Benefits and Drawbacks of HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface)

Benefits of HDMI (high definition multimedia interface)

1. Industry manufacturers like HDMI because it uses a system of interfaces that stop media pirating. This system is called HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). This system works on encrypted (read copyright) DVD Video, DVD Audio, HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc.

HDMI also carries both audio and video in one cable which will eventually allow manufacturers to have less connectors and just one standard in/out interface.

2. Customers like HDMI because there is less confusion in the connection process. Just one cable connects the DVD player to the receiver or television. Almost anything that uses digital audio/visual, such as game consoles, Blu-ray players, DVD players, etc. can connect in this uncompressed (faster) format.

3. One other good basis for The HDMI interface is CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) which allows a connected device to control another connected device when necessary. This is most obvious when you can use the TV remote to control all connected devices.

Drawbacks: HDMI (high definition multimedia interface)

1. Owners of older equipment may not have HDMI interfaces. Instead they will have separate audio and video interfaces. These customers will need to do workarounds to adapt to HDMI to their systems or buy new equipment. These workarounds could include buying cables that have an HDMI on one end and a DVI (Digital Video Interface) on the other end to send video to a monitor or television using a DVI connector. This would allow a user to send video from an HDMI source to a DVI receptor, even though it will not send the audio because DVI does not support audio.

2. To send audio to a non-HDMI audio/video component, the user will need to send it via previous methods such as s/PDIF (Fiber Optics) or RCA cables.

3. Some confusion exists due to the numbering system on HDMI connections. Starting with 1.0, the capabilities of HDMI cables and HDMI equipment varies. The standard has moved up to HDMI 1.4a which includes 3D and deep color. Each implementation of the HDMI standard in cables has a corresponding implementation in audio/visual equipment. If you are buying cables or equipment, make sure that the equipment matches the cables. Newer cables are backward compatible making it an easy choice – always go to the highest level (number) of cable. It may not help, but it won’t hurt.

In summary, review your audio visual system and see what connections work with your major pieces such as television, amplifier, disc players and cable/satellite connections. If you are buying new equipment, make sure the new equipment will work with the old equipment. Your Audio/Video system is like an eco system: change one thing and the rest will need to adjust. The most obvious upgrade path may be with your television. Be sure a new TV comes with HDMI connectors as well as the older connectors necessary to work with older amplifiers or disc players. The internet is a great place for quick information on what you need.

Finally, you may want to consult with your reseller. Take a picture of the back and front of all the equipment in your home theatre. Be sure that the connections are clear in the photograph. The reseller should be able to help you. But be careful of price. A good HDMI cable shouldn’t cost more than about $10 and a basic 1.4 cable should do everything you need, at the time of this writing, including Ethernet. If the numbers go past 1.4, just get the highest number, they are backward compatible and don’t cost much.

The electronics industry is now getting away form the use of numbers and advises customers to check the equipment they need to connect and match that to the cable they buy.

Don’t get sucked into “giant” this or “future proof” that – it’s just selling technique that could cost you a lot of unnecessary dollars. Even testers that take connections off and on test equipment rarely find any problems with the least expensive cables.