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5/29/2009
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HDMI Audio-Video Connector Gets Ethernet Support

Besides high-speed bidirectional communication, the connector will allow an Internet-enabled HDMI device to share its Internet connection with other HDMI devices without a separate cable.

The next version of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface will include Ethernet support, enabling cable built using the digital audio and video connector specification to send and receive data at 100 Mbps, the group in charge of the technology said.

The HDMI Licensing organization this week introduced the upcoming HDMI 1.4 specification, which will also include other new features. HDMI is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data.

Besides high-speed bidirectional communication, the Ethernet support will allow an Internet-enabled HDMI device to share its Internet connection with other HDMI devices without the need for a separate Ethernet cable, the group said. The new feature also would provide the connection platform to allow HDMI-enabled devices to share content.

Other new features include the addition of an audio return channel that would reduce the number of cables required to deliver audio upstream for processing and playback. As a result, high-definition TVs would be able to send an audio stream to the audio/video receiver over the HDMI cable.

The 1.4 version also defines common 3-D formats for HDMI-enabled devices, thereby standardizing the input/output portion of the home 3-D system. The new spec also enables HDMI devices to support high-definition resolutions four times beyond 1080p, making it possible to transmit content at the same resolution as many digital theaters.

The latest specification also encompasses microconnectors for mobile devices and a connection system for automobile systems.

"The HDMI specification continues to add functionality as the consumer electronics and PC industries build products that enhance the consumer's HD experience," Steve Venuti, president of HDMI Licensing, said in a statement.

More than 394 million HDMI-enabled devices are expected to ship worldwide this year, according to market research firm In-Stat. The installed based of HDMI devices has reached 1 billion devices, and all digital TVs by the end of this year are expected to have at last one HDMI input.

HDMI specification 1.4 is scheduled to be available for download by June 30.


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