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RealTime IT News

Final HDMI 1.0 Specs Released

A group of high-profile consumer electronic firms has released the final 1.0 specification for the HDMI digital interface, clearing the way for the secure distribution of uncompressed high-definition video and multi-channel audio in a single cable.

The founders of the High-Definition Multimedia Interface -- Hitachi, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Royal Philips Electronics, Silicon Image, Sony Corporation, Thomson, and Toshiba Corporation -- said the move to release the first version of the specifications allows the creation of new technology appliances that provide consumers with a broader array of high-quality digital content.

With agreement reached on the HDMI 1.0 specification, electronic device makers can now market HDMI-compliant products to featuring high-definition content. The HDMI interface combines high-definition video and multi-channel audio in a single digital interface with a bandwidth of up to 5 Gigabits/second. This allows for uncompressed digital quality, fewer cables and a small, user-friendly connector suitable for a wide range of components, the group said.

Additionally, the group said HDMI hops aboard interoperability standards and supports many of the capabilities of the AV.link interoperability protocol popular in Europe, such as control of multiple source devices through a single remote pointed at the DTV. "HDMI with High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology solves the issue of protecting high-value content from unauthorized reproduction and distribution," the founding group said.

It said the HDMI initiative already received thumbs up from major movie studios Fox and Universal, satellite companies DIRECTV and EchoStar and several cable companies and consumer electronics makers. Because digital television (DTV) signals remain in digital format, it said the HDMI technology would assure high-definition images retain the highest video quality from the source all the way to the display.

Analysts believe the release of the new specification could help prop up the struggling digital entertainment market. "Many users are overwhelmed by the complexity of interconnecting all the pieces. As an industry standard, (HDMI) will provide some measure of relief while providing the quality users have come to demand, encouraging the adoption of new types of digital entertainment," said META group analyst Steve Kleynhans.