In a constantly changing industry, HDMI is the next major attempt at an all-in-one, standardized, universal connector for audio/video applications. Featuring a modern design and backed by the biggest names in the electronic industry, HDMI is set to finally unify all digital media components with a single cable, remote, and interface.
HDMI is built with a 5 Gbps bandwidth limit, over twice that of HDTV (which runs at 2.2 Gbps), and is built forwards-compatible by offering unallocated pipeline for future technologies. The connectors are sliding contact (like FireWire and USB) instead of screw-on (like DVI), and are not nearly as bulky as most current video interfaces.
HDMI 1.3 further increases the bandwith limit to 10.2 Gbps, to allow for the video and audio improvements of the upgraded standard.
The screaming bandwidth of HDMI is structured around delivering the highest-quality digital video and audio throughout your entertainment center. Capable of all international frequencies and resolutions, the HDMI cable will replace all analog signals (i.e. S-Video, Component, Composite, and Coaxial), as well as HDTV digital signals (i.e. DVI, P&D, DFP), with absolutely no compromise in quality.
Additionally, HDMI is capable of carrying up to 8 channels of digital-audio, replacing the old analog connections (RCA, 3.5mm) as well as optical formats (SPDIF, Toslink).
The HDMI Founders include leading consumer electronics manufacturers Hitachi, Matsushita Electric Industrial (Panasonic), Philips, Sony, Thomson (RCA), Toshiba, and Silicon Image. Digital Content Protection, LLC (a subsidiary of Intel) is providing High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) for HDMI. In addition, HDMI has the support of major motion picture producers Fox and Universal, and system operators DirecTV, EchoStar (Dish Network) as well as CableLabs.
HDMI and HDCP are two distinctly separate standards, owned by separate governing entities. The HDMI Working Group is comprised of seven founding companies: Hitachi, Matsushita (best known for the Panasonic brand), Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson (known for RCA branded products) and Toshiba. These companies worked together to develop the HDMI specification, which is currently at version 1.1. The HDMI Licensing LLC administers HDMI licenses and the mandatory compliance testing associated for HDMI.