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Media Television Toys Technology

There's No Such Thing as 'Wireless HDMI' 199

An anonymous reader writes "CE Pro magazine interviewed Steve Venuti and Les Chard of HDMI Licensing, LLC to get a preview of all things HDMI at CES. The duo addressed some of the more controversial issues surrounding HDMI, including 'Wireless HDMI' (There's no such thing); Consumer Electronics Control (There will be interoperability); competitor DisplayPort (No traction in CE); and the complications of HDMI ('It is not an HDMI problem. It's a digital issue.')"
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There's No Such Thing as 'Wireless HDMI'

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  • by Sylos ( 1073710 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:23PM (#21933696)
    Yup, that's why we have analog..
    • by djlemma ( 1053860 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:50PM (#21933888)
      Too bad we won't have analog much longer..

      At least not in the US.
      http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/consumerfacts/digitaltv.html [fcc.gov]
      • by toiletsalmon ( 309546 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @03:02PM (#21934014) Journal
        Eventually the digital signal will be sent into my analog TV via the tuner-box that the government is giving me a $40 coupon for.

        Government Subsidized Media Time-shifting FTW :)
        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2008 @06:20PM (#21935698)
          Unfortunately, from the dta2009.gov website FAQ:

          Using a Coupon
          2. Can I use my coupons to purchase any TV converter box?
          No. The government will provide a list of coupon-eligible converter boxes and participating retailers here. You may also ask participating retailers whether TV converter boxes in their stores can be purchased with the $40 government coupon.
          18. Can coupons be used toward the price of an upgraded converter box (for example, a box that includes a DVR)?
          No. Coupons are only valid for eligible converter boxes. The intent of the program is to allow consumers to continue to view TV over-the-air on the same TV they used prior to the transition, not to enable upgrades in technology.
          FTL :(
      • Cable companies (Comcast) are advertising the benefit of being on cable -- since cable TV won't convert to digital anytime soon for their bottom (i.e.: standard, no extra charge) tiered services.

  • Bah humbug (Score:5, Insightful)

    by hcdejong ( 561314 ) <hobbes&xmsnet,nl> on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:24PM (#21933704)
    Blatant lies like It is not an HDMI problem. It's a digital issue make me want to avoid HDMI like the plague. I'd like to replace my 22 year-old TV and rubbish VHS VCR with a digital system, but I've been putting it off for three years now because I can't bring myself to expend the time and headaches involved in figuring out a system that works.
    • You forget the DRM issue as well. With a VCR, you could move your recorded show from one room to the next by taking out the tape. Unlike older analog and digital cables, HDMI 1.3 integrates DRM into the design.
    • Re:Bah humbug (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:55PM (#21933936) Homepage Journal
      I think it's reasonable to say that, supposedly there are plenty of devices that aren't really HDMI compliant electrically, being a bit out of spec. Or if you get a bum cable, then maybe you're going to have problems. I am disappointed that they didn't make the connector more positive, most connector designs hold the cable in a bit better, and the VGA and DVI cable had screws. But it's done pretty well for me there too.

      Personally, I don't think HDMI problems are as big of a deal as people make it out to be. Remember the "Internet Bullhorn Effect", which causes people to think problems are bigger than they really are. I have a 50ft HDMI cable between my HD player and my projector and have had zero problems. I also only paid $55 for the cable too.
      • Re:Bah humbug (Score:5, Interesting)

        by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @03:27PM (#21934222)

        If the devices aren't compliant, they shouldn't be sold as such. Testing for compliance and certifying devices as compliant would be the logical role of the licensing agency. They shouldn't let people put the HDMI name on something if it doesn't work. As such, it certainly is their fault that these devices don't interoperate properly. And if the standard is so complicated that they can't actually test for compliance, then that's their fault too.

      • by el americano ( 799629 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @04:45PM (#21934858) Homepage
        I also only paid $55 for the cable too.

        That's more than I've ever paid for a cable, but you seem to feel that you got a bargain. I guess you have drunk the Kool-Aid.

        • you must not have read the part about it being a 50 foot cable. $1.10 per foot is pretty freaking cheap for HDMI, compared to the $50+ stores like Best Buy want for a little 3 or 6 foot cable.
          • Re:Bah humbug (Score:5, Interesting)

            by AJWM ( 19027 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @06:00PM (#21935508) Homepage
            Nobody in their right mind buys cables at places like Best Buy unless they need the cable right now. Things like that are high markup items, where the stores more than make up for the couple of dollars they shave off the suggested retail of whatever electronics box is on sale this week.

