HDMI 1.3 is supposed to be a major upgrade. The features upgrade includes:-
- Increases single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbit/s)
- Optionally supports 30-bit, 36-bit, and 48-bit xvYCC with Deep Color or over one billion colors, up from 24-bit sRGB or YCbCr in previous versions.
- Incorporates automatic audio syncing (lip sync) capability.
- Supports output of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio streams for external decoding by AV receivers. TrueHD and DTS-HD are lossless audio codec formats used on HD DVDs and Blu-ray Discs. If the disc player can decode these streams into uncompressed audio, then HDMI 1.3 is not necessary, as all versions of HDMI can transport uncompressed audio.
- Availability of a new mini connector for devices such as camcorders.
So do you really need HDMI 1.3?
HDMI 1.3 is mostly marketing hype and pretty useless right now. The video features will be useless for many years.
Blu-ray and HD-DVD have only been around for over a year now and they are hardly widespread. Most people are still only watching DVD, some are still only watching VCD. It be years before either Blu-ray or HD-DVD become a mainstream format. Then maybe they’ll start introducing the next HD format that would have 1440p resolution.
As for 30-bit, 36-bit, and 48-bit xvYCC with Deep Color, these are also pretty useless. Both Blu-ray and HD-DVD specification do not include Deep color and xvYCC color space. Unless either format decide to add Deep color and xvYCC color space to their specification, no studio will produce disc that supports Deep color and xvYCC color space.
The only HDMI 1.3 feature that may be useful is the audio support for HD audio format like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Onkyo have just released a few new AV amps that have HDMI 1.3 input and also support decoding of Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio and others such as Pioneer should follow soon. But most people don’t realize that they don’t need HDMI 1.3 to enjoy Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. So long as your Blu-ray or HD-DVD player can decode Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio, it will decode these HD audio to LinearPCM and transmit the audio stream via HDMI 1.0, 1.1 or 1.2.