Having talked about it since January, HDMI Licensing has finally announced the next version of the standard. HDMI 1.4 is here.
As speculated, the HDMI 1.4 brings with it the inclusion of Ethernet connectivity in the same connector as video and audio data. With a growing number of consumer electronics devices requiring such connectivity it's going to be useful to consolidate the wires needed to transfer all the data in a decent home cinema set-up.
An Audio Return Channel will be useful for set-ups where a TV is also used as a receiving source, say for Freeview or Freesat, and audio needs to be passed back to a audio receiver. Rather than needing a dedicated connector to pass that audio back, HDMI 1.4 facilitates that in the one connector. It's probably a niche requirement, but for those who need it will doubtless be a welcome addition.
One of the most interesting additions in the HDMI 1.4 standard is that of 3D over HDMI. The specifics aren't being mentioned yet, but HDMI 1.4 will apparently bring with it defined standards for the transmission of dual-stream 1080p video, as required for stereoscopic 3D. The new standard will also bring support for 4k x 2k video (4,096 x 2160 pixels) at 24Hz as well as 3,840 x 2,160 pixels at 24Hz, 25Hz and 30Hz (2160i anyone?).
The already spotted Mini HDMI (Type D) connector will debut with HDMI 1.4, as will a connector designed for automotive use. Complementing the smaller connection HDMI 1.4 will add sYCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601 colour space support - as used by digital cameras - enabling accurate reproduction of the output of devices using them.
The bad really bad news is that HDMI 1.4 will come with five different cable types depending on the intended use, as follows:
- Standard HDMI Cable - supports data rates up to 1080i/60
- High Speed HDMI Cable - supports data rates beyond 1080p, including Deep Colour and all 3D formats of the new 1.4 specification
- Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet - includes Ethernet connectivity
- High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet - includes Ethernet connectivity
- Automotive HDMI Cable - allows the connection of external HDMI-enabled devices to an in-vehicle HDMI device
The full spec will be released "no later than 30 June" so if you're particularly interested, keep an eye of the HDMI website.