            One of my favorite places to order cables, Microbarn, sells 50 foot HDMI cables for $26.99, qty one. Cheaper if you're buying a bunch. The main cost in HDMI cables is the connectors, (a 6 foot HDMI cable at Microbarn is $6, or only $4 for nickel plated connectors), partly due to licensing costs, but wire is cheap.
            • The markup on USB cables at BestBuy are ridiculous. They charge $20, but they only pay $1 for them, or something like that. Now don't get me started on monster cables...
        • by reezle ( 239894 )
          For a 50ft cable, that sound like a pretty good price to me.
          I've paid $30 for the same type of cable in the 8-10' range. (and have seen the same going for over $100 with gold plated contacts, etc)
        • That's more than I've ever paid for a cable

          Probably because you've never needed a 15m cable.

      • Re:Bah humbug (Score:5, Interesting)

        by pvera ( 250260 ) <pedro.vera@gmail.com> on Sunday January 06, 2008 @05:27PM (#21935222) Homepage Journal
        The HDMI compliance issue is very real.

        1.My first attempt at purchasing an HDTV LCD (Westinghouse) drove me nuts because even if it was advertised as HDMI, it would not pass sound. A week later it died, so I returned it.

        2. My second and third attempts (Magnavox and Memorex, both 19") worked fine with our two Xbox 360s and our HDMI upscaling DVD players.

        3. I swapped the 19" Memorex for a 32" Olevia. It worked fine with the HDMI upscaling DVD players but the Xbox 360s could not get a secure link. That TV is still with us, with the 360 connected to it with component cables, my son doesn't mind. After very little research I found dozens of documented cases of people that couldn't get the 360 to connect to that specific 32" Olevia model. Olevia TVs have a USB port for firmware updates, but to date there is no firmware update for that specific model.

        4. I swapped the 19" Magnavox with a 37" Olevia, which has dual inputs for everything. Both the 360 and the HDMI upscaling DVD players connected at the same (same HDMI cables that failed with the 32" Olevia) and everything works beautifully.

        5. I also noticed a separate issue with the upscaling DVD players that we were using (Philips, we got them for about $55 at Target right before Xmas). Whenever we switched inputs and tried to go back to that HDMI channel, it would not recognize the link and forced us to restart the DVD player. The 360 never had that issue with the five TVs we have tried to date.

        To add insult to injury, those cables are expensive if you buy them at retail. A friend just picked an upscaling DVD player with HDMI at Walmart last night for less than $40, then almost flipped when he saw that the cable would cost almost the same.
        • by cHiphead ( 17854 )
          I must say yours is absolutely a case of 'you get what you pay for' and going with the lowest end choices for LCD HDTVs was the first problem. Stop buying tvs from Walmart and Target (or Tiger Direct's cheapest crap) and chances are you will get something that was built with enough quality control involved to often avoid damaged hardware and inconsistent hdmi compliance.

          Anyone paying $40 for a fun of the mill HDMI cable is nuts. http://www.microbarn.com/details.aspx?rid=102015 [microbarn.com]

          • Anyone paying $40 for a fun of the mill HDMI cable is nuts.

            Or just ignorant. If you're not used to shopping on the internet, your only knowledge of this stuff is likely from walmart, best buy, sears, and their ilk. Small HiFi stores that I've seen tend to price about the same.

            Perhaps, after spending $1K and up on a HDTV, DVD player of some ilk, etc... Maybe a $40 cable just doesn't register anymore.
      • 50 feet? (Score:2, Flamebait)

        by Khyber ( 864651 )
        Last I checked and tested the longest a *COMPLIANT AND CERTIFIED* HDMI cable could go was 40 feet. Anything further without increasing the thickness of the wires caused massive problems, and that's across HDMI 1.2 and 1.3 spec.

        So where the fuck did you buy your 50 foot cable?

        http://www.bluejeanscable.com/articles/how-long-can-hdmi-run.htm [bluejeanscable.com]
        • Monoprice.com

          The wires are thicker, the bundle is 1cm in diameter, the wires in the cable are a larger gauge than that of shorter cable. It's not wimpy stuff.
      • Re:Bah humbug (Score:5, Informative)

        by walt-sjc ( 145127 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @07:36PM (#21936330)
        I have a 50' HDMI cable too. My components are in a cabinet in the front corner, and the TV is mounted on the back wall. Cable has to go down through the basement.

        Here's the problem. When you go long, the cable diameter increases as the wire size increases. My cable is 1/2" in diameter. It doesn't bend well, and you can't do much of a bend by the connector due to stresses. This makes it a bitch to plug in to the set.

