It’s been 20 years and more than 11 billion supported devices shipped since HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) launched in 2002 and the interface continues to have a huge impact on custom integration projects and more.
With the recent announcement of the upcoming HDMI 2.1a version, made just before this year’s annual CES in Las Vegas, as well as other HDMI happenings of note, we welcomed HDMI Licensing Administrator president & CEO Rob Tobias to the CE Pro Podcast for this week’s episode.
Among the range of topics Tobias addresses includes the expanding reach of HDMI into sectors such as automotive, healthcare, military and more (check out the 2022 Jeep Grand Wagoneer for in-vehicle entertainment); the new Source-Based Tone Mapping (SBTM) feature added to the 2.1a spec; other enhancements; and clearing up some confusion around HDMI marketing so integrators and consumers know which certified capabilities manufacturers are incorporating in their products.
The SBTM feature is aimed at optimizing the HDR (High Dynamic Range) viewing experience for when sources might be mixing HDR and SDR or multiple screens are being fed. Multi-window gaming and streaming/set-top box menu guide (think about all those thumbnail images, for instance) signal delivery stand to benefit, as two real-world examples in particular.
HDMI 2.1a SBTM, Enhanced QMS Help Deliver Smoother Viewing
Per HDMI’s description, Source-Based Tone Mapping allows a portion of the HDR mapping to be performed by the source device in addition to tone mapping done by the display device. That enables the source to send a video signal that takes full advantage of the specific display’s HDR capability by adjusting its output to maximize each display’s potential.
“It’s a very interesting feature for HDR and it enhances it even further,” explains Tobias, who previously on the Podcast detailed other ways HDMI 2.1 has already been a boon for gamers, esports and high-performance gaming with its robust feature set.
“It allows the source device to query the display device on its capabilities – its range of brightness, its color gamut and other attributes. And then it allows the source to combine multiple HDR components and apply its algorithms to that, and then send it over to the display device to have a single combined video signal it can display and have a much better HDR experience.”
Tobias also digs into HDMI 2.1a’s improved QMS (Quick Media Switching) for an enhanced, smoother experience when viewers or sources are toggling between video of different frame rates.
One thing that might not be a smooth experience for integrators and consumers is figuring out which supported certified HDMI features are being incorporated in devices, so Tobias also addresses the current state of certified testing and, importantly, the marketing verbiage manufacturers use when labeling the packaging. Learn about HDMI Licensing’s efforts there to ensure what to look for, as well as other FAQs folks might have as the interface celebrates 20 years by watching or listening to the CE Pro Podcast above.