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The Guide of HDMI History and Versions (2024)

Guide of HDMI History and Versions

Table of Contents

All wireless HDMI devices come with the standard HDMI port, and if you check the TV, game console, set-top box, or PC, you will also find lots of HDMI ports. However, what’s HDMI? Why do people use it for most audio and video products? We will talk about HDMI history and HDMI versions in this article deeply. 

Definition of HDMI Standard

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is a digital audio and video interface used to transmit uncompressed and compressed audio and video signals from one source device to display, such as the projector, monitor, TV, or audio device. It is a digital alternative to analog audio/video interfaces.

HDMI implements the CEA-861standards (Extended Display Identification Data), defining video formats and waveforms (including HDCP), transport of compressed and uncompressible LPCM (linear pulse code modulation) sound, auxiliary data, and implementation of the VESA Display Data Channel (DDC).

HDMI carries electrical signals that are electrically compatible with DVI; there is no need for any kind of signal conversion, nor is there any loss of video quality when an HDMI cable is used. With CEC, HDMI devices can also communicate with each other when needed and allow the user to use one handheld remote controller for several different devices.

HDMI is a interface used to transmit uncompressed and compressed audio and video signals from one source device to display.

HDMI History

HDMI is a technology developed by the HDMI Forum, an organization of over 80 companies that set standards for video transmission. The HDMI founders include Hitachi, Panasonic, Phillips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson, and Toshiba. HDMI uses digital content protection technology called HDCP (developed by Intel).

HDMI is an emerging technology that is developing to meet the ever-advancing demands of the audio/video industry. Over the years, HDMI has evolved from its original version (HDMI Version 1.0) into an even better version (HDMI Version 2.0).

The HDMI founders started developing HDMI 1.0 on Apr 16th, 2002, with the intention of making an AV connector that would be backward compatible with DVI, DVI had been around since 1995, but it did not provide enough bandwidth to handle high-definition video.

HDMI was designed to transport uncompressed digital video and audio data over a single cable. In addition to supporting high-definition video, HDMI supports multi-channel audio and multiple simultaneous streams of compressed digital audio. (Previously, digital video standards such as DisplayPort did not include sound capabilities and needed a separate cable.)

In 2000, HDMI was standardized as part of the Consumer Electronics Association Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA). DLNA is a group of companies working together to develop interoperability guidelines for consumer electronics devices. This includes TVs, Blu-ray players, set-top boxes, game consoles, computers, mobile phones, printers, and cameras.

Over time, HDMI has evolved from its original version to several different versions, but they all use the same cable/connector. The newer versions offer better sound quality, greater video and photo capacities, faster frame rates, and additional features such as 3D, Ethernet connections, and CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) extensions.

Let’s take a look at how HDMI evolved over the last 10 years. HDMI 1.0, introduced in 2003, carried a maximum data transfer rate of 4.95 gigabits per second. This allowed for 1080p HD resolution and up to eight analog audio channels. HDMI 1.1, introduced in 2005, increased the maximum data transfer rate to 5.4Gbps, allowing for 4K Ultra HD resolution and up to 13 analog audio channels. HDMI 2.0, introduced in 2010, further improved the maximum data transfer rate up to 10.2Gbps, supporting resolutions up to 8K Ultra HD and up to 32 analog audio channels. 

Five Types of HDMI Connectors

There are five main types of connectors used by HDMI devices: type A, B, C (mini), D(Micro), and E. The standard HDMI port as well as the mini HDMI and micro HDMI ports is commonly used in products, the Type B connector has not yet been used in any products, while Type E is for automotive connection.

Type A

The HDMI type A connectors with 19 pins, which allows for carrying all SDTV, EDTV, HDTV, UHD, and 4K and 8K resolution. It is electrically compatible with Single Link DVI-D. The type A male plug is the most common form of connection for audio/video devices. It is used on many products, including TVs, DVD players, game consoles, etc.


Type B

It has 29 pin connectors; it is electrically compatible with dual-link DVI-D. With the introduction of High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) version 1.3, the transfer rate of a single link surpasses that of a dual link, since the Type B is larger than the single link standard, which makes it no use, so this connector has never been used in products.

Type C

This mini connector is smaller than the Type A connector, which is designed for use with portable products. The HDMI Type c still with 19-pin connectors, and with full function of a standard Type A connector.

Type D

The HDMI Type D shrinks the size of the connectors down to something resembling a micro USB plug. For comparison, a micro USB plug is 6.85mm x 1.8mm and a USB type A plug is 11.5mm x 4.5mm. It has the same number of pins as the standard HDMI Type A (19 pins), but its pin assignments differ from the original HDMI.

Type E

The Automotive Connection system has a locking mechanism to keep the cables from moving out of place and a protective cover to protect them from water and dust. The HDMI Type E connector is designed for automotive applications.

HDMI Versions Introduction:

Each HDMI version come with a number or letter, such as HDMI 1.0, HDMI 1.2, or 1.4b, and all HDMI device are designed to meet different HDMI versions, however, the product’s compliance with HDMI version does not mean they meet all specifications of that version, since some specifications are not optional, such as deep color and xvYCC features is optional specifications. 

HDMI Version 1.0

HDMI 1.0 came out on December 9, 2002, which is the first version of HDMI standard with the basic HDMI capabilities for single-cable digital audio/visual connector interface.

Key features included:

  • The initial version of HDMI standard.
  • Basic HDMI capabilities.
  • Single-cable digital audio and video interface for standard and high-definition video.
  • Adopted the same digital visual interface (DVI) for transmitting both video and audio signals.
  • Support 1920 × 1080 or 1920 × 1200 at 60Hz resolution.
  • Supports a maximum of 4.95 Gbit/s bandwidth.

