, HDMI has grown in popularity because it has made the digital devices connection process significantly simpler, as you only need to use one cable. In its essence, the HDMI is an intelligent signal linking technology that enables devices to discover each other and recognize the proper formats and resolutions. Thanks to its capabilities of delivering real time data, many people make the assumption the signal received by the source is going to be unaltered and will not suffer any degradation. While this is perfectly true for compressed formats, it is important to note that the HDMI does not use the same conversion and encoding methods.

First of all, the HDMI cables consist of twisted pair wires that have the role of sending the signal to the source and making an exact inverse copy of the data it transmits at the same time. The purpose of creating the copy is to help compensate for data that is lost whilst transmitting, and to enhance the current full signal to its maximum capacity. By measuring the differences between the two signals, the device will automatically add more pixels that fill in the missing or non-existent ones, by using known data points.
The match and increase of the resolution from the output to the one of the viewing area is also known as upscaling. The main benefit that results from HDMI upscaling is an overall better picture for non Blue-ray DVDs. Truth be told, the quality of that image will not be as clear or have the same quality to the display of a HDMI compatible device. Keep in mind that the picture will usually need to be stretched several times beyond its initial resolution and the original signal will go through an encoding and conversion to another format process.

Overall, nobody can deny the fact that outputting an upscaled high definition resolution via an HDMI cable is not a digital to digital signal chain process. However, considering that it needs to pass through different encoding and conversions steps, an upscaling digital to analogue is sometimes preferred. It is important to note that an error free and perfectly inherited display depends on a plethora of factors, both for digital to digital, or digital to analogue. Therefore, it would a mistake to simply assume that a digital to digital data conversion is superior in all circumstances to its counterpart.

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The criteria used in comparing different HDMI cables

The wide variety of gadgets and accessories that can enhance the multimedia viewing experience often leaves customers confused. More often than not, people tend to purchase the most expensive electronic products in the hope that the high price is a guarantee of quality. Such is the case with HDMI cables. With just a bit of research you will notice that the price range for these cables can vary considerably. But let us analyze what exactly makes the difference between these gadgets and just how much better your multimedia viewing and listening experience will be if you should decide to purchase the latest, and consequentially, most expensive, model on the market.

There are two basic types of HDMI cables that you can purchase: the standard ones and the high speed ones. The standard HDMI cables are not able to provide picture resolution above 720p, as their maximum data transfer speed is approximately 72 MHz. On the other hand, the high speed HDMI cables transfer data at around 340 MHz, meaning that the maximum resolution for them is 1080p. The potency of the high speed HDMI makes them the ideal accessory for particularly wide screen TVs or monitors, as this is where they actually shine. On the other hand, the differences are hardly noticeable for smaller displays.

It is also important to note that before purchasing any HDMI cable, make sure that it is version 1.3 or above, otherwise it may not function correctly or you may not be able to attach it to new devices at all. Moreover, keep in mind that stores sometimes provide tempting discounts in order to get rid of the 1.1 and 1.2 HDMI on stock. Therefore, always be careful about the product you purchase.

Gold plating is one of the features you should look for in a high quality HDMI cable. While the augmentation in signal transition is not exceptionally better because of it, there is another reason why manufacturers often apply this coating: durability. In addition, unlike silver or copper, gold will never tarnish and, consequentially, you will not experience a decrease in signal quality over time. However, the durability of the HDMI cable is also related to the rest of the materials used and the potency of the signal shielding.
Lastly, you should avoid purchasing any HDMI cable longer than 6 feet. The reason for this is that the necessity for signal shield increases exponentially with the length of the cable, which means that without it, the video and audio fidelity drops. Consequentially, this defeats the purpose of purchasing the HDMI cable in the first place.

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The birth of HDMI 1.0

HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. HDMI was specifically designed to replace analog alternatives in order to be able to transmit uncompressed digital data. The need for HDMI was recognized in the early years of the 21st century as the projected fast growth of new audio and video    sources. HDMI was intended to get rid of a range of different cable formats including RF, coaxial cable and SCART and a number of others.
By December 2002 the first version of HDMI 1.0 came emerged after collaboration work by its founders Philips, Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial, Silicon Image, Toshiba, Sony and Thomson. Clearly with such a powerful consortium of backers HDMI was sure to make an impact, and naturally it did. HDMI was perfectly suitable for connecting set top boxes, the growing range of satellite TV and cable TV decoders. But in addition to this, HDMI was the ideal solution for video game consoles including the Xbox 360, Playstation 1 and 2. As the developers of both the TVs and the devices to be attached, the consortium could be said to have had a vested interest at both ends of the connection.

As is often the case, HDMI did not have the digital connection market to itself; HDMI was launched with the intention of taking the market from DVI Digital Visual Interface. Experts, even today are divided which format is better HDMI or DVI? As of today the camps are divided as to which is better. Tests have shown that the video image quality of DVI and HDMI is practically identical. However, there is a key difference that encouraged the manufacturers of HDMI to believe their product would be more successful. This is the fact that HDMI carries audio as well as video, whereas DVI can only carry video. In the DHMI 1.0 the only restriction was that DVD audio was not supported.

Although the connectors are different between DVI and HDMI, the system that is used for encoding is identical and for this reason it is possible to connect a DVI device with a HDMI device by using a physical convertor cable, no convertor box is required at all. In this light it is also important to point out that HDMI and DVI cables and connections do not necessarily mean that they will provide better content quality than analog. Analog has a far greater range for connection and the connection can be as distant as 200 feet. However, the key element that dictates the content quality is the quality of the equipment that is attached.

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The advancements brought by the 1.4 HDMI cable

The 2010 LLC law mandating that the display of any information regarding the version of the HDMI cable on either the box or the actual product as illegal has left many consumers confused. On the other hand, the version of the cable can be determined based on its specifications. Currently, the most popular HDMI cables are still the 1.3 ones, but the newly released 1.4 standard threatens to overthrow them and claim the rightful top position. Let us look at what is new in the 1.4 HDMI version, in order to understand why it is significantly more powerful and versatile, compared to its 1.3 counterpart.

First of all, the Ethernet channel that enables a bi-directional connection at a speed of 100 MB per second. The Ethernet channel will allow your HDMI appliances to share a connection, the resources and content without the aid of an Ethernet cable. This is a serious advancement, considering that the 1.3 HDMI cables did not have any type of support for internet-based applications, wouldn’t you say?

Secondly, since we live in the 3D multimedia age, the 1.4 HDMI cables enable you to dual stream 3D content at a 1080p resolution. Consequentially, you will be able to experience the full benefit of your 3D home theatre whenever you are playing games or watching a movie. But that is not all it brought in terms of video streaming. The non-3D multimedia can now be played at 4 times the 1080p resolution that the 1.3 cables provided, thanks to the 4k resolution support incorporated in the 1.4 HDMI cable. Moreover, the new support for the Adobe RGB, sYCC601 and AdobeYCC601 enable viewing pictures at a much better resolution and using significantly more life-like colours than ever before.

Lastly, the support for portable devices, such as cell phones, tablets or cameras, as well as the one for automobiles, has been facilitated a great deal in the 1.4 cables. The connector for the portable devices has been shrunk to 50% of the 1.3’s size. Moreover, Automotive Connection System feature is an effective solution to prevent the environment factors of your car from interfering with the quality of the signal transmission, and thus the fidelity of the multimedia. For this purpose, the manufacturers have developed a HDMI cable resilient to vibrations, noises and heat. Overall, it seems that investing in a 1.4 HDMI cable does not only provide the aforementioned benefits, but will also come in handy once you decide to trade in your electronic appliances for the newest generation ones.

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