HDMI 1.4: What Is It Good For?

My good friend and colleague Ken Werner of Nutmeg Consultants sent me a link to an interesting white paper on the Key Digital site. The article provides a comparison of all the versions of HDMI from 1.0 to 1.4, listing the different features supported by each version.

What sets this apart from other similar comparisons is that the author then analyzes the significance of each of the features, with special emphasis on those added in the HDMI 1.4 specification. I confess that I am among the many writers and analysts who did not think through all the implications of some of these features. For example, one of the clever functions in the new standard is that it includes support for an Ethernet networking connection. That sounds great as it should help eliminate cable clutter to your HDTV, right? But not so fast. As the Key Digital paper points out, what happens when you switch from one input to another, such as from your Blu-ray player to your cable set top box? What happens to your Internet connection? Wouldn’t it be better to just use a dedicated wired (or wireless) connection straight to the TV, so it doesn’t get switched when you change sources?

The writer draws the conclusion that HDMI 1.1 probably is all that is needed for most current HDTV applications and installations. Some of the later features are either redundant or support functions that are not yet provided in most signal sources. In any case, I recommend this as a quick and thorough exposition on HDMI technology.