HDMI Version 1.1

HDMI 1.1 came out on May 20, 2004, with key features included:

  • Adding audio capabilities for high-quality DVD-Audio signal format.

HDMI Version 1.2

HDMI 1.2 was released on August 8, 2005, with the purpose of expanding the HDMI standard beyond TVs into other fields like PCs.

Key features included:

  • Support for One Bit Audio, which allows audio stored on Super Audio CDs at up to 8 channels.
  • Better suited for PCs by allowing any type of video file to be played back.
  • Support several new video file types, including 720p at 100/120Hz.
  • Capability for YCbCr color for most consumer electronics products.

HDMI 1.2a was introduced on December 14, 2005, adding the CEC function, trying to ensure that all devices from different manufacturers would be able to communicate with each other.

  • CEC support (Consumer Electronic Control). CEC is a feature of the HDMI standard designed to control HDMI-compatible devices by using one remote control. For example, you can use a TV remote control to control multiple electronic devices, such as DVD players and set-top boxes.

HDMI Version 1.3

To improve the HDMI capabilities, the HDMI organization released HDMI1.3 on June 2006.

Key features included:

  • Increased the maximum speed from 300MHz (9Gbit/s) to 340MHz (10.2Gbit/s).
  • Update to 10-bit, 12-bit, or 16-bit color resolution with Deep color features.
  • Added support for xvYCC color space.
  • Supports Dolby TrueHD and 5.1 surround sound formats.
  • Released the new HDMI Type C port for portable devices.

HDMI 1.3a was introduced on November 10, 2006, it was a relatively small update as indicated by the minor number. It basically added an additional electrical upgrade to ensure that the cables operate completely reliably at the new faster speeds.

  • Modification of HDMI Type C connector cable and sink and source terminations
  • Removal of the undershoot and maximum fall/rise time limits.
  • Improvement of CEC capacitance limits and CEC commands
  • Added the ability to stream SACDs using their bitstream DST file formats instead of uncompressed raw digital audio files.

HDMI Version 1.4

HDMI 1.4 has been officially announced and proved to be one of the biggest updates in recent years. It introduced several new features.

  • Support ultra-high definition resolution, 4096 × 2160 at 24 Hz, 3840 × 2160 at 24, 25, and 30 Hz, and added support for 1920 × 1080 at 120 Hz.
  • Adds an HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC), which allows for a 100Mb/s Ethernet connection between two HDMI devices so they can connect to each other via an internet connection.
  • Introduced Audio Return Channels (ARC) for better sound quality.
  • Added support for 3-dimensional video content via HDMI.
  • Added a new micro HDMI connector.
  • Added support for additional color spaces, including sYCC601.
  • Added support for Adobe RGB and Adobe YCbCr 601.
  • And added support for automotive connections.

HDMI 1.4a was released on March 4, 2010, with a small update as below:

  • Add 3D broadcasting format.

HDMI 1.4b was released on October 11, 2011, with a minor update to the 1.4a specification, which is the last version that HDMI LA handled.

  • Provides 3D 1080p videos at 120 frames per second (fps), meaning that there would be two separate images displayed simultaneously.

Recommend Wireless transmitter and receiver with HDMI1.4

HDMI Version 2.0

HDMI 2.0 was released on September 4, 2013, with many improvements compared with previous standards.

  • Support maximum bandwidth of 18.0 Gbit/s.
  • Support 4K at 60Hz with 24-bit/px color depth
  • Support Rec.2020 color space, up to 32 audio channels, and up to 1536 kHz audio frequencies.
  • Dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen, up to four audio streams.
  • Support for the 21:9 aspect ratio, and dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams.
  • Support the HE-AAC and DRA audio standards
  • Improved 3D capability, and additional CEC function.

HDMI 2.0A was officially announced on April 8, 2015, with a minor update.

  • Adds support for HDR content with static metadata.

HDMI version 2.0b was introduced in March 2016 and provided several improvements to the existing specification.

  • Initially support the same HDR10 standard HDMI 2.0A as defined by the CTA-862.4 specification.
  • Support for Hybrid Log–Gamut (HDR) video transport was included in HDMI 2.0b, which extended the static metadata signaling to support HLG.

Recommend Wireless transmitter and receiver with HDMI2.0

HDMI Version 2.1

HDMI 2.1 was officially announced in the HDMI forum on November 27, 2017. It adds high resolution and high refresh rate capabilities, including 4k 120Hz and 8k 120Hz. HDMI 2.1 includes a new high-speed HDMI cable type called Ultra High Speed (UHS) that certifies cables at the new faster speeds required by these formats. Ultra high-speed HDMI cables are backward compatible with older HDMI devices. Older HDMI cabling is compatible with newer HDMI 2.1 devices. However, the full 48Gbps bandwidth is only available with the new HDMI 2.1 cabling.

With the following new features:

  • Maximum supported format, including 4K120Hz, 8K120hz, and up to 10K at 120 Hz.
  • Dynamic HDR on a per-image or even a per-frame basis.
  • Enhanced eARC for o audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and Dolby DTS X.
  • Variable refresh rate (VRR) improves performance by reducing or eliminating lag, stuttering, and frame tearing.
  • Quick Media Switches (QMSs) for movies and videos eliminate the delays that can occur when switching between media sources.
  • Support Quick Frame Transport (QFT), which is an advanced feature that allows you to burst frames across the HDMI cable at high speeds.
  • Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLLM): When a display supports the ability to choose between optimizing its pixels for low latency or high quality, ALLLM allows the current HDMI input to
  • Automatically switch modes based on its understanding of the type of content coming from the HDMI port.
  • DSC 1.2 is used when video files are encoded at resolutions greater than 8K with 4×4:2:0 chroma subsampling.

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