WHAT EXACTLY IS HDMI?
HDMI stands for "High-Definition Multimedia Interface." It provides an all-digital connection solution in one cable, with the potential for the most incredible video picture ever seen, combined with full, uncompressed digital audio sound. The HDMI connectivity standard was a result of a combination of giants in the industry getting together to create a high performance digital connection.
High-Definition, as we know it today is advancing rapidly, and will pale in comparison with the video of tomorrow. Soon, you will hear new buzz words like "deep color," higher refresh rates, and higher resolution displays. Driven by advances in computer, display, and source technologies that will enable consumers to achieve a more lifelike video experience, HDMI has updated its versions to reflect an increase in data capability. Hence some of the confusion over HDMI cables.
There have been five versions of HDMI since it's inception in 2002. The latest version provides for a superhighway of data for products that will come in the near future. Evolving technologies in video displays (1080p, 1440p and beyond), new sources such as Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD and Playstation® 3, and content (such as the latest in HD movies in 1080p, and 10bit/12bit and greater color depth) all need more advanced cable technologies.
HDMI: BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
HDMI offers a connection that provides the most incredible audio and video experience that the Consumer Electronics industry has ever known. With every advance, HDMI delivers even sharper, more vivid images, with brighter and deeper colors, and with the highest-quality surround sound available. The "one-cable" solution that makes it easier for consumers to hook up their products- that's the "Beauty."
The "Beast" is that HDMI engenders more confusion than any other connector type with many different cable and component standards, interoperability problems, and false information about the quality and performance of HDMI cables. For example, the most recent HDMI standard HDMI 1.3 category 2 specification lays the groundwork for technologies in components yet to come, such as deep color beyond what is available today, higher refresh rates for smooth video, higher resolution to 1080p and beyond, and greater pixel density as displays get larger. Poor picture quality can range from dropped pixels, snow, streaks across the screen, or to total picture drop out.
Moreover, many electronics and cables do not perform to the standard, so many combinations of cables and components don't work. Additionally, cable performance, especially over long runs, have degraded picture quality.
EXPLAINING THE HDMI CABLE CONFUSION.
A common misconception is that all HDMI cables are the same-so just buy the cheapest cables you can find and they'll work for you. The truth is:
- There are many levels of High-Definition digital video, and different standards for HDMI-enabled components. Hence, there are different levels of HDMI cables to connect them.
- High-Definition (720p/1080i), as we know it today, is delivered at a 2.2 Gbps (giga-bits per second) throughput rate. Although high compared to standard DVD at .81 Gbps, it is miniscule compared to the throughput requirements that will achieve the best performance from High-Definition in the near future, which will require 10.2 Gbps and more. Previous generation HDMI cables developed to meet the original 2.2 Gbps standard are not certified for the new standard and may not pass the full bandwidth required to provide the best performance from these new products.
- HDMI marks the first time that a cable connection standard has created a "superhighway" for digital content, with components yet to come. Even some of the original HDMI 1.0 cable from 2002, may not work with the latest sources and displays and sources of today (1080p, 12 bit color), and will surely strain to deliver the quality picture and sound content of tomorrow.
- Unlike computer data, which is tolerant of data transmission losses, video data is not. Accurate transmission is essential. Most HDMI-compliant cables can transfer older versions of High-Definition (720p/1080i) data rate over short lengths, but have problems maintaining the same performance over longer lengths as well as higher data rates required of 1080p.
CABLES THAT WORK TODAY MAY NOT BE SUITABLE TOMORROW
The goal of HDTV is to approximate the same color depth, smoothness of motion, sharpness, and detail that the eye can see. We are far from that, even with tomorrow's technology, but the race is on!
Technology continues to advance at a rapid rate. High-Definition as we know it today (720p/1080i) is relatively low bandwidth. With new displays that increase sharpness and resolution from 1080i from 1080p, we double the scan lines-and therefore the data that has to be transferred to the screen every second from 2.2 Gbps to 4.46 Gbps. This is double the previous data rate per second. Cables that worked for 1080i, may not work for 1080p, especially over longer lengths as one might need to install a flatscreen on the wall.
To get even better color, the technology is coming to provide "deep color". Today's standard is 8-bit color, but Blu-ray and HD DVD will feature 12 and 16-bit color, increasing the data rate again to 6.6 Gbps and 8.8 Gbps! In order to provide "smoother video" which becomes important for fast action and videogames, we will see displays with higher refresh rates. These are already available for computers today (check our your video display settings on your computer). The refresh rates of displays will go up this year from 60 times a second (60Hz) to 90Hz and 120Hz, increasing the data rate again to 12.2 Gbps. These cables are still under development and are expected to be available later 2007.
To make matters even more demanding, future TVs will have even more pixels than 1080p, to 1440 and greater, as consumers demand ever-bigger, brighter, sharper pictures. The data rate increases as the pixel count increases. These displays are already available for computers and professional grade projectors.
The conclusion is that HDMI cables that work today may not work tomorrow. HDMI cable technology is a bargain considering the cable performance of just a few years ago. Since the cable is probably the least expensive component in a home theater system, it pays to purchase the best possible cable that current technology allows.
WHERE DOES MONSTER STAND IN ALL OF THIS CABLE CONFUSION?
Monster commits to providing the widest range of HDMI cables at various price points, from entry level standard speed cables, to ultra high speed cables for the most advanced video home theaters, some of which are yet to come. Monster has been a leader in HDMI connectivity from the beginning, working with HDMI co-inventor, Silicon Image, to educate consumers on the benefits and performance aspects of the cables. Silicon Image plans to advance HDMI performance specifications, the latest of which serves as a gateway for future technologies that will provide even better, more lifelike picture quality.
Monster has always designed and engineered advanced audio and video cables, assuring consumers that they get maximum enjoyment from their home theater investment. Cables are the least expensive component in a home theater system so if possible, it pays to get the best.
Monster is excited about this even-higher-definition future. While some HDMI cables are "good enough" to meet original HD standards, Monster endeavors to not conform to just "standards." Just as skinny 16-gauge speaker cable was not good enough when the first Monster Cable was designed, current HDMI standards are just a challenge for Monster to supersede them.
Monster's technology gives you the highest performance cables for the money, using precision windings, nitrogen gas dielectrics, larger conductors, and a specially designed connector to maintain performance integrity during installation.
Advanced HDMI performance is guaranteed. With Monster HDMI, you will maximize the enjoyment of your home theater and feel confident that Monster has provided a reliable and high-performance video connection.
DIFFERENT LEVELS OF MONSTER HDMI
For those who don't require maximum performance, but still want Monster Cable quality, we offer cables at every performance level. Monster may cost more, but it's worth it.