Posted by: Cliff Edwards on May 28, 2009
Is it time to throw out your HDTV and home theater equipment? Consumer eletronics makers sure hope so.
The consortium of companies that help create the standard for high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cables just announced a new specification, called HDMI 1.4, that could further reduce cable clutter.
For the uninitiated, HDMI has quickly become the preferred method for transmitting video and audio from a set-top box to a television. Users need only one cable instead of two or more required of older analog TV sets.
The new HDMI 1.4 cables, which should become available early next year, add an Ethernet channel that will let two connected devices such as an HDTV and game console share an Internet link (meaning you don’t have to connect each and every device in your home wirelessly or via its own Ethernet cable).
The new spec also increases its data exchange rate in the event that data-intensive 3-D televisions take off, and add a neat feature in which new HDMI cables will automatically optimize a TV’s picture based on content types.
The catch? The new features in the HDMI 1.4 cables will work only with HDTVs and set-top boxes that go on sale beginning late this year.
That means many of us in the installed base of 1 billion devices will either have to make do with what we have until our current equipment conks out.