        HDMI sucks. Pro gear doesn't use it, it uses a HD version of SDI which only uses coax cables and has a MUCH longer distance capability without repeaters. Love your HDMI all you want. I hate it with a passion.

        I want optical. Optical is future proof and doesn't have a distance issue (within reason.) It uses standard connectors which are MUCH easier to terminate than they used to be. It isn't reasonable to terminate your own HDMI cables in any case, so concerns about termination are moot. Prebuilt optical cables over a certain length are less expensive than HDMI too. Thinner, better capacity, etc.

        The HDMI folks can take their spec and shove it. Idiots.

        • Cheers to you man, looks like you've run into all the same issues I have over the last few years. That's why we standardized on SDI here at work. Optical cabling is great, we do all of our long range distro with it breaking out to SDI at both ends.

          In short, HDMI sucks, the cables die easy, they come out easy, and all the weird DRM screws with everything in the home although I don't have that problem in the HD video production world. /p.

        • by Aladrin ( 926209 )
          Future-proof? Are you kidding me? Even if optical never gets replaced by something better, someone will find a way to modify that cable and get 10x the throughput, and your 'future proof' cable will be old news again. Maybe it's a new end, or a new substance for the transmission, or a new coating... Someone will find something to make your 'future proof' cable obsolete.
          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by walt-sjc ( 145127 )
            I suggest you learn about attenuation, crosstalk, and noise. Physical wire will NEVER surpass optical. 20 year old optical can be upgraded by using different transceivers.
            In contrast, look at network cable. Twinax, cat3, cat5, cat5e, cat6, shielded and unshielded, etc. etc. Each time there is a speed / technology upgrade, they usually need to upgrade the wire spec. Why do you think cable companies and telco companies are upgrading all their systems to optical? Oh yeah - it's because they are actually downgr
      • Re:Bah humbug (Score:4, Informative)

        by GoRK ( 10018 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @10:13PM (#21937534) Homepage Journal

        Personally, I don't think HDMI problems are as big of a deal as people make it out to be.

        Consider yourself one of the lucky ones. I have had trouble with every HDMI setup I have ever touched and 100% of the problems without a single exception have been with the HDCP handshake. It hasn't seemed to matter if it's low end, high end, old, or new gear it simply doesn't work reliably 100% of the time and therein lies the real problem.

        You know, while the HDMI people were ripping off the DVI standard to make some extra money they should have done something innovative to improve upon it. The physical connector of HDMI is worse than DVI, the audio channel is very limited in the bitstreams it can transport, and the data channel is a complete and total joke. On top of this they didn't bother to make HDCP any more robust than it was with DVI, leaving everyone with a horribly broken "standard" to adhere to. To add insult to it, they keep changing the thing because they couldn't get it right to begin with.
      • by geekoid ( 135745 )
        The issue is the DRM, and how it screws up some of HDMI'a advantages, and how it will be used to lock you out of content you have purchased.
        Which means if you want to re-watch something you recorded, say 6 years ago, you may not be able to. Other then the DRM, HDMI is pretty nice.
    • Re:Bah humbug (Score:5, Informative)

      by Chrisje ( 471362 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @03:19PM (#21934150)
      Well, I just bought myself an LCD TV. 37" size. It's got two HDMI connectors on the back which are idling.

      My set-top box is an older one, so I used an expensive SCART cable to route the vid to the TV. This provides a nice enough image, although some programs appear to be a bit pixelated. This was already the case on my 29" CRT though. The image quality however, is very nice. All audio runs through my receiver, this includes the Set-top box.

      Then I connected my Wii and my DVD player to my receiver using component video, which is ample for support of 720p (or in the case of both devices, the 480p they provide). Now the image quality is still very nice, and the sound also gets routed (optical from DVD, stereo-jacks-to-Dolby-PLII for the Wii) through my trusty receiver.

      As far as the Laptop is concerned, I connect that with a standard issue VGA cable to the VGA input connector on the back. The TV gets seen by the system, and images are crisp and clear at 1366x768 resolution. Possibly, my laptop gives the best image quality using that connection. Cable costs 5 Euros at the local HW store. Sound gets (again) routed through my trusty receiver.

      You can tell me that none of this is a "true HD" setup because I "should be using HDMI with an HD DVD player at 1080p", but in the mean time I'm watching TV and playing games and movies on a nice size screen.

