High-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) is the most sophisticated and multi-featured interface ever designed. HDMI 1.4 adds even more features like Ethernet channel connectivity and support for an audio return channel. Through the HDMI 1.3 vs 1.4 comparison presented in this article, I present the prime differences between the two versions.
A technology must keep upgrading itself to tackle newer challenges offered by market changes, in order to survive and maintain its dominance. Failure of a technology to adapt results into rapid decline in usage, ultimately earning it the ‘Obsolete’ tag, as better competitors take over its market share. HDMI is designed to be the audio and video interface which will eventually push out all other competing technologies like VGA and DVI into the background. While it has already succeeded in doing so, becoming the default interface chosen by more than 850 electronic companies, it has continued improving since its first launch in 2003, to offer better features, that widen its range of applicability. The latest HDMI version 1.4 brings in many new innovative features.
About High-Definition Multimedia Interface
One thing that sets HDMI apart from its competitors is the fact that it’s continuously evolving as a standard. It’s an interface which can transfer high quality uncompressed, digital audio and video signals simultaneously through a single cable, to connect devices like HDTVs and computer monitors with DVD players, set top boxes and other such devices.
Using the ‘Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS)’ protocol, the interface transmits audio and video signals of all types of resolutions at a bit rate of 10.2 Gbit/s at 340 MHz. HDMI is ideally designed for high-definition video quality broadcast, besides offering an added advantage of liberation from the need to use multiple cables for broadcasting audio and video signals. Let us now compare HDMI versions – 1.3 and 1.4 in the following section.
HDMI 1.3 Vs. 1.4 Comparison
HDMI version 1.4 offers all the features that have been included in version 1.3, 1.3a and 1.3b. It improves and makes substantial additions to these existing features. In the following lines, I present a list of features introduced in the two HDMI versions, which will clarify the differences between the two.
HDMI 1.3 Features
The version 1.3 was released along with two smaller updates in the form of 1.3a and 1.3b. Here are the new features introduced by this version.
Support for New HD Lossless Audio Formats
HD lossless audio formats like Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio are supported by HDMI 1.3, which extended its use for home theaters systems.
Higher Bandwidth & Support for Higher Resolutions
By providing a bandwidth of 340 MHz with a bit rate of 10.2 Gbps, HDMI 1.3 extended its support for higher resolutions beyond 1080p, while also enhancing data transfer speed.
Support for Greater Color Depth & Broader Color Space
This version extends support for color depth up to 16-bit, extending support for a greater number of colors, while improving the transmitted picture quality through support for ‘x.v.Color’ standard.
New Miniconnector for HD Camcorders & Automatic Audio Synching
To connect HD camcorders with display devices, HDMI 1.3 introduced miniconnectors. This made it easy to transmit recorded video data and transmit it directly to HDTV screens.
HDMI 1.4 Features
After the successful acceptance and adoption of HDMI 1.3, the latest HDMI version 1.4 was introduced which was backward compatible with 1.3, while offering several new features.
HDMI now offers rugged cables which can be installed in cars to transmit high-definition audio and video to the car stereo and television systems. This will encourage car manufacturers to use HDMI technology in cars.
Introduction of Type D HDMI Microconnectors
For the purpose of providing HDMI connectivity of devices with cell phones, media players and digital cameras, new 19 pin type D HDMI microconnectors have been introduced. They are about half the size of HDMI mini connectors introduced in version 1.3.
Support for Even Broader Color Spaces
By providing support for Adobe YCC601, sYCC601 and Adobe RGB color standards, HDMI 1.4 delivers richer still picture quality transmitted by digital cameras to display devices.
Better Support for 3D
With version 1.4, HDMI extends its support for 1080p 3D video broadcasts and 3D video formats (including frame alternative, field alternative, line alternative, side-by-side full, side-by-side half, L + depth + graphics + graphics depth, L + depth). This has created support for 3D gaming and other 3D video applications. This version defined the video formats for 3D enabled devices.
Support for Extremely High HD Resolutions
While version 1.3 increased bandwidth to accommodate all the maximum HDTV resolution sizes, version 1.4 offers support for resolution which is 4 times 1080p! Now HDMI offers enough bandwidth to transmit uncompressed audio and video signals to display devices with the screen size of cinema theaters!
Introduction of Audio Upstream Channel
Now HDMI 1.4 offers connectivity an ‘Audio Return Channel’ or ‘Audio Upstream Channel’ that lets display devices like televisions transmit audio signals back to audio video receiver devices.
HDMI Ethernet Channel for Internet Applications
This is probably the best feature added in version 1.4. The provision of an 100 Mbps Ethernet channel substantially extends the applicability of HDMI technology. Devices can access Internet and share data using this new channel. It eliminates the need for a separate Ethernet cable.
The differences in HDMI 1.3 and 1.4 reflect incremental changes made in the technology, along with some completely new features like the HDMI micro connector and automotive connection system. Perhaps the most important addition is the HDMI Ethernet channel, which grants Internet connectivity to devices.
The support for higher resolutions will help HDMI in its competition with rival standard – ‘DisplayPort’, which has been slowly making waves in the electronics market. Hope this HDMI 1.3 vs. 1.4 comparison has sufficiently clarified the differences between the two versions. For more detailed information on every new feature introduced by the two versions, it’s suggested that you visit the official HDMI website.