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HDMI products to get meaningful labels

HDMI Licensing releases guidelines that enforce meaningful labeling to different versions of HDMI cables.

The new labels for different versions of HDMI cables.
HDMI Licensing

If you've caught yourself scratching your head trying to figure out what type of HDMI cable to buy, you're probably not alone. With so many versions, it's hard to know which does what. However, very soon, you won't have that trouble anymore.

In an effort to make it easier for customers to identify the right products for their needs, HDMI Licensing released Thursday, on behalf of the HDMI Founders, an updated version of the HDMI Adopted Trademark and Logo Usage Guidelines. HDMI Licensing is the agent responsible for licensing the high-definition multimedia interface specification.

The most notable changes in the guidelines are significant restrictions on the use of version numbers and new marketing requirements for cables. These new requirements are designed to simplify the product selection process for consumers, enabling them to purchase an appropriate product based on features, instead of having to do research on what each version does.

According to the new guidelines, adopters will no longer be allowed to use HDMI specification version numbers in the labeling, packaging, or promotion of their HDMI-compliant products. These restrictions go into effect immediately for cable products. Noncable products, however, have until January 1, 2012, to fully comply.

The new guidelines designate all HDMI cable products into five types:

  • Standard HDMI cable
  • Standard HDMI cable with Ethernet
  • Standard automotive HDMI cable
  • High-speed HDMI cable
  • High-speed HDMI cable with Ethernet

The latest version of HDMI cables on the market is version 1.3. However, HDMI Licensing has also recently released the Compliance Test Specification forversion 1.4 to adopters. The new version 1.4 of the HDMI standard will include several new features, such as HDMI Ethernet Channel, Audio Return Channel, 3D, 4K, and Content Type.

It's unclear when the 1.4 version standard will be available to the general public, but products that support it are expected to be demonstrated at the 2010 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. Stay tuned for CNET's coverage in January.