What is the deal with HDMI 1.4?

HDMI has been touted as one of the best things to happen to the digital entertainment center.  The ability to carry video and audio over a high bandwidth cable means less clutter and higher quality.  The pace at which these things develop though can be a dizzying prospect, and with the addition of the HDMI 1.4 spec… it seems we add one more bit of confusion… or clarity, depending on if you read far enough through this article to get to the 4K section!

HDMI 1.4 introduces a slurry of new features, one of which is an integrated Ethernet channel. The integrated Ethernet channel allows high speed internet sharing / networking of your home theater devices through your HDMI cable bidirectionally at 100 Mb/s.  This eliminates the need for a separate Ethernet port and cable required for enhanced devices.

Courtesy of HDMI.org
Courtesy of HDMI.org

The new specification also allows for an audio return channel which allows a television to send audio upstream to a receiver.  This means that audio sources from your television can be sent right back to the receiver eliminating the need for another cable.

If your TV is accepting the source for audio either by way of a built in TV tuner or some other means, you would typically have to send a cable back to the receiver through SPDIF or COAX, with bidirectional audio by means of the return channel, all this can be accomplished by the single HDMI cable eliminating wire clutter and cable confusion.

Courtesy of HDMI.org
Courtesy of HDMI.org

About Joe D

I have always had a passion for everything computing. In early 2000, I decided to take my passion to the web. Thus, C.O.D. was born. Through the years we have made many great friends at C.O.D. and hope to continue our journey for years to come.

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  1. Great introduction to the whole 1.4 era, I cant see how many more features could be added!

  2. Dickie Beavers

    I just found a problem with one of my 1.3 cables, so I just bought 4 1.4 cables. Something dawned on me after the purchase, though. Is there a modem/router in the works for HDMI? I can't seem to find anything on one. I mean, the internet isn't going to just magically appear on your TV or Blu-Ray player without some sort of HDMI gateway device, right?

    • Well, it allows the devices to share the network connection. With that said, I am guessing that one device still needs to have an Ethernet cable connected to it and then the connection is shared via the HDMI cable instead of running Ethernet cables to all of your devices.

  3. Dickie Beavers

    Well, I'm not a huge fan of internet ready tv either. Also, I run everything through my 7.1 receiver. the only thing that goes to my TV is video anyway. So, I really have no use for bidirectional data.

  4. Dickie Beavers

    I'm not sure I'll be jumping on this bandwagon anytime soon.

    • Depending on the devices you buy, you will be on the bandwagon or not. I really like the idea of bidirectional communication through the single HDMI port. Other than that… 3D is not attractive to me and I have an HTPC so ethernet of HDMI is not a huge benefit to ME. Others though that buy an internet ready TV will be happy to know there is one less cable in the rat's nest.

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