According to abbreviationfinder, HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It is a transmission standard in which sound and images are transmitted simultaneously between two devices, for example between a television and a Blu-ray player. HDMI has replaced older connections such as SCART and the standard enables the transmission of high-resolution image formats such as 4K and others.
- With HDMI, image and sound signals can be transmitted simultaneously and in high quality.
- In addition to standard-size HDMI plugs (type A), there are micro-HDMI (type D) and mini-HDMI (type C) for small devices.
- The HDMI versions range from HDMI Standard to HDMI Premium High Speed, which can transmit image formats with different resolutions.
What is HDMI for?
HDMI connections are found on many multimedia devices, including televisions, Blu-ray players, game consoles, computers, laptops, monitors, and digital cameras. Sticks for streaming pay TV are also connected to the TV’s HDMI port. Consumers cannot avoid this transmission technology.
One advantage of HDMI is that sound and images are transmitted by cable and in high quality. In addition, HDMI includes the copy protection HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection). This means that Blu-ray content or films on pay TV are transmitted in encrypted form, for example. This protection is intended to make it more difficult to make digital copies.
The HDMI versions
The HDMI transmission technology is constantly being further developed. So that consumers are not confused by information such as HDMI 1.4, 1.7 or 2.0, only a few names are allowed for the HDMI versions:
- HDMI Standard: Transmission of Full HD with a bandwidth of at least 2.25 gigabits per second
- HDMI High Speed: Additional functions such as 3D and HD audio with bandwidths of up to 10 gigabits per second
- HDMI Premium High Speed: Transmission rates of 18 gigabits per second allow the smooth transmission of 4K
- Add-on ” Ethernet”: Allows a network connection to be established and is available as an add-on for all HDMI versions
The HDMI versions therefore differ in terms of their performance. The higher the resolution of an image, the more information the connection must be able to transmit in the shortest possible time. All components – that is, the connections to the devices and the cable – must be powerful enough that the image is displayed in the desired high resolution.
The different HDMI sizes
Since HDMI connections can be found on various devices, different sizes are necessary for the plugs; this applies to slim laptops and smartphones , for example . HDMI plugs are available in the following types and sizes:
- Type A is the standard, it measures 15 x 5.5 millimeters.
- Type B is a rarely used special form of A with a dual-link connection.
- Type C is also called Mini-HDMI and is significantly smaller at 11.2 x 3.2 millimeters.
- Type D is also called Micro-HDMI and, at 6.4 x 2.8 millimeters, is the smallest HDMI connector.
What is HDMI ARC?
HDMI ARC stands for “Audio Return Channel”. This is a technique that allows a television to not only receive data over an HDMI cable, but also to send sound. With HDMI ARC, the number of connected cables can therefore be reduced. Because it replaces the additional cable from the audio output of the television to the audio input of the AV receiver.
An HDMI-ARC cable between the television and AV receiver fulfills two functions:
- It transmits information from the AV receiver to the television, for example picture and sound from a Blu-ray player connected to the receiver.
- When receiving a TV program, the television sends the sound via the HDMI cable to the receiver, which forwards the signal to the speakers.
What is an HDMI splitter?
Often there are simply not enough ports on the devices to make all the connections you want. Then it is necessary to plug in – or to connect a splitter. How a splitter works can be illustrated using an example: A Blu-ray player only has one HDMI output. However, you would like to connect it to both the television and a projector. The solution is a splitter that you connect to the Blu-Ray player. The splitter has several outputs to which you can connect cables to the two output devices.
The splitter distributes the signal output by the Blu-ray player to two connections. An HDMI splitter is therefore also called an HDMI distributor.
What is an HDMI switch?
An HDMI switch is necessary for the opposite case, for example if the HDMI connections on the television are not sufficient to connect all the desired devices. Then you can plug an HDMI switch into the connection on the television and then plug the cables from the playback devices into this, for example a Blu-ray player and a game console. The HDMI switch automatically switches to the device that is currently active. You may have to select the desired connection using the remote control.
There are even models that are an HDMI splitter and switch in one: Such an HDMI matrix ensures a particularly high level of flexibility.
Which HDMI adapters are there?
Many consumers still have older devices without HDMI that they want to continue to use. This can be a DVD, VHS player or an old game console. In such cases you can use an adapter. This means, for example, that an HDMI cable can be connected to a SCART connection. There are adapters for HDMI for various connections: among others for SCART, VGA, USB and DVI.
It should be noted that with a connection via a SCART connection – despite the HDMI adapter – you cannot expect the same picture and sound quality as with a pure HDMI connection.