The latest word in connectivity for high-definition video and multichannel audio, HDMI greatly simplifies hookup of your HDTV and home theater components (including video and audio players, set-top boxes and video games) — while ensuring reliable, all-digital signal transmission for brilliant performance.
Technically speaking, HDMI (which stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface) is a global connectivity standard developed by a consortium of major electronics manufacturers including Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Sony, Thomson (RCA), Toshiba, and Silicon Image. HDMI establishes a "future-proof" foundation for the transmission of high-definition video and multichannel audio among a wide variety of audio, video and computer products. Today, more than 800 companies have adopted the HDMI standard and are building HDMI into their products.
For you, this means that there is a high-quality, single-cable, all-digital solution you can use to interconnect all the components of your home entertainment system, regardless of manufacturer. And because HDMI is a two-way platform, it also means that your individual components can "talk" to each other, exchanging critical information that allows optimizations and adjustments to be made automatically for easy, trouble-free operation of multiple components.
Simply, because it's the best and most convenient audio/video connection you can buy. For practical purposes, HDMI is also the only way you can experience 1080p "full HD" video in your home.* This means that if you want to enjoy the full video potential of sources like Blu-ray players, HD set-top boxes and upconverting DVD players, you must connect each of them with an HDMI cable.
There are a host of reasons why HDMI is superior to other connections:
What should I look for in an HDMI cable?
Each HDMI connector integrates 19 cable pairs that must be of precisely the same length (and other corresponding factors) in order to accurately transmit the digital bits that make up digital audio and video signals. These bits must arrive at their destination in a perfectly synchronized fashion in order for the components on the receiving end to properly interpret the data. Therefore, all commercially available HDMI cables are designed, manufactured and tested to extremely tight tolerances before they can be emblazoned with the official HDMI logo.
However, all HDMI cables are not created equal. Especially when dealing with cable that runs longer than about 10', quality matters. Differentiating factors include:
How do I determine the proper cable lengths to use?
As with any cable, it's generally best to use the shortest HDMI cable possible for each connection you make — both to ensure optimal signal integrity and to minimize clutter in your setup. For most component-to-component connections (behind your equipment rack), a 3'-4' HDMI cable should suffice. Connections that travel outside your rack or entertainment center will obviously require greater length. HDMI hookup cables are commonly available in various lengths of up to about 12' (or the rough metric equivalent); heavily insulated in-wall rated models may run up to 35' or more.
Of course, your situation is unique. But here are a few hypothetical setups to give you a rough idea of what a typical HDMI home theater might require:
How many HDMI cables will I need?
The answer to this, of course, will depend upon the number of HDMI-compatible components you intend to connect, the number of HDMI inputs and outputs available on the equipment you have, and the configuration you plan to achieve. However, assuming that all of your components are HDMI-equipped and that your receiver (if applicable) has enough HDMI inputs to accommodate all those components, you'll need just one HDMI cable between each component to be connected. That's because HDMI carries all the HD video and multichannel audio information in a single cable, with a single connector. And believe us, you'll see the difference when you go to set up your system.
How can I be sure my HDMI cable will be compatible with 3D?
Every HDMI cable currently offered by Best Buy is rated to handle a continuous throughput of at least 10.2Gbps. You can be confident that any HDMI cable you purchase at Best Buy will support HD signals up to 1080p resolution, including full HD 3D.