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
, 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 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.

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