HDMI 1.4 features unveiled

HDMI 1.4 features unveiled

The HDMI Licensing group has unveiled some of the key features of HDMI 1.4 - including in-built Ethernet connectivity.

If the new SATA standard is whetting your whistle for shiny new cables but you're more of an audio/video buff, check out the soon-to-be-finalised HDMI 1.4 specification.

As reported by I4U, the HDMI Licensing group has announced some of the new features that the latest revision to the High Definition Multimedia Interface specification is going to bring.

Perhaps the most impressive of these is the HDMI Ethernet Channel: a bi-directional data channel supporting 100Mb/s Ethernet connectivity, allowing multiple HDMI devices to share a single Ethernet connection to the Internet without the need for additional cables. As companies increasingly attempt to push interactive and on-demand content – with varying success – this is something which could really cut down on the clutter behind your big screen.

Another innovation looking to cut down on the snakes' nest is the inclusion of an audio return channel: whereas previously users with a dedicated amplifier wanting to use the in-built tuner in their TV would be looking at a dedicated audio cable, the new HDMI spec allows the TV to send audio back down the HDMI lead when required.

For those who think that HDTV just isn't HD enough, you've got a real treat in store: the new standard will support the impressive resolution of 3840x2160 at 24Hz, 25Hz, and 30Hz. If motion resolution isn't your thing – or you just like seeing movies at the speed they were intended to be viewed at – the maximum resolution is an eye-watering 4096x2160 at 24Hz.

The increased bandwidth offered by the new standard isn't just being used on the resolution, either: HDMI 1.4 will bring 3D support, with up to 1080p content being supported. While we're still waiting for a reasonably-priced commercial 3D TV, it's nice to know we won't have to worry too much about how we pipe the content into said device.

Portable devices get a look-in too, with a new Micro HDMI connector which is half the size of the current HDMI Mini connector but still supports full 1080p. The Automotive Connection System allows “automobile manufacturers [...] a viable solution for distributing HD content within the car” - whatever that means. Finally, the addition of sYCC601, Adobe RGB, and AdobeYCC601 colour spaces mean that user with high-quality still cameras won't be sacrificing image quality when putting their snaps on the big screen.

Unfortunately, the new standard brings with it some new – and somewhat bewildering – cable choices: as well as the existing Standard HDMI Cable and High-Speed HDMI Cable, 1.4 brings the Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet, High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet, Micro HDMI Cable, and Automotive HDMI Cable. Why the licensing organisation has seen fit to keep the increasingly outdated Standard HDMI Cable – which can only support playback at 1080i, and thus isn't suitable for use with full HD 1080p devices – is unknown.

The finalised version of the specification is expected to be released before the end of June this year, although it will be some time before products based around the new standard hit the market.

Does the HDMI 1.4 specification bring joy to your world, or are you worried that the equipment you've bought is already outdated? Do you even see the point of HD capabilities beyond 1080p? Share your thoughts over in the forums.


Discuss in the forums Reply
tripwired 29th May 2009, 09:56 Quote
Fantastic, ethernet over HDMI is a unexpected surprise and anything that can help reduce cable sprawl is welcome. Looking good!
I-E-D 29th May 2009, 10:31 Quote
the resolution is pretty nice to. 4096x2160 :o

Could be an excuse to get a new tv ;)
Star*Dagger 29th May 2009, 11:07 Quote
I think these higher resolutions will do more to kill Blu-Ray than anything else. There is no way people will buy new players every year or two. Though that is normal in the PC world, alot of people went 20 years with the same TV, back in the Vast Wasteland days.
I would REALLY like to see 4096x2160, in TVs, and more importantly to me as a PC Gamer, on the PC.

Awesome all the way around.

Evildead666 29th May 2009, 11:40 Quote
The should be able to upgrade the BluRay system to support higher resolution ( I hope)...
Would love a 4Kx2K projector for home tho ;)
Paradigm Shifter 29th May 2009, 12:19 Quote
Ethernet over HDMI is great... but they can't make it gigabit? Let's hope that streaming that new 4096x2160 content doesn't stutter, then... oh well, a 10% of something is better than 100% of nothing...
Joeymac 29th May 2009, 12:33 Quote
Any film with digital effects pre Spider-man 3 will only have a 2K digital intermediate. That means for vast percentage of the studios digital back-catalogue.. only a 1080p-ish master exists. Many films would have to be completely remastered with new scans of the original negative and have their effects re-rendered (if the assets still exist.. they probably don't) for a new 4K master. Sure there are many 4K restorations being done on old films now, I'm sure they would look great, but for all the content for the last 15 years it's basically too expensive to release it at 4K.

But even if all films were available at 4K, it's overkill and they'll be selling snake oil..

4096x2160 = 8,847,360 pixels
1920x1080 = 2,073,600 pixels

The optimum sitting distance and screen size for 1080p is 10 feet from a 60inch TV. Sit further away or have a smaller TV and you won't tell the difference between 720p and 1080p.
That means for a screen with a resolution 4.267 times higher.. you need to either sit 10 feet from a 255 inch screen (and probably build a bigger house) or 5 feet from a 120 inch screen (and get a sore neck from looking left and right like you are watching tennis).. that's just to make those pixels and detail worthwhile. Basically, I won't be upgrading from blu-ray/1080p any time soon.

Now for the use of 4K in a monitor or touch display. Only 2.5 feet from 60 inches is needed to see that pixel information. Which is nuts, but a bit more doable. The screen real estate would certainly be welcome and for those shooting and mastering movies at 4K it would be a good idea.
pimonserry 29th May 2009, 14:57 Quote
Originally Posted by Joeymac

4096x2160 = 8,847,360 pixels

Hell yes! 8 megapixel films here we go!
HourBeforeDawn 29th May 2009, 19:55 Quote
to be honest I am tired of how quickly these standards are changing, Im to the point where I am tired of wasting my money because I found out what I just spent a lot of money on will be replaced in a month, I mean come on whats the point.... I am so for progression in tech it just gets annoying at times... well I guess Ultra Blu-Ray or whatever they were calling it will be coming out pretty soon then too lol.
Er-El 29th May 2009, 23:28 Quote
Displayport being open an open standard, wouldn't it already support these resolutions?
Either way we can all expect a new displayport 1.2 to be ratified now for inclusion of these unique features.
NethLyn 31st May 2009, 11:25 Quote
Put it this way, I haven't gone HD with anything yet, not TV or TFT for my monitor. So here's my stupid question: You need to change cabling to get all these goodies, but will the physical ports themselves need technical changes as well?
flibblesan 31st May 2009, 11:30 Quote
Ethernet over HDMI is a sure win.
JrRRr 31st May 2009, 15:25 Quote
Originally Posted by HourBeforeDawn
to be honest I am tired of how quickly these standards are changing, Im to the point where I am tired of wasting my money because I found out what I just spent a lot of money on will be replaced in a month, I mean come on whats the point.... I am so for progression in tech it just gets annoying at times... well I guess Ultra Blu-Ray or whatever they were calling it will be coming out pretty soon then too lol.

t's all about the money! That's the way it goes, deal with it, or get out, you could always let your neighbour win the race to being the most hi-tech-guy.. :p
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