      What I'm trying to say with all of this is that HDMI doesn't even need to enter the picture if you want a flat screen and a DVD player. 25 Dollar component-to-component cables will do you fine on the back of a normal DVD player. I promise.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by kherr ( 602366 )
      This is one of the main reasons I'm still using component video for my HD. Okay, mostly I have an early set that has no HDMI, but I've yet to rely on HDMI for anything. I've recently added a TiVo HD and Blu-ray player to my component video world, so you can get current HD gear without diving into HDMI. And no HDCP worries. I know I run the risk of getting hurt by that, but I think I'll get years of HD enjoyment before HDCP becomes a show-stopper (pun intended). And with any luck the DRM problem will become
    • by dpbsmith ( 263124 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @06:13PM (#21935626) Homepage
      And why should there be such a thing as a "digital issue?"

      I don't remember any "modulation issues" when FM radio was introduced. You just bought the damn radio and it worked, except the sound was better than AM.

      I don't remember any "magnetic issues" when cassettes were introduced. You just bought the damn cassette player and it worked, except the sound wasn't quite as good as LPs... but the cassettes were compact and there weren't any ticks, pops, or scratches.

      And for that matter I don't remember any "digital issues" when CDs were introduced. You just bought the damn CD player and it worked, except that the sound was better then on cassettes. (And for 98% of all ears on 98% of all recordings in 98% of all real-world consumer situations, it was much better than LPs, too).

      If the customer is using HDMI and having "issues," then they're HDMI issues.
    • If there is specific gear you want, hit the web and look for specific problems. Because there are some, no doubt. (This stopped me from buying a particular Sony AVR in the recent sales... Terrible HDMI implementation and forums full of problems.)

      Otherwise... replace that 22 year old TV already! Go to AVSForum and research the models you are interested in. If there are problems... they are probably uncovered already.

      I have several random HDMI gadgets and they all work fine. Which isn't proof of anything... b
  • terrible connector (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:28PM (#21933728)
    Are they gonna fix the issue of a limp friction-fit connector at the back of enormous TVs trying to hold back the weight of a thick cable? Who thought that one up? It's hideous.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      Use the big cable tie at the back of [pretty much every] TV like that, it lessens the strain by orders of magnitude. I've never had a HDMI cable fall out, or even wiggle out, even on vertical-down oriented connectors.
    • I'm sure the reason for the smaller connector is so a) it takes up less space on the back panels of devices and b) so that it can pass through tight spaces as are common in in-wall installations and cabinets. Regular DVI connectors would be a pain.

      Still, would have been nice if it had been done over CAT6 (10Gb/s). 1080p is only about 3Gbps right? More compact, more secure connector, cheaper wire, and field-crimpable.

    • I don't see this as a problem at all; you shouldn't be putting so much strain on your connector that you need screws to hold it in. If you have a long, heavy cable hanging from the back of your TV, hold it in place with a cable clip so that there is no strain on the connector at all. I much prefer small, friction-based connectors to the old VGA and DVI style connectors.
  • what it is (Score:5, Interesting)

    by bcrowell ( 177657 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:40PM (#21933818) Homepage

    Would it be too much trouble for the submitter to explain what the acronym HDMI stands for, or at least to link [wikipedia.org] to the WP article? Even after reading the WP article, I don't really know much about it.

    Since it's a device for imposing DRM, there's presumably some mechanism for forcing the user to buy and use it. What is the mechanism? What types of equipment require it? The closest the WP article comes to discussing it seems to be this: "Both introduced in 2006, Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD offer new high-fidelity audio features that require HDMI for best results." Well, I'm still in the dark. What does "best results" mean? What are your results like if you don't use it?

    Another thing I don't understand is how they think this kind of hardware-based DRM can work. All it takes is one hardware hacker to figure out how to tap in to some unencrypted signals, e.g., by connecting onto circuit boards. Once there's a single device that can be hacked by a publicly known procedure, every DRM'd movie out there can be transcoded into a non-DRM'd format.

    One interesting sentence from the WP article: "PCs with hardware HDMI output may require software support from Operating Systems such as Windows Vista." So does this mean that you can't use the technology on a Mac, for example? I'm also curious whether any manufacturers are actually making mobos or video cards with hdmi connectors on them.

    And how does this fit in with the apparently overwhelming recent trend away from DRM in music? Is it really believable that movies will go the other way?

    • Re:what it is (Score:5, Informative)

      by Jeff DeMaagd ( 2015 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:50PM (#21933882) Homepage Journal
      And how does this fit in with the apparently overwhelming recent trend away from DRM in music? Is it really believable that movies will go the other way?

