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HDMI 1.4 Spec Announced


HDMI 1.4 Spec Announced

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 Standard cables are good for the likes of Sky HD and Freesat which top out at 1080i, then, while anyone with a Blu-ray or HD DVD (assuming anyone still has one) player will want the high speed cables, with or without Ethernet depending on the devices to be connected. I don't see why just one cable for everything wouldn't suffice, but what do I know?

The full spec will be released "no later than 30 June" so if you're particularly interested, keep an eye of the HDMI website.



Luan Bach

May 29, 2009, 4:51 pm

What's the sodding point if they need different cables, may as well keep the different sockets.


May 29, 2009, 5:48 pm

So we need new TV's that support hdmi 1.4?


May 29, 2009, 8:02 pm

Does this mean more wires inside the cable? The HDMI connector falls out too much already without adding extra weight.


May 29, 2009, 8:12 pm

@ahlan Yeah if you want to be able to use 3D/4K hdmi.. yes you'll need to buy a 3D/4K TV first. Sorry if you feel short-changed that your current TV isn't already 3D or 4K.


May 29, 2009, 8:27 pm


> 'The Standard cables are good for 720p sets only'

Er, I don't mean to be picky, but according to the spec standard cable 'supports data rates up to 1080i/60'. If I don't, someone else (read:Ohmz) will :)


May 29, 2009, 9:08 pm

^^ But then again, if you had a 1080 set, why would you limit it to 1080i? Ignore me, I'm being a bit thick.


May 29, 2009, 9:19 pm

^^ Hold on, I think 1080 at 60i has a higher data rate than 1080 at 24p, so I think the Standard cable should work fine with 1080p from a Blu-Ray player or just about anything else that's around today.


May 29, 2009, 9:20 pm

@Hugo some errors...

There are already "standard" and "high speed" HDMI cables. That distinction was introduced for the HDMI 1.3 spec. This 1.4 spec improvement has nothing to do with that, cables that work with HDMI 1.3 will work with 1.4.... except if you want ethernet. A "standard" cable is just a really crappy quality, I've never seen one on sale, even super cheap ebay jobs work for "hispeed" just fine; unless you make one yourself out of a coat-hanger, I doubt you'll actually experience "standard".

So, there is a single additional cable type to HDMI that we actually use, the 'HDMI+Ethernet' cable. Unless you want to use that, you won't have to re-cable your home cinema for all the other features.

The car one is silly though, they should have just used the D type mini connector for that use as well.


May 29, 2009, 9:50 pm

right, I have a question: what's the point of having ethernet built into the HDMI cable? Ethernet needs to be plugged one end into Blu-Ray (for BD-Live) and the other end into network. What's the point of plugging one end into Blur-Ray and other end into TV? Would future TVs making use of this function as ethernet hubs for the 1.4 connected devices attached?


May 29, 2009, 10:19 pm

@ChasoD.. I would think any device with the feature would have optional routing and it's own auto DHCP subnet. So one device like the amp/receiver would have a network input and then the blu-ray player, TV, Set-top box.. would piggy back their connection through the main device. Also if the amp/receiver has a wifi connection then only that one device need to be setup for wifi.


May 29, 2009, 11:22 pm

Chris - It also occurs to me there are a lot of 1080i sources (Sky HD for example) which you would still want to connect to a 1080p TV... Ahem.

jopey - where's the mistake? I mentioned nothing about current cables. I'm just saying five (well, four for indoors use) cable options is stupid. The car connector includes lock-in clips, so it is useful and I think all HDMI cables should have them anyway because it's hardly a secure connection.

ChaosDefinesOrder - Hypothetically you can have one Ethernet port going to, say, your TV, which then passes that signal on to your Sky box, Xbox 360, PS3 and every other device connected to it. As opposed to (as I currently do) having an Ethernet switch as well as power cables and HDMI cables all over the place behind my kit.


May 29, 2009, 11:51 pm

@Hugo It looks like a mistake because you'd written it as NOW there are 5 types of HDMI cable they've added with 1.4.. Which isn't the case. Aside from the car one there are the standard and high speed. Standard doesn't really exist. I've never seen it on sale anywhere and it's basically pointless. That leaves "normal 19 pin HDMI 1.3/1.4" cables. Or "normal cables" with ethernet. I don't think that's complicated or stupid. Would it be a better situation to remove backwards compatibility and have "HDMI+Ethernet" only? Of course it wouldn't.. that would be stupid. The ethernet is much more optional than the other features. The devices that support it will still need to supply a ethernet port for a considerable amount of time.


May 29, 2009, 11:54 pm

The HDMI nightmare continues .......

HDMI (in my opionion) is a badly thought out standard - not fit for European consumers.

For starters, it doesn't support automatic switching - even the stone age scart could do this. Has anyone tried to connect an HDMI device to a TV and an AV receiver? The receiver receives 2.0 sound only regardless of the HD-audio material being played. So you have to use the optical connector for audio. But then some devices cannot output audio simultaneously to HDMI and optical ...... and on and on .......

How about something revolutionary - ask comsumers what they want. Collate the most requests that are feasible and then release HDMI 2.0 - then stay put for a few years.

If manufacturers think that the contant upgrading is going to tempt consumers to upgrade, then they are wrong. I for one, now will NOT upgrade everytime they discover a bug and then release a whole new standard.


May 30, 2009, 1:11 am


You can find a small three way auto/manual hdmi switch on ebay for around £10 works fine for me it selects the last source when you decide or you can push the button.


May 30, 2009, 3:56 am

This just dumb and flat out exploitation of consumers. A someone on Arstechncia said, any old CDat5E cable can arry ALL of these signals for about a buck in cost.

This kind of nonsense, will simply drive people back to DVI + optical.


May 30, 2009, 11:25 am

@prem HDMI on my TV has auto switching and auto power on/off. It's called "HDMI-CEC" and it's part of the standard. Whenever I turn my blu-ray player on the TV switches over. I turned off the setting for the TV to power down after I turn off the blu-ray player... No external HDMI switch box required hank.

"a Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) 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."

I have no idea what you are talking about HDMI only carrying 2.0 audio. HDMI contains the equivalent of an optical connection so can do standard DTS or DD5.1. If your receiver can receive PCM it can carry 8 channels of uncompressed 24bit audio. That's for all HDMI connections.. if you want to bitstream DTSHD or TrueHD then you need HDMI1.3 and an amp to decode those formats.

Geoff Richards

May 30, 2009, 1:04 pm

Sorry Prem - I don't know what you've been using but @jopey is correct about the audio. But I'm certainly going to have a play with my setup to see if it supports this CEC thing - I hate having to manually switch inputs whenever I want to watch a film. :)

Ben 3

May 30, 2009, 3:07 pm

The trouble with the CEC it isn't mandatory. For instance my Samsung TV does as did the Upscaling DVD Player I had. However the PS3 doesn't, nor does Sky HD or Virgin's V+ box

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