What Are HDMI Cables?

What You Need to Know About HDMI Cables

What Are HDMI Cables?

HDMI Defined

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface.  It is a technology with the capability of transmitting streams of audio and video signals between devices.

HDMI technology is used with HDTVs, Computers, Cameras, Camcorders, Tablets, Gaming Consoles, Smartphones, Projectors,  DVD Players, and Blu-ray Players. 


The introduction of HDMI in 2003 reduced the number of cables required for connections down to a single HDMI cable.

HDMI Founders include leading consumer electronics manufacturers Hitachi Maxell, Ltd; Phillips Electronics N.V.; Lattice Semiconductor Corporation; Panasonic Corporation; Sony Corporation; Technicolor S.A.; Technicolor S.A.; and Toshiba Corporation.

Major motion picture producers (Fox, Universal, Warner Bros. and Disney) and system operators (DirecTV, EchoStar/Dish Network, and CableLabs) support the HDMI Interface.

Revisions of the HDMI standard are backward-compatible.  This means an electronic device with the newest revision will still work with another device with an older version.  However, the newest features may not be available on the device with the older version.

What Are HDMI Cables?

HDMI Cables

HDMI Cables have the capacity to simultaneously convey uncompressed high-definition video signal and high-quality audio signal.  The signals do not use data compression.  This allows HDMI-compatible devices to be connected without loss of quality from conversion.

Typically, HDMI cables come in lengths less than 10 meters/30 feet.  The signals degrade with longer lengths. The use of special boosted cables, signal repeaters, Fiber-Optic cables, or TVs and Projectors with "cable equalization" receiver chips alleviate signal degradation.

They are certified by HDMI Licensing, LLC, as part of the HDMI Compliance Specification.


  • Standard/Category 1 cables can handle a 720p/1080i video signal at 75 MHz/10.2Gbps.
  • High Speed/Category 2 cables can handle higher refresh rates (340 MHz/10.2Gbps), greater color depth, and higher resolutions (up to 1600p).

What Are HDMI Cables?

HDMI Cable Types

  • Standard HDMI Cable:  Handles most home applications.  Tested to reliably transmit 1080i or 720p video - HD resolutions associated with Cable and Satellite television, digital broadcast HD, and upscaling DVD players. 
  • Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet:  Standard HDMI Cable plus an additional dedicated data channel (HDMI Ethernet Channel) for device networking. Availability depends on both linked devices being HDMI Ethernet Channel-enabled.
  • Standard Automotive HDMI Cable:  Supports up to 720p/1080i.  It does not support HDMI Ethernet Channel and is tested to higher performance standards.
  • High-Speed HDMI Cable:  Handles video resolutions of 1080p and beyond (4K, 3D, and Deep Color).  Recommended for connecting 1080p to 1080p content source, such as Blue-ray.
  • High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet:  High-Speed HDMI Cable plus the HDMI Ethernet Channel for device networking.  Availability depends on both linked devices being HDMI Ethernet Channel-enabled.
  • Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable and Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet:  special certification designations for ultra-reliable performance for 4K and advanced features such as higher frame rates, HDR, expanded color spaces (BT .2020 colorimetry, 4:4:4 chroma sampling).  Identified by the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Label.
  • The Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable:  ensures high-bandwidth dependent features are delivered, including an uncompressed 8K video with HDR.  Supports up to 480Gbps bandwidth.  Features low EMI (electromagnetic interference).  Also, it supports the HDMI Ethernet channel and is backward- compatible.

    What Are HDMI Cables?

    HDMI Extension Cables

    They extend the reach of existing HMDI Cables and resemble an HDMI Cable.  This thick cable has a Male Connector (protruding metal casing with pins inside) on one end and a Female Connector (recessed socket) on the other end.

    The Male Connector on the existing HDMI Cable plugs into the Female Socket on the extension, and the male end of the extension plugs into the device allowing the signal to travel between the source and destination.

    To assure single conductivity, the connectors on each end should be gold-plated.

    DVI (Digital Visual Interface) does not support audio.  It was designed to transmit uncompressed digital video and features support for Analog connections.  A DVI-to-HDMI Extender should only be used if you're not concerned with hearing audio or if using a separate audio extension cable.

    HDMI Benefits

    • Best video quality.
    • Ease-of-use requiring one cable.
    • Intelligence by providing the best format.
    • HD Content-Ready.

    In Conclusion

    Technological innovations brought us from worrying about tangling up multiple cables to a single HDMI cable thus enhancing the quality of the electronic devices we use and love.

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