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HDMI - What devices, cables and versions are there?

In this post I would like to give you some information about HDMI today. More and more devices these days have a so-called HDMI connection. The abbreviation HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. Today I would like to explain all the terms and versions to you in more detail.

With just one HDMI cable, HDMI transmits not only image material but also the sound signal to the device to be received. The sound can be transmitted to up to 32 channels. However, with HDMI 2.0 you have the option of transmitting the sound to several channels. Some of you are probably familiar with videos that are played in 4k (Ultra HD). This has only been possible since HDMI version 2.0. HDMI also supports the so-called HDCP (High Definition Content Protection) copy protection, with which content from Blu-ray and other 4k material can be transmitted without any problems.

HDMI Version 2.1, which supports HDR in addition to 8K resolution, recently became official. In other words, a color format that allows a particularly wide range of colors. The end devices for HDMI 2.1 are still a long time coming, but a special HDMI 2.1 cable will certainly be necessary for the transmission of this enormous amount of data.

The HDMI connection is the common connection for connecting devices such as DVD players, Blu-ray players and televisions. Many computers also have such an output (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

The HDMI connection is the common connection for connecting devices such as DVD players, Blu-ray players and televisions. Many computers also have such an output (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

HDMI splitter and HDMI switch - the difference

Now many people face the problem that they want to drive a signal from one source to two or more output devices. A so-called HDMI splitter can be used for this. The same image then arrives at all devices. The purpose of this is that if, for example, you want to watch in two rooms at the same time, but only have a DVD player, you can still transfer the film to two monitors with just one device. This is why the HDMI splitter has one input and two outputs. With this it is also possible to output sound and image on two different devices. Many of you have probably already heard that HDMI splitters are supposed to worsen the quality of the transmission. However, this was only the case earlier - most HDMI splitters transmit at least Full HD.

But now the question arises whether an HDMI splitter and HDMI switch are not exactly the same. No, because an HDMI splitter has the task of splitting the input signal to two receivers. The HDMI switch does exactly the opposite - with it you can alternately switch between several devices that are connected to the screen without having to swap the cables.

That is why the choice depends on whether a signal is to be reproduced or several devices are to be connected to one receiver. This is also the most important reason why an HDMI splitter and HDMI switch must not be mixed up. However, there are so-called universal devices in which an HDMI splitter and switch are built into one device. These are often an ideal solution because they are cheaper on their own than buying a splitter and a switch individually.

Wireless HDMI and HDMI Grabber

If HDMI cables are not desired, wireless HDMI can be used (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

If HDMI cables are not desired, wireless HDMI can be used (Photo: Sir Apfelot).

However, you can also refer to a so-called "Wireless HDMI" To fall back on. The signals are transmitted wirelessly, just like in a WLAN network. However, it must be ensured that the signal is not disturbed or has only a limited range. If, for example, recordings are to be made, you can use an “HDMI grabber”. This draws easily with a frame rate of 60 FPS and 1080p on. It is important to ensure that this is attached to a USB 3.0 interface.

Some outdated devices do not have a normal HDMI interface. However, this can be remedied with an HDMI adapter, which enables the use of an HDMI cable. This improves the image quality and you don't need a new device.

HDMI-ARC - heard already?

Some HDMI users have also probably heard of a so-called "HDMI ARC" (Audio Return Channel). I would like to go into this briefly in this article. With the so-called HDMI ARC, for example, you can connect a game console such as a Playstation 4 or XBOX ONE directly to the television via HDMI and, if necessary, return the sound to an A / V receiver. Now the television receives additional signals, for example, an HD TV program with HD sound via an integrated receiver or via antenna cable.

But if you want to output the sound of the TV program via the external speakers, the sound of the TV program has to come to the AV receiver somehow. Until now, you had to connect an additional cable to the audio-out port of the television for this purpose. Thanks to HDMI ARC, the television is now able to send the sound of the TV program directly to the A / V receiver via the HDMI cable, so that the second cabling is no longer necessary.

The HDMI stick saves cable clutter

Many have written to me: The problem that an HDMI cable is required, which is longer, is omnipresent. Now you may come across the fact that there may not be a cable available that is long enough. The so-called HDMI extension is available for this area. The length of the cable can be adjusted accordingly.

If you want to connect several devices, an HDMI distributor is required, which carries on the picture and sound signal. However, you can save yourself the wiring if you use an HDMI stick. This is connected directly to the existing HDMI interface and is mostly used for WiFi streaming of media in the home network.

HDMI bestseller

The following terms will bring you to corresponding lists of bestsellers, which will allow you to easily select good products.

HDMI cable

HDMI adapter

  • HDMI to VGA adapter
  • Scart to HDMI adapter
  • USB HDMI adapter
  • Micro HDMI adapter
  • Micro USB to HDMI adapter
  • HDMI to cinch adapter
  • Scart HDMI adapter
  • HDMI USB adapter
  • DVI HDMI adapter