What is HDMI?

HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, and as the definition describes, it is quickly becoming the standard way to connect all media devices: audio, video, games, and computers.

The rapid transition to digital technologies for audio and video left a huge gap in how to connect digital devices like DVD and CD players, camcorders, televisions, receivers, gaming devices, even car radios. Digital video and audio components were still linked with analog connectors. While S-video and Component cables were a big improvement over a video RCA jack, optimally a standard way to make digital connections was needed.

A consortium of world wide electronics manufacturers that included Panasonic, Thompson, Sony, Toshiba, and Royal Philips, created a standard way of connecting digital devices and carrying uncompressed, simultaneous streams of digital video and audio. The first components with HDMI connectors began to appear around 2005. The standard that implemented HDMI not only maintained high quality digital signals with virtually no degradation between devices, it took a great step in reducing tangled masses of cables. One cable can connect the DVD to the TV instead of three or four.

HDMI continues to evolve to improve performance. Currently, however, all versions are backward compatible, and HDMI can even connect to Digital Video Interface (DVI), an earlier generation of digital connector, with a basic adapter.