If you’ve got a HD ready TV and want to get the best quality pictures from your HD cable or satellite box, Xbox 360, high definition camcorder, laptop or Blu-ray player, you’ll need an HDMI cable. But just what is HDMI all about, and why is it so special? Read on for our easy-to-understand guide. We’ll de-mystify HDMI in no time.
There’s no getting around it, you need a HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) cable if you want to connect your Blu-ray player to your HD TV. That’s because Blu-ray players have built-in copy protection and without an HDMI cable, you simply won’t get the best quality pictures from Blu-ray.
The alternatives to HDMI just don’t cut it, and will leave you with less than eye-tingling results. Some Blu-ray players pack in component connections, and while they’re the highest quality analogue connections available, they convert the digital video and sound signals to analogue before sending them through the cable. At the other end, they’re re-converted into digital signals by the TV. That lowers the quality of the image you get. With HDMI, you don’t lose any of the picture quality as the information moves seamlessly between your Blu-ray player and HD TV in digital form.
REGZA Link gives you more control
Using HDMI gives you access to Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) which allows one device with HDMI to take control of others it’s connected to. We call our lovingly tweaked version of CEC, REGZA Link.
Combine a REGZA RV series TV (with built-in Freeview HD tuner) and a BDX2000 Blu-ray player and you’ll be able to use Toshiba’s REGZA Link to control both with the same remote, and even make sure they power up and power down together.
It’s about more than Blu-ray. Get the best from your games.
Laptops like the touchscreen Satellite P500 and camcorders like the Camileo X100 have HDMI connections which mean you can play games on your big screen HD TV or watch your HD recordings straight from the camcorder. Pictures look bright, and pin-sharp with absolutely no loss in quality. The first time you see it in action, it’s magical, and all down to HDMI working behind the scenes.
HDMI 1.4 means you’re ready for the future
HDMI Version 1.4 is the very latest standard for HDMI connections and allows kit like HD TVs and Blu-ray players to share a 100Mb data connection. Sure, it’s technical and geeky, but what it really means is your home cinema set-up can share more data, at higher speeds, between the TV, Blu-ray player and surround sound kit.
HDMI Version 1.4 also supports 3D pictures in full 1080p resolution (the previous version, 1.3, supported 3D playback, but maxed out at 1080i). Even if you don’t feel ready for 3D TV yet, HDMI 1.4 will be ready when you are.
Too many boxes, not enough sockets? No problem
If you’ve got a TV with just one HDMI connector but you’ve sprung for an Xbox 360 and a BDX2000 Blu-ray player, you don’t necessarily need to buy a new telly to make sure all your cables are catered for. HDMI switchers let you plug in several HDMI-enabled devices and switch between them to send their output to your TV.
Some boxes automatically switch to the right bit of kit themselves, sensing when it’s switched on, and avoiding too much juggling of remote controls in the process.