HDMI – High-Definition Multimedia Interface

hdmiHDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting encrypted uncompressed digital data. It is a digital alternative to consumer analogue standards, such as radio frequency (RF) coaxial cable, composite video, S-Video, SCART, component video, D-Terminal, or VGA (also called D-sub or DE-15F). HDMI connects digital audio/video sources (such as set-top boxes, DVD players, Blu-ray Disc players, AVCHD camcorders, personal computers (PCs), video game consoles (such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360), AV receivers, tablet computers, and mobile phones) to compatible digital audio devices, computer monitors, video projectors, and digital televisions.

HDMI implements the EIA/CEA-861 standards, which define video formats and waveforms, transport of compressed, uncompressed, and LPCM audio, auxiliary data, and implementations of the VESA EDID. HDMI supports, on a single cable, any uncompressed TV or PC video format, including standard, enhanced, high definition and 3D video signals; up to 8 channels of compressed or uncompressed digital audio; a Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) connection; and an Ethernet data connection.
The CEC allows HDMI devices to control each other when necessary and allows the user to operate multiple devices with one remote control handset. Because HDMI is electrically compatible with the CEA-861 signals used by digital visual interface (DVI), no signal conversion is necessary, nor is there a loss of video quality when a DVI-to-HDMI adapter is used.


hdmi-pinsThe HDMI specification defines the protocols, signals, electrical interfaces and mechanical requirements of the standard. The maximum pixel clock rate for HDMI 1.0 was 165 MHz, which was sufficient to support 1080p and WUXGA (1920×1200) at 60 Hz. HDMI 1.3 increased that to 340 MHz, which allows for higher resolution (such as WQXGA, 2560×1600) across a single digital link. An HDMI connection can either be single-link (type A/C) or dual-link (type B) and can have a video pixel rate of 25 MHz to 340 MHz (for a single-link connection) or 25 MHz to 680 MHz (for a dual-link connection). Video formats with rates below 25 MHz are transmitted using a pixel-repetition scheme.

HDMI uses the Consumer Electronics Association/Electronic Industries Alliance 861 standards. HDMI 1.0 to HDMI 1.2a uses the EIA/CEA-861-B video standard, HDMI 1.3 uses the CEA-861-D video standard, and HDMI 1.4 uses the CEA-861-E video standard. The CEA-861-E document defines “video formats and waveforms; colorimetry and quantization; transport of compressed and uncompressed, as well as Linear Pulse Code Modulation (LPCM), audio; carriage of auxiliary data; and implementations of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Enhanced Extended Display Identification Data Standard (E-EDID)”.

For digital audio, if an HDMI device supports audio, it is required to support the baseline format: stereo (uncompressed) PCM. Other formats are optional, with HDMI allowing up to 8 channels of uncompressed audio at sample sizes of 16-bit, 20-bit and 24-bit, with sample rates of 32 kHz, 44.1 kHz, 48 kHz, 88.2 kHz, 96 kHz, 176.4 kHz and 192 kHz. HDMI also supports any IEC 61937-compliant compressed audio stream, such as Dolby Digital and DTS, and up to 8 channels of one-bit DSD audio (used on Super Audio CDs) at rates up to four times that of Super Audio CD.

To ensure baseline compatibility between different HDMI sources and displays (as well as backward compatibility with the electrically compatible DVI standard) all HDMI devices must support the sRGB colour space at 8 bits per component. Support for the YCbCr colour space and higher colour depths (“deep colour”) is optional. HDMI permits sRGB 4:4:4 (8–16 bits per component), xvYCC 4:4:4 (8–16 bits per component), YCbCr 4:4:4 (8–16 bits per component), or YCbCr 4:2:2 (8–12 bits per component). The colour spaces that can be used by HDMI are ITU-R BT.601, ITU-R BT.709-5 and IEC 61966-2-4.

Audio Dolby TrueHD

dolbyWith version 1.3, HDMI supports lossless compressed audio streams Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. As with the YCbCr video, device support for audio is optional.
Audio Return Channel (ARC) is a feature introduced in the HDMI 1.4 standard.”Return” refers to the case where the audio comes from the TV and can be sent “upstream” to the AV Receiver using the HDMI cable connected to the AV receiver. An example given on the HDMI website is that a TV that directly receives a terrestrial/satellite broadcast, or has a video source built in, sends the audio “upstream” to the AV receiver.

The HDMI standard was not designed to pass closed caption data (for example, subtitles) to the television for decoding. As such, any closed caption stream must be decoded and included as an image in the video stream(s) prior to transmission over an HDMI cable to be viewed on the DTV. This limits the caption style (even for digital captions) to only that decoded at the source prior to HDMI transmission. This also prevents closed captions when transmission over HDMI is required for upconversion. For example, a DVD player that sends an upscaled 720p/1080i format via HDMI to an HDTV has no way to pass Closed Captioning data so that the HDTV can decode it, as there is no line 21 VBI in that format.