As much as you want to believe that HDMI is some sort of specific technological piece that just needs to be installed on a device so that it does its thing, you’d be surprised to know that it’s actually a lot more than that: as a term it refers to an entire system of rules which are designed to allow all the electronic devices in your home to communicate. That being said, you shouldn’t be asking yourself anymore as to how did your PlayStation 3, HDTV or HD-DVD work – they used HDMI technology.
What does HDMI stand for?
HDMI is short for High Definiton Multimedia Interface and it’s a type of audio/video interface that serves for transferring uncompressed video and compressed/uncompressed digital audio from an HDMI compliant source, like a display controller, to a compatible device such as a computer monitor or video projector. As such, the HDMI technology is a sort of digital replacement for the analog video standards.
What does HDMI serve for?
The 2009 version of the HDMi technology is characteristic for two important features: it offers an ARC (Audio Return Channel) and HEC (HDMI Ethernet Channel). An HDMI cable therefore, is capable of allowing you to control multiple devices with one remote controller, along with the standard function of transferring audio/video signals. A practical example of what does the HDMI cable serve for would be transferring an audio signal from your television to the cable box and the surround system. For instance, if you’re watching a movie on your TV, the surround sound receiver will receive the digital sound from the cable box through the television thanks to HDMI.
How to choose the right one?
You have two criteria to consider here: price and version. Although there are many versions of HDMI cables to consider, one shouldn’t rely strictly on that. Look for a cable that’s compatible with a variety of devices, like an HDMI High Speed cable with Ethernet. This cable can support a High Definition device with more than 1080p of resolution and other devices with Ethernet. As for the price, you’re probably aware that there are cables varying from the lowest to the highest range of price, which can be as high as $100. Now, as much as you want to convince yourself that the more expensive the cable, the better its performance will be, I have to stop you: it doesn’t make any difference. You can freely get the less expensive cable you can find online and you’ll get the same performance level.
Finally, have in mind that the HDMI signal isn’t superior to the analog signal. It’s a very inaccurate misconception that some people strongly hold on to, that the lack of conversion from analog to digital signal suggests a signal that isn’t pure enough. It’s definitely not the case, as the two processes are completely different.