What Is An HDMI Cable?

When it comes to digital cables, HDMI cables are the most advanced cables you can get today. HDMI cables transmit both uncompressed audio and digital video signals from one device (such as a Blu-ray player) to your flat-panel TV. This ability to carry both audio and digital video signals is great because it eliminates the need for separate audio and video cables, thus reducing clutter. What’s more, you get the highest quality signal possible because HDMI cables support all high definition TV (HDTV) resolutions (including 720p, 1080i and 1080p) as well as EDTV (480p) and standard definition signals. As for audio, while even more improvements are in the works, HDMI cables currently support up to 8 channels of 24-bit audio. This is the best you can get today.

HDMI 1.4 Specification

The HDMI 1.4 specification, which was announced in June of 2009, introduced some major enhancements to HDMI cables. These improvements were further advanced in March of 2010 with the release of the 1.4a specification. The most important capabilities included in the HDMI 1.4 specification were:

  • Support for Ethernet – This allows you to use an IP-enabled device without needing a separate Ethernet cable.
  • Audio Return Channel – This eliminates the need for a separate audio cable because you are now able to send audio to a surround sound audio system through the HDMI cable.
  • Support for 3D – the new version now support both input and output protocols for major 3D video formats. This allows you to get the full benefit of a 3D TV or gaming system.
  • Video Resolution Support Beyond 1080p – you now have full support for next-generation displays with super-high resolutions that are even higher than 1080p.

There are several other enhancements introduced in the 1.4a specification. If you would like to learn more, read our comprehensive review of the 1.4a specification in our blog post entitled, What’s New With The Version 1.4a HDMI Specification.

The CL2 and CL3 Designations

The CL2 and CL3 designation define how HDMI cables react in a fire. Both CL2 and CL3 rated cables are made with flame retardant, low-smoke materials, making them safer if they are exposed to heat or fire. Because CL2 and CL3 cables are flame retardant, they can be used for in-wall installations. That means that these types of cables are safe to run through your walls. Never run any type of cable through your walls if they are not rated for in-wall use.

What to Look for When Shopping for an HDMI Cable

When you’re ready to purchase an HDMI cable, look for the following features:

  • Gold-Plated Connectors – Gold-plated connectors achieve superior signal transfer.
  • Shielded Cables – Cables that are fully shielded protect against interferences such as environmental EMI and RFI.
  • Support for 1080p – Support for high resolutions such as 1080p allows you to get full HD video streams giving you the clearest picture possible today. This is what you want when you’re looking to maximize your investment in the latest LED TV, LCD TV, plasma TV, Blu-ray, DVD player, DVR player, satellite, cable box, AV receiver, projector & HD game consoles on the market.
  • Support for Beyond 1080p – Support for 4K x 2K high definition video and digital AV sources means you’ll be ready to upgrade when the time comes.
  • Support for 3D – Many newer TVs or gaming consoles are now 3D-capable so if you’ve got a 3D-enabled device, you’ll be able to transmit 3D signals to your TV.
  • Support for Ethernet – The latest home entertainment devices are IP-enabled, meaning that they can interact with the Internet or be connected to a local network. Using an HDMI cable that supports Ethernet means that you no longer need a separate Ethernet cable.

Conclusion

Improvements in the HDMI standard allow for a much better HD experience. Most notably, major enhancements introduced in versions 1.4 and 1.4a gave HDMI cables the ability to support some of the latest technologies available today, such as support for Ethernet and 3D. If your goal is to maximize your audio and digital video signals, then HDMI cables are the way to go.

If you would like to shop for a high-quality HDMI cable, we offer a very wide selection of sizes ranging from 3 feet all the way up to 60 feet on our HDMI page. Visit us at Bundlecity.com to review our line of television accessories that enhance your HD experience. For Additional Questions, Please e-mail us at: sales@bundlecity.com or call toll free at 888.488-2635.

 

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