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HDMI Execs Discuss 1.3, DisplayPort, CEC, ‘Wireless HDMI’, More

HDMI Licensing execs Steve Venuti and Les Chard announce installer Web site and tackle controversial HDMI topics.


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In an effort to get some pre-CES scoop on HDMI, I spoke recently with two friends at HDMI Licensing, LLC – president Les Chard and marketing director Steve Venuti.

Venuti noted that HDMI is “faster and bigger and more omnipresent than ever before,” citing Instat research that says 230 million HDMI-enabled devices will ship in 2008.

Installer Web Site


The duo told me that HDMI is launching an installer section of its Web site, complete with hard-core technical information and case studies from the field. If HDMI is so great and so simple, why do we need such information? I asked. “It is not an HDMI problem,” says Venuti. “It’s a digital issue.”

He explains that sources and televisions are piling on functionality that naturally makes the whole network more complicated. Remember when telephones were trouble-free? Now, Venuti notes, “Cellphones are complex.”

Besides, the HDCP test specification was released last year, helping manufacturers to actually implement HDMI with HDCP correctly.

“Wireless HDMI”


“There is no such thing,” Chard says, noting that the moniker is “misleading” because it suggests the technology is standardized through the HDMI camp. “Basically it means that there’s HDMI on one end and a wireless link on the other. … We asked them to start calling it wireless for HDMI.”

HDMI 1.3


HDMI 1.3 was just starting to crop up at CES 2007. “This year I predict it will be on everything,” Chard says. But will there be content to exploit “deep color” and other features of 1.3? “It’s coming,” Chard says. “It’s just a matter of remastering” some existing content.

Venuti notes that 1.3’s increased bandwidth alone (doubled to about 10.2 Gbps) is fueling new technology such as 3D TV. “There’s a lot of fancy things you can do with all that bandwidth,” he says.

What's new at CES?
CE Pro's Julie Jacobson will provide an update on networked A/V, Media Center, automation, and other technological innovations at CES during the Specialty Dealer Days. Find out exactly where all the good stuff can be found on the show floor, and enjoy a rundown of new Microsoft technologies from Todd Rutherford. The Specialty Dealer Days Product Preview is Monday, Jan. 7, 2:30 - 3:30 in the LVCC South Hall S206/S207.


Consumer Electronics Control (CEC)


HDMI’s little-known control protocol CEC started to get some attention at CES 2007, most notably with Panasonic’s elaborate demo of its version, called EZSync. But so many companies have their own “versions” (layering user-interface software and different functionality onto the core spec) that it’s confusing to everyone, and not necessarily productive.

“The problem is, right now they’ve all got their own brand names for CEC,” Chard says. “Some [manufacturers] are intimating that theirs don’t work with others.” He promises that the HDMI folks will come out with a unified CEC brand. “We’ll have one name and one logo that everyone can use. Secondly, we will guarantee functionality and a minimum feature set.”

DisplayPort


DisplayPort, a connectivity standard that may compete with HDMI, started gaining some traction last year. It was instigated a couple of years ago – under the aegis of the Video Electronics Standards Association -- by computer manufacturers looking for a faster, smaller solution, most notably for connecting laptop screens to the PC guts.

There has not yet been a rush of CE vendors pushing DisplayPort, but it is rumored that Dell will use it for its LCD TVs and leading HDMI cable manufacturer Ethereal has decided to offer a DisplayPort product.

Chard isn’t fazed. “Is there any product out there yet?” he asks. “Right now, there’s nothing in the CE space. They’re still pitching myths. The DisplayPort guys are claiming better performance and higher bandwidth. Once we came out with 1.3 a year and a half ago, we have the same bandwidth and we can increase it.”

DisplayPort’s other claim to fame is that it is “royalty-free.” Theoretically, maybe, but “there are patent claims, and they [patent owners] reserve the right to charge.”

Field-Terminated HDMI Cables


Installers are dying for a way to terminate HDMI cables in the field so they can vary the cable links for neat, effective installations. “It’s not gonna happen,” Venuti says. “The bandwidth is so huge, and the tolerance for mistakes is so small, it’s just impossible.”

Chard adds that the price of Cat 5 HDMI extenders is coming down, making them apt solutions for field termination.

What’s Next?

Look for HDMI on more mobile devices. “I’m sure that’s going to happen in the near future,” Chard says.

SEE HDMI AT CES

Details on the HDMI TechZone, South Hall booth #25705




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About the Author

Julie Jacobson, Editor-at-large, CE Pro
Julie Jacobson, recipient of the 2014 CEA TechHome Leadership Award, is co-founder of EH Publishing, producer of CE Pro, Electronic House, Commercial Integrator, Security Sales and other leading technology publications. She currently spends most of her time writing for CE Pro in the areas of home automation, security, networked A/V and the business of home systems integration. Julie majored in Economics at the University of Michigan, spent a year abroad at Cambridge University, earned an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, and has never taken a journalism class in her life. She's a washed-up Ultimate Frisbee player currently residing in Carlsbad, Calif. Follow her on Twitter @juliejacobson.

3 Comments (displayed in order by date/time)

Posted by Doug at Electronic Escape, FL  on  01/08  at  11:41 AM

More HDMI propoganda.  Our small residential integration firm has been trying to implement more HDMI.  The problem has not beet the cable or the spec, it’s been securing the cable connection to the devices that becomes the issue after installation.  Consumers that are doing their own systems are also finding that the connection is often pulling out of the products and the worst has to be the Scientific Atlanta DVR boxes that are common in our area.  We have had so many HDMI issues with that box that we will no longer support system that use it.  HDMI, you guys had a chance to make this connection secure and you blew it.  Didn’t we learn anything from the riduclous RCA connections that we’re still stuck with?  We need connections that are secure…HDMI is not one of them.

Posted by OldMarine  on  01/08  at  05:38 PM

Now why do consumers want such crap on there equipment? Just what good does it do for the guy that pays for it just wanting to watch a movie or use a spreadsheet on his PC?

Posted by Thiago  on  03/02  at  12:42 AM

Chard and Venutti came out as way too defensive.  They’re are not stupid (probably) and (also probably) know that consumers are not happy.  And when consumers are not happy, competition has a good day.

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