      Movies have been copy protected for a long time. VHS had Macrovision, DVD had CSS and HD formats have AACS. They've all been broken though.

      HDMI's copy protection has been broken, it's actually the weak point in the chain, HDCP strippers are available. and the encryption is much simpler than what the HD movies have.
    • its an acronym for: screwing over the consumer yet again via putting DRM in hardware. Don't forget how much microsoft will downrate the quality of things if they don't support microsoft's DRM using vista over HDMI - basically you cant watch high def with netflix (remember that recently?).

      Between HDMI, Bluray, and HD-DVD, consumers have gotten the shaft. The only use for HDMI is to go from your computer to your TV (which is about the only way to get quality out of the HDMI). If I recall correct, HDMI stands
    • Re:what it is (Score:5, Informative)

      by InvalidError ( 771317 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @02:58PM (#21933964)

      Since it's a device for imposing DRM, there's presumably some mechanism for forcing the user to buy and use it. What is the mechanism? What types of equipment require it?

      HDMI is only a link-level protocol, electrical, cable and plug/jack specification much like 100BaseTX. HDCP is the actual DRM introduced along with HDMI and it has been adopted by both DVI and DisplayPort.

      HDCP (be it over HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort) is only required for playing back DRM-infested media at full resolution on DRM-infested OSes like Vista.
      • by Tim C ( 15259 )

        HDCP (be it over HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort) is only required for playing back DRM-infested media at full resolution on DRM-infested OSes like Vista.

        Or for playing it on any HD-DVD/Blu-ray player and HD TV for a disc that stipulates that it requires it. The studios have promised not to switch on that requirement on discs they release until 2009, but that's hardly iron-clad.

        Incidentally, Vista only requires HDCP because it was that or not be able to play "DRM-infested" media at full resolution. While it woul

      • HDMI actually uses HDCP whether the media in question tells it to or not. In fact, the only technical difference between HDMI and DVI is that HDCP is mandatory on HDMI.

        That is way too many acronyms.
      • HDCP (be it over HDMI, DVI or DisplayPort) is only required for playing back DRM-infested media at full resolution on DRM-infested OSes like Vista.

        Is that really true? As far as I know, HDCP is at the very least a required part of the HDMI specification, so devices need to implement it in order to be HDMI-certified. What I don't know is whether or not they use it by default, or even whether it's possible to turn it off.

        Since all devices need to implement HDCP anyway, I wouldn't be at all surprised if the use of it is mandatory as well. Even if it isn't mandatory, it wouldn't surprise me if most/many devices simply won't work if its peer on the link

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Teun ( 17872 )
      I'm a bit confused by your question in the light of your /. ID.
      You ought to be old enough to have read previous discussions about HDMI and DRM and not too old like from the era of valve amplifiers.

      Just curious :)
    • Re:what it is (Score:5, Informative)

      by UserChrisCanter4 ( 464072 ) * on Sunday January 06, 2008 @03:04PM (#21934028)
      HDMI is DVI video + digital audio + a DRM system called HDCP (High-bandwidth digital copy protection). HDMI cables have a different pin-out than traditional DVI connectors, but there are adapters that can take one to the other. The DRM system is not required unless the media requires it (more on this below). So, for example, I have my home theater PC connected to my HDTV via a DVI->HDMI cable, and it works just fine. The digital audio on HDMI has the ability to transmit faster than the old S/PDIF system, but other than that it's pretty straight forward.

      The HDCP DRM functions by way of a system called the image constraint token. You can plug an HD-DVD or blu-ray player into a tv via analog component (RGB), but the manufacturers of those discs have the ability to activate the image constraint system on the disc if they wish. Unless the player reports that it's connected via HDMI (and thus has the ability to encrypt the signal), the output resolution on the video is reduced to 1/4th the original (960x540 vs. 1920x1080). As far as I know, no disc currently shipping implements the constraint token, and the studios stated that they planned to hold off on activating it until 2009.

      In the computer world, the OS as well as your computer hardware has to support the system if you want to playback video that requires HDCP encryption for full resolution. Many video card manufacturers are currently shipping cards with DVI that has HDCP capability, but you'll need Vista to enable it as far as I know. You'll also need a monitor or television with HDCP support. This usually means purchasing a monitor with HDMI inputs, but there are many that use DVI and support HDCP over DVI. One manufacturer I know of, ASUS, is currently shipping a mainboard based on the NForce chipset that has an HDMI output that actually combines the onboard video and audio into the single cable, but for everyone else you'll generally have to run the audio over coaxial or optical digital and the video over HDCP-eqipped DVI or an HDMI connection that isn't transmitting audio.

