If we talk about video, the connector par excellence today is HDMI. When a few years ago we talked about the scart and all its pins, today luckily, connecting a device has been limited to placing a small connector for easy connection. It is the HDMI, a port that hides a lot of standards that you should know.
All types of HDMI out there
Although the connector may be identical in shape on many devices, it does not mean that they all work the same way. The port has evolved over the years, gradually improving its speed and adding additional functions. The surprising thing is that there are cables designed for special functions, so the HDMI standard organization has listed the following categories.
HDMI cable types
The first thing you will have to do is find the cable that best suits your needs. Not all HDMI cables are the same, and not only because of their connector, but also because of the quality of the cables that are inside. These are all the types of HDMI cables that exist:
- Standard: Designed basically for use in consumer electronics with resolutions ranging between 720p and 1080i. It is quite rare to find these types of cables today because they have been replaced by the new Hight Speed.
- Standard with Ethernet: Model similar to the standard with the peculiarity of including a channel specially dedicated to the transfer of network data.
- Standard Automotive: Cable specially designed for use in the automotive sector. This type of cable supports higher power signals, withstands vibrations and its connector is usually an HDMI Type E with a safety clamp.
- High speed: It is the current model most used and distributed throughout the world. It introduces the possibility of handling 1080p content and reaching 4K resolutions at 30 images per second, as well as being compatible with 3D format.
- Hight Speed with Ethernet: Same cable as the previous one with the introduction of an Ethernet channel to communicate devices through the local network.
- High Speed Automotive: Cable designed for use in the automotive sector and capable of handling 1080p and 4K / 30p resolution.
- Premium High Speed: One more jump in speed. With this type of cables we will be able to reach 4K resolutions at 60 images per second, transmitting video signal with HDR and including color space such as BT.2020.
- Ultra Hight Speed: It is the currently recommended cable for use in the most modern and updated devices. The reason is that it supports the HDMI 2.1 specification capable of moving images in 8K resolution at 60 images per second and 4K at 120 images per second. The bandwidth of this cable reaches 48 Gbps, being also capable of withstanding interference from nearby wireless devices.
Types of HDMI connections
HDMI connectors are easily recognizable, but there are some variants that you might miss. We leave you with a list of the different connectors that exist today with the HDMI format:
- Type A: It is the usual HDMI connector, the one that we will find in most devices. Also known as Standard, it is the connector that has given life to HDMI since its inception and the one that everyone recognizes as such. It is made up of a total of 19 pins.
- Type B: It is a Dual-Link connector that has not been used much and is currently almost disappeared. There are no commercial products that offer it, so it will be difficult to find it. It has an extended 29-pin configuration.
- Type C: It is the HDMI Mini, smaller and compact than the original, usually found in cameras and small devices. It is characterized by being a fairly flat and elongated connector. 19 connection pins.
- Type D: The HDMI micro. The minimal expression of the 19-pin connector. Used in small and very small devices. It is the one offered in the Raspberry Pi 4.
- Type E: Special connector used in the automobile industry. It is a larger connector and with security measures to avoid disconnections.
The HDMI versions
Taking into account the evolution of the manufacturing quality of the cables, the HDMI standard has been increasing in level to offer little by little better benefits in terms of image quality and extra functions. Thus, as the years passed, the HDMI organization published new specifications with which to guarantee performance according to the type of cable and connector.
The different versions that we can find in the market are the following:
- HDMI 1.0: Released in 2002, this specification is the basic one for HDMI. It was born to unify audio and video in the same cable based on the now extinct DVI.
- HDMI 1.1: It was a minor revision, since it simply included support for DVD-Audio
- HDMI 1.2: Came in 2005 and added the One Bit Audio option included on Super Audio CDs. It included new formats such as 720p at 100 Hz and 720p at 120 Hz.
- HDMI 1.2a: A small but important update that was launched after completing the requirements of the Consumer Electronic Control (CEC), which allowed to take control of the devices connected by HDMI with a single remote control.
- HDMI 1.3: Launched in 2006, add new video bandwidth at 8.16 Gbit / s with resolutions of 1,920 x 1,080 pixels at 120 Hz or 2,560 x 1,440 pixels at 60 Hz. Dolby TrueHD support is included for the first time and DTS HD-Master Audio to reproduce these codecs on external AV amplifiers.
- HDMI 1.3a: Minuscule update that included modifications to the Type C connector and some changes to the CEC, such as time control and audio-related commands.
- HDMI 1.4: Arrives in 2009 to increase the bandwidth with which to reach resolutions of 4,096 x 2,160 pixels at 24 Hz, 3,840 x 2,160 at 24, 25 and 30 Hz and 1,920 x 1080 pixels at 120 Hz. It is the first contact with the 4K, and launches the Ethernet channel, being able to include a 100 Mbit / s Ethernet connection between two HDMI devices. ARC, 3D over HDMI and new micro HDMI connector are introduced.
- HDMI 1.4a: Designed to boost the 3D video market that began to grow in 2010. It requires screens with 3D format.
- HDMI 1.4b: It is launched to clarify some details of the previous version. It is the latest specification licensed by HDMI LLC.
- HDMI 2.0: In 2014 comes the great leap in quality, commonly known as HDMI UHD. The bandwidth grows up to 14.4 Gbit / s for video, being able to carry video in 4K format at 60 images per second with 24 bits per pixel in color depth. It includes up to 32 channels of audio, 21: 9 aspect ratio, dynamic audio and video synchronization and many other aspects focused on modern video.
- HDMI 2.0a: Add HDR video support with metadata.
- HDMI 2.0b: Includes support for HDR10 and HLG standards.
- HDMI 2.1: It is the most current and complete standard that exists today. It was launched at the end of 2017, and it makes the jump to 8K at 120 images per second with its bandwidth of 48 Gbit / s. It also supports 4K at 120 frames per second and introduces the Ultra Hight Speed cable type. Technically it supports 10K resolutions at 120 Hz, dynamic HDR with control by scene-by-scene or image-by-image metadata, High Speed Refresh (HFR), eARC and technologies such as Variable Refresh (VRR), fast signal change (QMS) or Quick Frame Transport (QFT). It also includes Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM).
Differences between specifications
HDMI for PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X
Taking into account all the terms that we have reviewed previously and the specifications offered by each of the standards, now you should know that for the new consoles to work correctly on modern screens, you must use an HDMI 2.1 cable to enjoy technologies such as VR and ALLM, so try to choose the cable wisely if you want to get the highest video quality in the new generation of consoles.