On this page we have listed many of the common questions related to HDMI cables and connectors, and provided simple answers to each.
There are many problems that you might get when wiring up your system, and these days most people will use an HDMI cable as the main way of connecting everything together.
Unfortunately it can get complicated, as there have been quite a few updates to the technology over recent years - HDMI 1.3, 1.4, 2.0 - the list seems endless.
So if you are feeling confused, take a look below and hopefully you'll find the answer to your questions.
HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface.
The release version of the HDMI standard. An audio and video interface which allowed the transfer of standard and high-definition video - and up to 8 channels of uncompressed digital audio.
Maximum data transfer of 4.9 Gb per second.
No. The versions of HDMI before 1.3 fully supported the transfer of HD audio. However, this required the HD audio to be decoded by the playback device and then sent across the cable to the amplifier as a Linear PCM signal (LCPM). The amplifier/receiver also needed to support HDMI audio (not all did).
What was added by HDMI 1.3 was the ability to to bitstream the HD audio to the amplifier/receiver. This means the HD audio signal is sent ('streamed') directly to the amplifier/receiver without being decoded first, and the decoding is done by the receiver instead.
For this to work, all of the parts of the chain must be HDMI 1.3 compliant.
A 'standard speed' category 1 cable has been tested at speeds of 75 MHz.
An HDMI cable has 3 data pairs of wire that transmit the signal. The two different categories of HDMI cable are speed tested using just one data pair - however the bitrate you see quoted will often be the combined total for all three (to get a higher number to impress you with).
This means a 'standard speed' category 1 cable has been tested to transfer data at 742 Mb per second for a single data pair - or 2.2 Gb per second for the three combined. This is seen as the equivalent of a 720p or 1080i video signal.
A 'high speed' cable that has been tested at speeds of 340 MHz. This is up to 3.4 Gb per second for each data pair of wires - or a maximum of 10.2 Gb per second for the three pairs combined.
This is usually seen as the equivalent of a 1080p signal at 60 frames per second - or a 2160p signal at 30 frames per second. This would also include 3D video and any increased colour depth signals.
There is a new certification for a 'Premium HDMI Cable'. This is a category 2 cable that has been tested up to the theoretical maximum of 18 Gb per second - and should support any devices that operate under the HDMI 2.0 specification.
Cables shouldn't be defined by the version numbers of the HDMI specification - 1.2, 1.3 etc. These numbers refer to the capabilities of the hardware connections in your devices.
To transfer 1080p video and 3DTV signals you should make sure you buy a category 2 'high speed' cable to ensure it will transfer the high data rates required. If you aren't sending the highest resolution signals, then a standard category 1 cable should be sufficient.
It is just marketing speak. The actual cable specifications are either category 1 (standard speed) or category 2 (high speed).
There is no defined maximum cable length for HDMI cables - only a required performance. The ability of a cable to accurately reproduce signals over a long distance is very much dependant on the build quality of the cable - and the quality of the circuits in the devices. However, in practice, a high quality cable should be able to transfer data successfully over about 10 metres before a repeater or amplifier is required to boost the signal.
Over a short distance, like less than 3 meters, almost any cable should be able to transfer the required data. Don't be fooled into buying over-priced HDMI cables.
Yes. HDMI is fully backwards compatible with older versions.
They are essentially the same, except HDMI has:
Yes - although not DVI-A. You can buy DVI to HDMI cables and send video signals between devices. However, the DVI device must be HDCP enabled for this to work.
HDMI cables are audio/video interconnects that send digital signals between AV devices. Component video cables send component analog signals between devices and are restricted to video only - they do not send audio signals.
Not easily/cheaply. You cannot simply have a component video to HDMI cable/adaptor as one is an analog signal and the other is digital. You can buy converter boxes but these can be expensive. Many AV receivers have the ability to upconvert a component input to an HDMI output.
Probably not. If you already have a 'high speed' category 2 HDMI
cable then this will support all the requirements of HDMI 1.4 and 3DTV
signals (with one exception - see below). A standard category 1 cable
hasn't been tested to support the higher data rates, and so may not be
reliable enough. However, before you buy a new cable, give it a try and you find it will work.
One part of the new HDMI 1.4 specification will require a new cable. The 1.4 update supports an ethernet connection through HDMI. To utilize this in your equipment, you will need a category 1 or 2 HDMI cable 'with ethernet'.
Maybe, but probably not. An interesting point has been reached where the maximum data rate specification of the HDMI 2.0 specification has overtaken that of the 'fastest' HDMI cable.
HDMI 2.0 devices are designed to transfer data up to 18 Gb per second, whereas a 'high speed' category 2 cable is only designed to support a maximum of 10.2 Gb per second.
However, a well made category 2 cable will probably handle data rates far higher than it has actually been tested to. To be sure, the HDMI licensing authority have introduced an optional 'Premium HDMI Cable' certification, which is allowed to be used on category 2 cables which have been tested up to 18 Gb per second.
The same rule applies to that mentioned above. Try the cable you have already, and if you get picture drop-outs or interference, then maybe look into getting a 'Premium HDMI Cable'.