      The comical part, of course, is that they've spent so much time locking down the video stream when it's far more likely that people will crack all of the DRM at the disc level. HD-DVD has already been mostly compromised, and Blu-Ray discs have an extra level of DRM that hasn't yet been implemented but is theoretically supported in all Blu-ray player. Of course, I'm sure it will be just as foolproof as all the other DRM systems...

      At the end of the day, the principle complaint that people have with HDMI is that the need to handshake for encryption sometimes gets screwed up, especially when switching inputs. So, for example, most people who plug their PS3 straight into the TV do fine, but if you plug it into an audio receiver and plug the receiver into the TV, people may experience a blank screen when they switch back to the PS3 input because the system is convinced that the link has been broken. In this situation, you have to go unplug and replug the HDMI cable to re-establish the link and get your video signal back. Highly annoying, but nothing like the ridiculous "We're closing our online video store so your purchases are now worthless because they can no longer be authenticated." In my opinion, the benefits of the single cable digital audio+video outweigh the minor and occasional annoyance, although it sucks that the annoyance only exists because of the asinine requirement for DRM on the cable.

      • The HDCP DRM functions by way of a system called the image constraint token. You can plug an HD-DVD or blu-ray player into a tv via analog component (RGB), but the manufacturers of those discs have the ability to activate the image constraint system on the disc if they wish. Unless the player reports that it's connected via HDMI (and thus has the ability to encrypt the signal), the output resolution on the video is reduced to 1/4th the original (960x540 vs. 1920x1080). As far as I know, no disc currently sh

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          Yes, but if you've upgraded to HDMI then the DRM isn't an issue. You've got the secure path, the ICT won't be activated, and you'll get the full 1920x1080 signal.

          The people that get burned are folks who bought HDTVs before HDCP/HDMI had hit the market; they've got connections fully capable of feeding 1080p signals in, but they'll be screwed when the image constraint tokens starts getting activated.
      • by bhima ( 46039 )
        Ed Felten reviewed the HDCP system when it first came out. His conclusion: "A much more plausible answer is that HDCP encryption exists only as a hook on which to hang lawsuits".

        http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1004 [freedom-to-tinker.com]
        http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1005 [freedom-to-tinker.com]
        http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1006 [freedom-to-tinker.com]
        http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/?p=1007 [freedom-to-tinker.com]
      • by gatzke ( 2977 )
        The worst part of HDMI + HDCP for me is the way it is implemented.

        They don't do a per session check or even a periodic check. It appears they continually check, and I must have a loose connection between TIVO-Amp-TV so I get a black screen with warning message IN THE MIDDLE OF WATCHING STUFF. and it makes me angry. I touch the cords and restart the amp and it goes away. Sometimes you just power the amp and it goes away.

        This makes me want to find some solution to strip HDCP from the stream so I don't have
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by mtmra70 ( 964928 )
        Your statement about component video (RGB) into a TV is misleading; it is actually YPbPr. RGB implies that each cable has red, green and blue with each containing sync. You would be hard pressed to find a TV with actual RGB (not RGBHV) on any TV let alone a consumer TV.

        YPbPr is as follows: Y=luma, Pb=different between blue and luma, and Pr is difference between red and luma.
    • by asc99c ( 938635 )
      Just to point out, HDMI (high def multimedia interface) itself does not contain or require DRM. HDMI is pretty much the DVI standard with support for sending audio over the same cable, and a much smaller connector. The DRM scheme that goes with it is HDCP (high def copy protection). PCs have been built with HDMI for a while now. I don't believe HDMI output requires any special software support, but the HDCP bit might. I got a nVidia 7300 for my media centre which has an HDMI port (I'm not sure if it su
    • by Runefox ( 905204 )
      Since I didn't see anyone else mention it, almost any DVI-capable video card with HDCP can output DRM'd HD media to any capable display (or if the card isn't HDCP compatible, it can output SD or DRM-free). The reason for this is that HDMI is completely compatible with DVI-D (single link) cable, and is directly convertible with only a simple pin conversion part (nearly the size of a DVI to VGA adapter).

      Obviously, audio isn't transmitted over this link, and it isn't compatible with a VGA-only card.
    • There are in fact manufactures making motherboards with HDMI connectors. This is one I just bought for a basic media PC I'm in the process of putting together. You can search around Newegg and find more. They aren't all that uncommon anymore, and as you can see not too terribly expensive.

