Image credit: Grainger Industrial Supply; SFCable.com; Tripp Lite
High-definition multimedia interface (HDMI) cables are assemblies of audio and video cables that are used to transmit digital audio/video signals. They are used to connect digital devices such as set-top boxes, personal computers, and camcorders to compatible computer monitors, video projectors, and digital televisions. HDMI uses a single cable for the transmission of uncompressed digital data and implements the EIA/CEA-861 standards.
Buyers of HMDI cables source products primarily by cable type and connector type.
Types of HDMI Cables
The HDMI 1.4 specification defines several different categories of cables. These include standard and high-speed HDMI cables (with or without Ethernet), and standard automotive HDMI cables for vehicle video systems such as seatback or dashboard displays.
- Standard HDMI cables transmit 1080i or 720p video, the high definition (HD) resolutions used most commonly with digital televisions and high-end DVD players.
- High speed HDMI cables are designed for video resolutions above 1080p and support 3D, 4K, and Deep Color. Select this type of cable to connect a 1080p display to a 1080p content source.
Both types of cable are available with dedicated data channels for device networking. HDMI Ethernet functionality is available only if both the linked devices are so enabled, except with automotive systems. Standard automotive HDMI cables do not support HDMI Ethernet Channel technology because of how internal relays affect signal strength. These automotive cables must send stronger signals than in applications such as home theater systems.
Types of HDMI Connectors
HDMI cables are also designated by connector type.
- Type A connectors have 19 pins. They are used with set-top boxes, amplifiers, DVRs, DVD players, LCD monitors, plasma monitors, advanced definition televisions (ADTV), and high-definition televisions (HDT).
- Type B connectors have 29 pins and support twice as much video bandwidth as Type A connectors. They are designed for use in 165 MHz or faster dual-link for PC applications.
- Type C connectors or HDMI mini connectors are approximately the same size as micro USB connectors, and about half the size of HDMI Type C connectors.
- Type D connectors or HDMI micro connectors are designed for mobile phones, digital cameras, and other electronic devices with small HDMI ports. They have 19 pins.
- Type E connectors are designed for in-vehicle HD content distribution for automotive systems.
Cable connectors are available in multiple gender configurations. Male connectors, sometimes called plugs, consist of a protrusion which fits into the female connector, sometimes known as a receptacle.
A male (left) and female (right) connector. Image credit: Amphenol Alden Products Company
Common cable configurations include:
Male-Male: both ends of the cable terminate in a male connector.
Male-Female: the cable features a male connector on one end and a female on the other.
Female-Female: both ends of the cable terminate in a female connector.