Hitachi, Matsushita Electric (Panasonic), Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson, and Toshiba today announced the formation of a working group to define the next-generation digital interface specification for consumer electronics products. Designed to usher in the new era of digital entertainment, the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) specification combines high-definition video and multi-channel audio in one digital interface. This interface builds on the success of DVI, offering new features while maintaining full backward compatibility.
Leading global consumer electronics manufacturers are united in developing this digital interface for future products such as digital televisions, DVD players, set-top boxes and other digital A/V products. HDMI offers significant advantages over existing analog A/V interfaces. Its uncompressed, digital format transports high-definition video and multi-channel audio without processing or degrading them. By combining audio with video on one cable, HDMI offers a convenient connection alternative to the maze of existing analog A/V cables. The new format uses a small, easy-to-use connector, suitable for portable products like digital camcorders. HDMI also ensures compatibility between products. Capitalizing on the interoperability standards created in CEA (EIA/CEA-861x), HDMI assures that the best video format is always sent from source to display. In addition, HDMI will support many capabilities of the AV.link interoperability protocol, popular in Europe.
Major motion picture producers, as well as satellite and cable companies have applauded and welcomed High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) for Digital Visual Interface (DVI), an existing industry standard. The key underlying technology in DVI will be the basis for the new HDMI specification. Developed by Intel, with contributions from Silicon Image, HDCP for HDMI will be available to HDMI adopters.
Andrew G. Setos, president of engineering for the Fox Group, stated, "It is basic market dynamics that as mechanisms are introduced which will protect digital content, consumers will find their choices of content ever increasing. HDMI with HDCP is just such a mechanism, providing designers with a cost effective, protected digital solution to replace legacy component analog connections."
Jerry Pierce, senior vice president, technology at Universal Pictures, added, "We are encouraged to see these technology manufacturers endorsing a protected baseband digital interconnect specification that appeals to consumers and provides us the ability to protect our content with HDCP. HDMI/HDCP is one of the key technologies that makes D-VHS possible."
"As a strong supporter of DVI, we believe the formation of this working group is an important step toward delivering consumers a more robust selection of high-definition content and digital receiving devices," said David Baylor, executive vice president, DIRECTV, Inc. "By delivering signals in an uncompressed format, HDMI enables the support of user interfaces in electronic program guides and interactive features for high-definition television, all of which benefit the consumer."
Dave Kummer, senior vice president of engineering at EchoStar, stated, "We are pleased to see that the HDMI working group has formed to define the first uncompressed digital audiovisual interface for consumer electronics devices. EchoStar was among the first system operators to understand the many benefits of an uncompressed digital video interface for our DISH Network customers."
"Leading players in all links of the entertainment delivery value chain have agreed on the HDMI specification as the means to provide consumers with a new digital entertainment experience. This is an incredible milestone that will revolutionize home theater as we know it today," noted David Lee, president and chief executive officer of Silicon Image. "HDMI will feature our high-bandwidth Transition-Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDSTM) technology for audio and video. This technology soon will enable consumers to view uncompressed digital video with integrated audio in the comfort of their own living room. We are pleased to be at the forefront in bringing the highest quality, pure-digital experience to consumers."
HDMI will soon be openly available to the industry under reasonable and non-discriminatory terms.