      P6NGM-FIH [newegg.com]

      There are nVidia and ATI cards with HDMI outputs or adapters as well. I have seen nVidia 8600's with them on the web, as well as 7600's, and ATI X1600's I think... you have to search a little but you can find
    • by Kalewa ( 561267 )
      I'm sorry, but I think generally submitters and editors of Slashdot assume a certain level of informedness from the readers. If you're a technie, you should either know what HDMI is, or be able to look it up yourself. I don't complain when stuff gets posted about Linux that I don't get. I look it up.
  • Very obviously! If there were no DRM in HDMI, there would be no problem!!! It just pisses me off because essentially they are saying: "If we opened it up we would have no way to lock in consumers and guarantee ourselves a profit in a non-competitive field. So we are just going to screw the consumers instead."
    • It just pisses me off because essentially they are saying: "If we opened it up we would have no way to lock in consumers and guarantee ourselves a profit in a non-competitive field. So we are just going to screw the consumers instead."

      And we all know average consumers lack the knowledge or technical resources to copy the stuff (particularly from VGA/DVI/HDMI sources) in the first place and for pirates, it is always a simple matter of "break once, copy everywhere" that only delays things by a few hours or da

      • Lost sales to piracy have been grossly exaggerated. And the RIAA and MPAA have admitted that their lawsuits have been a money sinkhole, not a source. If they spent the same effort on modern distribution of products people wanted, at a price people thought was fair, this problem would cease to exist. Instead, they have done little but try to bolster their old, outdated business models with legislation, litigation, DRM and other restrictions.
      • I should mention that the market is finally forcing them to do that (get on the drm-free, downloadable tunes bandwagon) anyway... it was inevitable. The only remarkable thing is that it took them so long to figure that out. Resistance is NOT futile... Now I wonder how long it will take them to figure out the same thing for video. The writing is right there on the wall, in big print! How long will it take them to read it?
  • In other news... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rhizome ( 115711 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @03:12PM (#21934100) Homepage Journal
    Industrialists say smog isn't a pollution problem, it's an air problem.
  • 10.2Gbps Wireless? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby ( 173196 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @03:37PM (#21934310) Homepage Journal
    HDMI bandwidth is 10.2Gbps [wikipedia.org] synchronous (ie. not packet switched). 10Gbps (theoretical max) wired ethernet therefore won't even do it, not with a single cable. Is there any wireless protocol that could deliver HDMI data without loss, even using multiple channels (if properly supported)?
    • (TFAA meaning The Freakin Article's Author).PulseLINK announced wireless HDMI with full HD content [pulse-link.com] and is showing it at CES. They also use similar technology to send 4 simultaneous HD streams (audio + video) along side Gigabit Ethernet (at each end) via conventional coax (assuming RG-6). So, without re-wiring your home, you can have Gigabit Ethernet and 4 HD feeds anywhere there's a coax drop. It also passes through normal splitters and doesn't interfere with conventional TVs hooked to coax, so you don't
      • Well, they admit that "video data is encoded using the JPEG2000 video codec". Since they don't claim it's the lossless version (and the compression ratio down from 10.2Gbps would be too high otherwise), it's got to be lossy compression. Which means it's not HDMI.

        But I guess it's better than nothing, where the rest of the system is HDMI and wireless is required, and evidently it will interop with the other HDMI links in the signal path. And later, when when someone uses H.264 to compress only 20-30x, they'll
    • by Renraku ( 518261 )
      I'm sure we could come up with something, but the energy density would be so high you'd have to tell people not to stand in the invisible beam.
    • Yes you can easily get wireless to transmit that much. Though the limitations and the cost would be totally insane mainly because you would have to use a huge chunk of in use spectrum, limit the range so you didn't drown out a huge amount of other equipment as well as other wireless HDMI systems, and depending on how many megawatts used hide your cat to avoid it being microwaved.
  • HDMI Licensing, LLC? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by jeffkjo1 ( 663413 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @04:49PM (#21934904) Homepage
    HDMI Licensing, LLC

    This is perhaps unrelated to the original purpose of the thread, but HDMI Licensing, LLC? So there's a whole company whose purpose is just to license the HDMI Connector? Well, they're not doing a good job, because it's all but impossible to find HDMI to HDMI connectors at most stores.

