HDMI or High Definition Multimedia Interface cable is the essential component for connecting HD devices. A HDMI cable can send all formats of digital video and audio. Before HDMI came along, you needed separate cables for audio and video. It can even handle content from an internet connection. This super cable can do it all, not to mention clean up the mess of cables you find behind your Television. You do not need dozens of confusing cables going in every direction; one HDMI cable is all you require.
To get the best possible High-Definition images you need to have all your home entertainment devices – TV, Blu-ray Player, Gaming Console, Cable Box- connected together via a HDMI cable. Of course, all these devices have to be HD capable. Component cables will produce HD images (limited to 1080i), but then you will still need cables for you audio output. And due to AACS restrictions all Blu-ray Players manufactured after 2010 will only have 408i video output with component connections. HDMI is your best option.
Once the devices have been connected via HDMI, they have the ability to communicate with each other and read each others capabilities. For example, when a Blu-ray player is connected to a HDTV, a process occurs that will automatically configure settings like video resolution and aspect ratio to match the content being played to the highest capabilities of your HDTV.
Features Not Version Numbers
Since its introduction in 2002, HDMI specifications have continued to evolved. With each new version; a new set of features were added. Version 1.3 was launched in 2006 and 1.4 in 2009. The new versions allowed manufacturers to incorporate the new features into their devices. However, just because a TV or Blu-ray Player is 1.4 capable, does not mean it has all the features the 1.4 cable is capable of performing. For example, a Blu-ray Player may have HDMI Ethernet channel and so it advertises the player as 1.4 capable. Some consumers may interpret the Blu-ray Player has 3D since 3D is a feature associated with the 1.4 HDMI version. But that would not be correct. Using version numbers for HDMI cables can lead to confusion and mislead consumers.
Because of this, version numbers will eventually be phased out when referring to HDMI cables. Manufacturers can still used them until January 1, 2012, but must also include the specific features of their devices. All specifications are backward compatible with older devices. This is good news since you do not have to worry about new cables working with your older components.
What Cable Should I Get?
There are many different companies marketing HDMI cables. Some are good, others can be a little shady. Some will even mislead the consumer about what the cable is capable of doing and the advantages their cable has over the competition. This can cause the consumer to spend tens, even hundreds of dollars more than necessary. The consumer needs to realize expensive HDMI cables offer no advantages in image quality over the lesser or cheaper HDMI cables.
There are four types of HDMI cables. Standard Speed (also referred to as Category 1) cables with or without Ethernet and High Speed (also referred to as Category 2) cables with or without Ethernet. Standard Speed cables can carry up to 1080i video resolution and High Speed Cables well over 1080p video resolution. Standard cable can probably handle 1080p content but they are not stated to do so. However, if you are purchasing the “right type of cable”, than there is not much difference in price when it comes to Standard and High Speed cables, so purchasing the latter should not be a problem.
By the “right type of cable’, we mean ‘as cheap as possible’. No matter what you are told, when it comes to image quality, there is no difference between expansive HDMI cables and cheap HDMI cables. The expensive cable maybe more durable and have a thicker casting or a beefier connector. But it would be up to you how much more you think this is worth. Most of us are just need a cable to connect our Blu-ray Player or Cable box to our TV. Over these short distances, a cheap HDMI cable will provide us with the best possible picture and sound. Even over longer distances, a cheap HDMI cable with function fine.
So when looking to buy a HDMI cable, make sure you are not paying more than $5 dollars per two meters. Otherwise you are overpaying. Also, do not confuse HDMI capabilities with that of your HD devices capabilities.