HDMI 2.0: Does it Have all the Answers?
Is HDMI 2.0 the solution, or are we looking at a new specification that offers tons of features providing new benefits that many may not grow into for years?
The calls we receive about HDMI 2.0 are usually from integrators using talking points orchestrated from comments they either have read or heard, which typically are negative in content. I can’t blame them, since it seems that every time there is a change, Murphy’s Law tends to crop up.
As negative as that may sound, you should spend a week or two on the manufacturing side to taste what they contend with. Since DPL Labs is considered as a conduit between manufacturers and integrators, we get to see and understand both sides.
But listen: this 2.0 Revision is the first one originating from the new HDMI Forum and not the HDMI from the past. This group is made up of all kinds of firms that “pay” to be part of the process.
Oh, I can just imagine what some of these meetings are like. The diversity is quite amazing. You’ve got big TV companies like LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony; popular A/V receiver makers such as Onkyo and Pioneer; a larger majority in powerful semi-conductor firms like Analog Devices, NXP, Spectra7, Silicon Image and Xilinx; then, of course, there are the tests and measurements companies like Tektronix, Agilent and Quantum Data.
Now stop and consider: all this power, all this technology, all this talent. Take all that and what do you get? Discussions and debates that likely merit being on C-SPAN.
Then, of course, there is the technology itself after the decision for deployment finally takes place: increased 4Kx2K formats forcing bandwidth to explode to 18Gb/s; dual view; increased audio to 32 channels … and the list goes on.
It goes even deeper this time around, where many out there still don’t have a clue how they can announce an 18Gb/s increase in bandwidth, yet still use the same transmission line we’ve used in the past? By basically doubling the bandwidth as they did when transitioning from Rev 1.2 to 1.3 you would have to assume a higher-speed cable to accompany Rev 2.0.
But the recommendation is to use current high-speed cable products. A better cable? Even if one owned the science to build such a thing what would that cost? It will never happen inside the consumer A/V space unless they are short or active cables.
So what’s the answer? How can they possibly do this? The HDMI group has gone out of its way making it hard to find these answers. Then there are those that do belong to the forum and know the secrets but are under very tight security agreements not to make them public.
How do you keep scores of competitive companies on the right track when all want to be the first with these new technologies? That is what we have to contend with every day in an effort to provide our members the necessary data so they can achieve their goals.
Let’s face it: the driving force behind Rev 2.0 is 4Kx2K @60Hz. That is a no-brainer, but how far does it really go? Take a look at this chart (pictured) and you will get an idea what to expect as we move forward into better and better 4Kx2K formats. So do you really think we will stop at 18Gb/s?
So we figured it out. We put our top people on this; it was just a matter of time before each scenario was executed until we discovered the ways of handling this more efficient transmission line. There are some drawbacks that will need attention, but we now have a pretty clear picture (no pun intended) on what to expect so we can keep manufacturers on top of it all.
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Jeff Boccaccio is president of DPL Labs. Jeff can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jeff at email@example.com
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