Do you need HDMI 1.3?

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.


9 thoughts on “Do you need HDMI 1.3?

  1. Wow, Mr. Lim!

    Very informative. This helps clarify alot of questions that one may have towards the never ending evolution of HDMI connection.

    Love the PS3 photo too!


    James Pan

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  3. How about lip sync? I am surprised more attention isn’t being given to this. I see lip sync issues in every aspect of digital television – broadcast tv (even on analog sets), HDTV, and DVD. Sometimes its only noticeable if you’re looking for it. Sometimes it is painfully obvious. I wish something would get done concerning lip sync.

  4. WOW I just accidentally found this website and read you article. You wrote it June of last year and most of what you said is obsolete. Blu-ray is now the HD format. XvYCC is now able to be shown on HD tvs. I love the Playstation shot though.

  5. Hi chuck,

    Although I wrote this article on last June, I don’t agree that most of what I wrote is obsolete.

    Although, a lot has happened in recent weeks with the HD format war and Toshiba has finally thrown in the towel and HD DVD format is more or less dead now, it does not change anything about HDMI 1.3, There is still not a a single Bluray disc today that is encoded with more than 8-bit color or in xvYCC color space.

    Just because the hardware (such as Bluray players and video displays) has Deep Color and/or xvYCC support does not mean anything if the source material is still only encoded in 8-bit color and with a color space that is similar to sRGB.

    The only real benefit of HDMI 1.3 would be on the audio side as I have siad last June. As of Feb 2008, there are still no Bluray or HD DVD on the market that can decode DTS-HD Master Audio internally. However, there are a few Bluray and HD DVD palyers on the market with HDMI 1.3 that can pass the raw DTS-HS Master Audio bitstream to a number of AV amps from the likes of Onkyo, Pioneer, Denon, Yamaha etc for decoding.

  6. the playstation 3 and PC *could* do deep color, but I guess they don’t have any software or games that take advantage of this feature yet.

  7. Hi lance,

    That’s the whole point. There is hardware support for Deep Color, but no software support (besides PC and Playstation3, there are a few standalone Bluray and HD DVD players that supports Deep Color too). So the hardware is basically useless until there is software that supports Deep Color.

  8. Wow, this is really informative.

    I might just have to further research this as well.

    I hate it when technology gets hyped even though it’s barely useable.

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