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4K by 2K resolution, Ethernet-equipped HDMI 1.4 announced

Taking the connectivity fight to Firewire

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Ladies and Gentlemen, will you please welcome HDMI 1.4, the latest incarnation of the all-digital hi-def interconnect.

Due for publication by the end of June, the HDMI 1.4 spec's key elements are integrated networking, support for bigger screen sizes, 3D friendliness and a new, more compact connector.

The addition of networking is specifically the addition of a 10/100Mb/s Ethernet data channel through the HDMI cable. Since plenty of HDMI-equipped devices already sport Ethernet ports, the addition of networking is arguably redundant, but it should make for reduced cable clutter - you'll need a new cable with the extra, Ethernet-exclusive wires - and give HDMI a feature rival display interconnect technology DisplayPort lacks.

Speaking of rivalry, HDMI's adoption of Ethernet also takes into the zone occupied by Firewire - doubly so given HDMI 1.4's interest in automotive in-car entertainment connectivity. As Firewire has been pushed further out of the PC market by USB, it's supporters have taken to pitching 1394's suitability for automotive apps. Now HDMI's going there too.

HDMI 1.4's support for resolutions greater than 1080p will stretch to 3840 x 2160 at 24Hz, 25Hz or 30Hz, and 4096 x 2160 at 24Hz - the digital cinema spec. That's resolution enough to transmit two 1080p images, allowing the technology to support stereoscopic 3D. Handy that.

The Micro HDMI Connector is a significantly smaller 19-pin connector that supports up to 1080p resolutions for portable devices. This new connector is approximately half the size of the existing HDMI Mini Connector, introduced in 2006 when HDMI 1.3 was rolled out.

With an eye on the digital camera arena - hence the micro connector - HDMI 1.4 will support camera-friendly colour spaces sYCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601, the better to ensure the telly shows the colours encoded within pictures on a connected camera.

HDMI 1.4 will have extra wiring for two-way audio, again with the intention of reducing cable clutter. ®

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