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High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) Tutorial

When will the HDMI Specifications be released?

The HDMI 1.3 specification is available now. CE manufacturers may begin designing products incorporating the HDMI standard-addressing consumer demand for HD programming and for DTVs that display this content.

HDMI devices are manufactured to adhere to various versions of the specification, where each version is given a number such as 1.0, 1.2, or 1.3a. Each subsequent version of the specification uses the same kind of cable but increases the bandwidth and/or capabilities of what can be transmitted over the cable. For example the previous maximum pixel clock rate of HDMI interface was 165 MHz which was sufficient for supporting 1080p at 60 Hz and WUXGA (1920x1200) at 60 Hz. HDMI 1.3 increased that to 340 MHz which allows for higher resolution, such as WQXGA (2560x1600), across a single digital link.

Many people are worried, when buying HDMI cable, about the spec version of the cable in question. Is it the latest spec version? Will it support all the features of the devices it's hooked to? Most of the fears and doubts associated with this question are unfounded, but there are some interesting issues with regard to HDMI spec version, and we'll sort those out here.

What Are The Specific Versions?

There have been been five versions of the principal HDMI spec document till now. Additionally, however, some references to specs are not to the principal HDMI spec document, but to the "Compliance Testing Specification" document, and there have been six versions of that document. The versions of the two, to date, are:

* HDMI Specifications:

o HDMI Specification 1.1

o HDMI Specification 1.2

o HDMI Specification 1.2a

o HDMI Specification 1.3

o HDMI Specification 1.3a

* HDMI Compliance Testing Specifications:

o Compliance Test Specification 1.1

o Compliance Test Specification 1.2a

o Compliance Test Specification 1.3a

o Compliance Test Specification 1.3b

o Compliance Test Specification 1.3b1

o Compliance Test Specification 1.3c

The HDMI Licensing authority allows anyone to download a copy of the current version of the main HDMI spec document from its site at hdmi.org. For some reason, however, HDMI, LLC does not authorize release of the Compliance Test Specification to the general public. That's unfortunate, because it's in the CTS that the details of compliance testing are contained, and there can be some significance to that.

There is some room for confusion here. We are sometimes asked whether our cable is 1.3a or 1.3b compliant. As you can see, the current main spec version is 1.3a, and there is no 1.3b. But the Compliance Test Spec does have a 1.3b version, as well as a 1.3c version (testing for cables was unaffected by these minor CTS revisions, except that 1.3c adds new criteria for "active" cables). Our Belden HDMI cables have been tested under main spec version 1.3a, CTS version 1.3b (and, in the case of our Series-1 Category 1 approval, CTS version 1.3b1).

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