Let’s move beyond connectors, but only by an inch or two. HDMI cables
come in several types, divided into category 1 (for standard speed cables) and category 2 (for high-speed cables).
HDMI Category 1:
1. Standard (Category 1): This is the baseline HDMI cable, certified to carry resolutions up to 720p or 1080i, along with high-definition surround sound and certified capable of 742.5 Mbps/channel.
2. Standard with Ethernet (Category 1): Identical to the standard cable, this cable adds an Ethernet channel to allow device networking and shared internet connections.
3. Standard Automotive (Category 1): These meet the same signal requirements as the basic cable, and they’re designed for automotive applications.
HDMI Category 2:
1. High-Speed (Category 2): High-speed cables are ideal for use at higher resolution (1080p+) as well as emerging technologies (such as 4k and 3D video). High-speed cables are certified capable of 1.65 Gbps/channel (without equalization) and 3.4 Gbps/channel (with equalization).
2. High-Speed with Ethernet (Category 2): These function like regular high-speed cables, but also allow device networking and internet connection sharing.
Comparison to Other Technologies
So how does HDMI compare to other current technologies?
Analog versus Digital: Since HDMI is a digital technology, it doesn’t suffer from some of the problems that plague analog solutions. For instance, the build quality (and associated price) of analog audio cables can affect performance greatly, but this isn’t true for HDMI. All HDMI must meet the same standards, and they don’t suffer signal degradation the way that analog connections do.
Analog Audio: Analog home audio standard – RCA cables – offer high-quality sound (assuming they’re well-made and in good condition) but are limited to stereo – they don’t transmit the surround sound signals that are ubiquitous in modern HD audio-visual environments. On the other hand, analog connections are still king for live sound, so HDMI is typically not found in live sound applications.
DisplayPort: Perhaps the most similar connection to HDMI in terms of functionality, DisplayPort is another digital, multi-media interface. Users typically choose DisplayPort for computers, not home media devices. It lacks the CEC controls of HDMI, but it’s capable of sending multiple A/V signals to separate devices, making DisplayPort
very well-suited to computing tasks requiring multiple display setups.