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High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) Tutorial

What are the advantages of HDMI over existing analog interfaces such as Composite, S-Video and Component video?

  • Quality HDMI transfers uncompressed digital audio and video for the highest, crispest image quality.
  • All Digital HDMI ensures an all-digital rendering of video without the losses associated with analog interfaces and their unnecessary digital-to-analog conversions.
  • Low-cost HDMI provides the quality and functionality of a digital interface while also supporting uncompressed video formats in a simple, cost-effective manner.
  • Audio HDMI supports multiple audio formats, from standard stereo to multi-channel surround-sound.
  • Ease-of-use HDMI combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems.
  • Intelligence HDMI supports communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality.
  • HDMI technology uses a digital interface instead of an analog interface. With an analog interface the digital signal is converted to an imperfect analog signal, sent to the display unit, then the signal is converted back to digital so it can display the signal. When the cable is translated into analog, some of the signal's quality is lost. HDMI uses a digital interface which means that the signal starts out digital, stays digital through the transmission, and is received as a digital signal by the receiving display. Because there are no signal conversions this keeps the digital signal strong with no degradation.
  • Speed is one advantage of HDMI. The cables are capable of transmitting the signal at faster speeds. Most HDMI cables can carry a maximum of 5 gigabits per second. This allows for quick signal transmission.
  • HDMI technology also has an advantage over analog in the sound category as well. With analog devices separate cables are needed for the sound signal. With HDMI the sound signal is transmitted through the main cable with the other signals. No separate cable is needed which greatly minimizes the number of cables required for installation.
  • HDMI has the advantage of being all digital. There is never a conversion of the digital format to an analog format, resulting in signal degradation. The signal starts digital, stays digital, and is received by the display as digital.
  • Another advantage of HDMI is that the High Definition signal is not compressed at all. With analog HD signals, the signal may be compressed which can result in lower signal quality.
  • HDMI cables can carry more than twice the bandwidth needed for High Definition. This ensures that as HDMI technology advances there is adequate bandwidth needed for future technological developments. This is a definite advantage over analog cables.
  • HDMI cables also have the capability to use “Automatic Format Intelligence”. This allows your HDMI enabled devices, such as Blu-Ray and HDTV, to communicate with each other and to make automatic adjustments. Analog does not have this capability.
  • Backward Compatibility when it comes to HDMI is a definite advantage. Being Backward Compatible means that HDMI is compatible with some earlier interfaces. HDMI is backwards compatible to Digital Video Interface (DVI). To convert HDMI to DVI, a simple cable is required that has a DVI connector on one end and a HDMI connector on the other end of the cable.
  • Picture quality in HDMI is crystal clear and in deep color. Picture and color quality vary in analog but can never reach the quality of the HDMI picture and color. Deep colors means that 30 bit, 36 bit, and 48 bit colors are used in the display.
  • Sound quality is better in HDMI because the whole set of signals travels over one cable instead of over different cables. The sound signal is transmitted as digital and is never converted so there is no signal loss, degradation, or noise interference.
  • There are numerous advantages of HDMI over analog interfaces, as outlined above. These advantages to analog video interface are the latest technological advances, and HDMI is designed with plenty of room for future advancements, ensuring that the technology does not become obsolete like so many others.
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