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Engineer: HDMI 1.4 ‘Does Not Make Sense’

Transparent Audio engineer says HDMI 1.4 spec is 'overtaxed,' 'complicated' and confuses customers in to thinking they need to buy new cables.


Engineer: HDMI 1.4 ‘Does Not Make Sense’
Robert Archer · February 12, 2010

Now that HDMI Licensing LLC has finalized the 1.4 spec, installers and consumers are still wondering how the update will affect their businesses and current and future equipment purchases.

At least one industry veteran sees potential trouble ahead for integrators. Transparent Audio‘s Josh Clark believes the specification could be trouble for installers and their clients as they see how the new update affects their current systems and future system plans.

Clark says installers shouldn’t put too much emphasis on the new spec because Transparent’s existing products, for example, already meet much of the criteria that’s been created for HDMI 1.4.

“The good news is that we already have an HDMI 1.4-compliant product line, at least in terms of handling all of the new high-resolution video formats included in the HDMI 1.4 specification, ” he says. 

“This means a customer with a Transparent HDMI cable from five years ago already has a cable that will support upcoming video formats like 4Kx2K and 3D video. We have always insisted on ‘over building’ our HDMI products so they would have sufficient bandwidth and timing accuracy [low skew] to handle future formats. This no-compromise approach has already paid off for our customers who are now watching 1080p video on their original Transparent HDMI cables and it will pay off again when they can watch 4Kx2K video and 3D video on those same cables.”

When considering HDMI cables, Clark says dealers should learn as much as possible about the cable’s ability to maintain signal integrity over long distances. He says there are many cables on the market certified as “high speed” for 1 meter or 2 meters, but when it comes to longer lengths, there are many cables that won’t have the capabilities to handle the new requirements of the 1.4 specification.

HDMI has outlined the speed requirements for various capabilities in a single chart.

Clark says the biggest problem installers and their clients will face with HDMI 1.4 involves the communication elements that have been added to the format. “The not-so-good news about HDMI 1.4 is that the people who write the HDMI specifications continue to add more and more complicated functions to the already overtaxed and sometimes unreliable HDMI format,” he asserts. 


  About the Author

Bob is an audio enthusiast who has written about consumer electronics for various publications within Massachusetts before joining the staff of CE Pro in 2000. Bob is THX Level I certified, and he's also taken classes from the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF) and Home Acoustics Alliance (HAA). Bob also serves as the technology editor for CE Pro's sister publication Commercial Integrator. In addition, he's studied guitar and music theory at Sarrin Music Studios in Wakefield, Mass., and he also studies Kyokushin karate at 5 Dragons in Haverhill, Mass. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Robert at [email protected]

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