    More than that, has anyone heard of an RCA Cable Licensing LLC? A cursory search of the internet doesn't yield any attempts by RCA to control dissemination of the now ubiquitous cable. Perhaps HDMI doesn't need a whole company....
    • HDMI is a proprietary plug, whereas the RCA, aka phono, plug wasn't (isn't). They purposely made it a closed, proprietary format so that they could charge for licensing, etc. It's really an end game for the DRM goals that large corporations are hoping allow them to totally lock content, IMHO. Crack your player? Cool, but the TV won't display the video because your HDMI signal doesn't include the "flag", which says you paid for the content. Have a consumer modulator (e.g. you can see a camera over the fr

    • by AJWM ( 19027 )
      it's all but impossible to find HDMI to HDMI connectors at most stores.

      Try Microbarn [microbarn.com], unless you absolutely hate ordering online. I have no connection with them beyond being an occasional (and satisfied) customer. Good prices for all things cable, IMHO. (They sell other stuff too, but so far I've only bought cables from them.)
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 06, 2008 @06:32PM (#21935824)
    If the morons who designed it had any experience with actual AV equipment, they would have copied HD-SDI [wikipedia.org] instead of DVI [wikipedia.org].

    HD-SDI lets you have 100m runs over standard 75ohm cable, terminated in standard BNC connectors.

    Compared to HDMI or DVI which can't be terminated, so it can't be run through walls, and running it through a wall would probably exceed the maximum run anyway. The only way to make a long DVI run is to use expensive extenders [gefen.com] that require power on either side. And even then

    If the guys who designed HDMI had copied HD-SDI instead, there would be no home theater installation issues.

    • by kindbud ( 90044 )

      These standards are used for transmission of uncompressed, unencrypted digital video signals (optionally including embedded audio) within television facilities;

      Yeah, like that's gonna show up in consumer electronics equipment^Wtoys.

  • by DrBuzzo ( 913503 ) on Sunday January 06, 2008 @06:55PM (#21936008) Homepage
    I never understood what the hell the big deal is. Every new HDMI product seems to get way more attention than it deserves. The gadget blogs all have an orgasm every time a product comes out with HDMI and there's always so much talk like "RUMOR: New Generation of XBox360 Will have HDMI standard!" or "AMD Confirms new video cards will feature HDMI output" or "New monitors from Dell now have HDMI connector." The way it's talked about you'd think it were something amazing or a new feature that would dramatically effect the picture quality and the overall experience. They make it sound like people are standing in line at 4 AM wetting their pants to be the first to get the new "Product X Now with HDMI."

    Lets get something straight here. HDMI is the same god damned thing as DVI. (At least it's the same as DVI-D, as opposed to DVI-A, which is really just VGA using a DVI connector). They're just a different connector, but the same electrically. If you want to drive a dvi monitor with an hdmi source or vice-verse you just need a stupid adapter you can get online for under $10. The only issue is that some older DVI monitors might not support DRM and thus if the source mandates it you'll end up with downresing or no video at all. Of course, DRM is always a bastard like that so you have to expect it.

    The only thing HDMI gets you is a crappy connector and it carries audio as well as video. Whoopy-freakin-doo! You don't have to have two wires now you just need one for both audio and video! That's hardly that exciting. Really, if you want everyone to envy you for your HDMI video card, just get a freakin adapter for your DVI video card and toslink sound card and there ya go!

    Oh yeah... and there are wireless extenders for DVI and therefore HDMI, but the reason they're a problem is that the uncompressed high resolution video stream is so huge that it would max out most wireless methods. Thus they have to use ridiculously high frequency microwaves or IR or something, which means it cannot go through walls or around corners and it has limited range. Oh well.
    • The only thing HDMI gets you is a crappy connector and it carries audio as well as video. Whoopy-freakin-doo!

      Bluray and HD-DVD both offer high resolution audio soundtracks-- imagine a CD, uncompressed, in 7.1 channels. On some players, you can hook them up with 3 pairs of RCA cables. On the PS3, and lower end HD-DVD players, the necessary analogue jacks are not present-- only hdmi.

      Yes, you can use SPDIF, but it lacks the bandwidth for anything more complex than DTS/Dolby Digital.
  • HDMI is part of a whole. The idea is to cease analog outputs. No HD will be allowed without HDCP. Note any upscaling DVD players only upscale via HDMI, analog outputs are limited to 480. HDCP is not a requirement of HDMI, but having a license for HDMI means that if I make some sort of HDCP stripper, the agency that licenses HDMI can come after me for violation of their license. It is true that HDMI does NOT require HDCP, but HDMI is not an "open" format or standard, like an RCA jack. So, the industry

Marvelous! The super-user's going to boot me! What a finely tuned response to the situation!