DTV Primer

Chris Llana, Editor



HDMI 1.3 is Here!

June 22, 2006

The HDMI people announced the new HDMI 1.3 standard today.

It's wonderful!

But unfortunately we're going to have to wait until next year to see HDMI 1.3 capabilities in our favorite products. (You PlayStation 3 fans only have to wait until November.)

Here's what's new (taken from

  • Higher speed: Although all previous versions of HDMI have had more than enough bandwidth to support all current HDTV formats, HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps -- up from 4.95 Gbps) to support the demands of future HD display devices, such as higher resolutions, Deep Color and high frame rates. In addition, built into the HDMI 1.3 specification is the technical foundation that will let future versions of HDMI reach significantly higher speeds.
  • Deep Color: HDMI 1.3 supports 30-bit, 36-bit and 48-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths, up from the 24-bit depths in previous versions of the HDMI specification, for stunning rendering of over one billion colors in unprecedented detail (up from mere millions). That should get rid of color banding. Other benefits include increased contrast ratio, and smoother gradations of gray.

  • Broader color space: HDMI 1.3 adds support for "xvYCC" color standard, which removes current color space limitations and enables the display of any color viewable by the human eye.

  • New mini connector: With small portable devices such as HD camcorders and still cameras demanding seamless connectivity to HDTVs, HDMI 1.3 offers a new, smaller form factor connector option.

    HDMI mini connector

  • Lip Sync: Because consumer electronics devices are using increasingly complex digital signal processing to enhance the clarity and detail of the content, synchronization of video and audio in user devices has become a greater challenge and could potentially require complex end-user adjustments. HDMI 1.3 incorporates automatic audio synching capabilities that allows devices to perform this synchronization automatically with total accuracy.
  • New HD lossless audio formats: In addition to HDMI's current ability to support high-bandwidth uncompressed digital audio and all currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and DTS), HDMI 1.3 adds additional support for new lossless compressed digital audio formats Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.

Really cool, isn't it? So next year all we have to do is look for "HDMI 1.3" on our new gadget specs, right? Well, no. It's not going to be there, except perhaps in the A/V writers' reviews. What you need to look for are the buzz words that signal the new HDMI 1.3 features. That is, things like "Deep Color," "Dolby TrueHD," etc.

Want more info?