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HDMI Speed and Bandwidth

HDMI Cables Transmit Uncompressed Digital Data

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is a compact audio/video interface for transmitting uncompressed digital data. Older connections were analog, meaning it was as simple as recording a human voice and turning it into an electric pulse. Digital on the other hand breaks down that pulse into a binary format of 1’s and 0’s which are reconstructed at their final destination. Digital means you get distortion free music, pictures, video and a host of services in one cable. For now Analog signals do offer richer quality, but not clarity of the data they transfer.

HDMI cables are constantly evolving to fit the needs of newer technology. Because the signal is digital, one of the most important factors is the bandwidth or speed of the cable. What is bandwidth? Imagine it like a freeway, the higher the bandwidth, the more lanes there are, so more cars can drive on the road. More cars mean more data reaches the end at one time, which translates into sharper pictures, billions of colors, and crisp audio.

HDMI bandwidth is measured in Gigabits Per Second (Gbps or GBit/s) with higher numbers meaning more data can stream across the cable at one time.  The data rate limit of an HDMI cable is related to its bandwidth in hertz, so you might see it expressed in MHz as well. The first version of HDMI back in 2002, version 1.0, had a bandwidth of 4.9 GBit/s (165 MHz) and supported video and audio. In 2009, version 1.4 hit the shelf with speeds of 10.2 GBit/s (340 MHz) and audio, video, Ethernet, and 3D support. That’s more than ten billion bits per second, ten times the data rate required for standard DVD playback. The bandwidth of HDMI will continue to grow as the years press on and more and more features will be added. Speeds up to 15.8 GBit/s are being recorded with higher quality materials finding their way into these all-in-one cables. The greater bandwidth means more performance that will utilize your TVs maximum potential.

HDMI Cable Bandwidth/Speeds

  1. Standard Speed:
    • Bandwidth: 2.23 Gbps
    • HD Set Top Box, HD TV
  2. High Speed:
    • Bandwidth: 4.46 Gbps
    • Blu-Ray Disc, HD DVD Player
  3. Advanced High Speed:
    • Bandwidth: 6.68 Gbps
    • Playstation 3, Xbox 360
  4. Ultra High Speed:
    • Bandwidth: 10.2 Gbps
    • Advanced HD sources
  5. Ultimate-High Speed:
    • Bandwidth: 15.8 Gbps
    • Future Generation HD Components

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Staff writers at Sonic Electronix are experts in their field. In addition to a complete in-house training program, these experts typically have many years of hands-on experience in their specialty. Some come from car audio installer backgrounds, while others come with extensive retail experience.
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