HDMI 1.4: What You Need to Know

Over the years, we’ve covered the switch from analog to digital video with DVI, then DVI with HDCP, and finally HDMI and all its incarnations. In January, we blogged about the new HDMI 1.4 standard, but thought it was time for another update.

As many readers know, HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It transmits uncompressed digital video and audio over a single, compact cable. The type, amount and speed of data the cable carries expands with each HDMI release.

The latest HDMI release, version 1.4, includes the following features:

  • Ethernet Channel
  • Audio Return Channel
  • 3D Over HDMI
  • 4K x 2K Resolution Support
  • Expanded Support for Color Spaces
  • Micro Connector
  • Automotive Connection System

Sounds awesome, right? You can’t wait to get one, right? Well, good luck finding a “HDMI 1.4” cable.

See, the HDMI consortium has banned manufacturers from displaying the standard (i.e. 1.4, 1.3 or 1.3b) on product packaging. Instead, manufacturers are encouraged to list the cables’ features.

(Ironically, the HDMI consortium doesn’t follow its own rules. At HDMI.org, there’s a flashy graphic advertising “HDMI 1.4”)

We talked with Martin Fensterstock, Sales & Product Marketing Manager at Comprehensive, about the HDMI group’s new policy.

“The version numbers just confused a lot of people. Too many people thought they needed the latest and greatest release, or the highest version number,” he said. “People should be concerned about what the cable is capable of, not what version it is.”

Moral of the story: when the time comes to buy a new HDMI cable, your best bet is to figure out the features you want (ok, need) and shop for them, not for the release number.

For more answers on the latest HDMI specification, formerly known as “HDMI 1.4,” check out this FAQ page. As always, our Projector Experts are standing by to help you pick the best HDMI cable for your Home Theater setup.