The Beauty and the Beast
HDMI is your connection to the most lifelike entertainment experiences the Consumer Electronics industry has ever known, supporting audio and video resolutions that were unimaginable only a few years ago. It's also the "one-cable" solution that simplifies HDTV and home theater hookup. That's the "Beauty" of HDMI™.
The "Beast" is the confusion HDMI™ has engendered in the marketplace, in part due to its rapidly evolving specification. Since the release of the HDMI 1.0 in 2002, the High Definition Multimedia Interface standard has been revised six times. To keep pace, AV equipment and cable manufacturers have also updated their products. As a result, products have been released into the market based on different versions of the HDMI specification with different performance capabilities.
Internet forums and chat rooms are abuzz with HDMI™ cable issues. Often HDMI cables work with one source and then fail with another because they are suitable for 1080i, but not 1080p. Sometimes they don't work at all.
While revisions to the HDMI specification ensure HDMI equipped components support the latest audio/video features on new sources and displays, they also can cause performance incompatibilities between components. Additionally, revisions to the HDMI specification can mean cables made just a few years ago are no longer up to date with current HD standards. HDMI 1.3a Category 2 cables, for example, support much higher data rates than early HDMI cables based on the original 1.0, 1.1, 1.2, and 1.2a specifications.
As a result, only HDMI 1.3a Category 2 cables take full advantage of the most advanced features on new sources and displays, such as 12-bit Deep Color, extended xvYCC color, and "lossless" compressed Dolby® TrueHD and DTS-HD? surround sound. Put another way: enthusiasts with HDMI™ cables based on the original 1.0 specs need to upgrade their HDMI™ cables to enjoy movies and games in Deep Color, compressed lossless sound, and more.