HDMI 1.3 Not as Close as You Might Think

August 18, 2006

HDMII noticed with (minor amusement) several recent announcements stating “HDMI 1.3 chips ship to manufacturers” while others reported “HDMI 1.3 in production” while true on both accounts the full story paints a slightly different picture. Unfortunately many of these articles emphasized “in production” and “shipping” but downplayed or outright omitted some rather important details from the source.

The source in question is the August 15th press release from Silicon Image announcing the first shipments of their ‘VastLane SiI 9133’ and ‘SiI 9134′ HDMI 1.3 compliant dual-input HDMI transmitters and receivers. Much of the press release focuses on the 9133’s capabilities and those of HDMI 1.3 in general but further inspection of the press release reveals some important distinctions.

Yes an allotment of HDMI 1.3 chips did ship but the ‘SiI 9134’ chips are described by Silicon Image as “currently sampling to customers with production scheduled for October” while the ‘SiI 9133’ chipset is described as “in production”. Notice that neither of these statements would seem to indicate that manufacturers have received either chipset in significant quantities.

Now it’s worth noting the differences between the two chipsets, “The VastLane SiI 9133, an advanced dual-input HDMI receiver, will enable HDTVs to display Deep Color” whereas the ‘SiI 9134’ transmitter is described as having the same capabilities as the 9133 but “with additional support for the latest high-quality audio formats, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.”

But getting back to point here, you have to remember CE devices like any other manufactured good have real-world time lines to adhere to. If manufactures have just received sample chips of the ‘SiI 9134’ with full production expected in October, it’s highly unlikely we’ll see products that include HDMI 1.3, in any significant numbers before the end of the year.

As someone responsible for procuring CE equipment directly from manufacturers for custom installation, I wouldn’t even bid a job that required a 1.3 HDMI compliant device right now. In all honestly, if asked I wouldn’t even advise the client to move forward with the bid process, if HDMI 1.3 was a mission critical requirement and the projects deadline was before the end of the year.

The start of manufacturing to availability with CE equipment generally follows a 3 to 5 (or longer) month cycle, we’re talking about the time-gap between all necessary components for the devices on hand, to the equipment being available in significant quantities at the distributors.

So while it’s great that the chips are in production and samples are being sent to manufacturers, we’re still a ways off from those manufacturers finalizing internal testing much less delivering HDMI 1.3 devices in significant quantities.

Will we see HDMI 1.3 capable devices in 2006? Yes beyond any shadow of a doubt. However I feel they’ll be so few amid the vast sea of HDMI 1.1, 1.1a and 1.2 devices, that finding a 1.3 source to go with a 1.3 receiver and or display will prove to be a very frustrating experience.



Posted by Bryan Greenway | | Filed Under Home Theater Equipment


Comments

  • Collin Black

    Aaron, I agree completely.

  • Collin Black

    Aaron, I agree completely.

  • Aaron Harmon

    To be honest this whole HDMI naming scheme has me a bit miffed. It’s not good enough to just buy an HDMI set and reciever. They all have to be 1.3 and don’t bother asking the Joe Six Pack Blue Shirt at your local electronics store, most of them do not realize that there is more than one standard. I have a decent 1080i set, but I want a 1080p set and will not even consider upgrading until I can replace it with a 1.3 device, the same goes for my Onkyo receiver.

  • Aaron Harmon

    To be honest this whole HDMI naming scheme has me a bit miffed. It’s not good enough to just buy an HDMI set and reciever. They all have to be 1.3 and don’t bother asking the Joe Six Pack Blue Shirt at your local electronics store, most of them do not realize that there is more than one standard. I have a decent 1080i set, but I want a 1080p set and will not even consider upgrading until I can replace it with a 1.3 device, the same goes for my Onkyo receiver.

  • Gabe Ghearing

    Well, the PS3 has shipped and the chipset inside is labeled 9132.

    The ps3setvideo command used to control video modes in Linux running on the PS3 has an option for enabling dither which the 9134 also supports. I’m guessing the 9132 is a 9134 that has been slightly customized for the PS3 (i.e. the HDCP keys might be masked into a ROM instead of being stored in an EEPROM).

    The PS3’s output capabilities seem to be identical to the 9134’s specs:
    HDMI 1.3, RGB, and YCbCr outputs
    Dithering for older HDMI outputs
    Dolby-True and DTS capable

    The only problem I have with the PS3’s HDMI output is that it requires a HDCP capable monitor to function at all… The monitor syncs via HDMI w/o HDCP, but just stays black.

  • Gabe Ghearing

    Well, the PS3 has shipped and the chipset inside is labeled 9132.

    The ps3setvideo command used to control video modes in Linux running on the PS3 has an option for enabling dither which the 9134 also supports. I’m guessing the 9132 is a 9134 that has been slightly customized for the PS3 (i.e. the HDCP keys might be masked into a ROM instead of being stored in an EEPROM).

    The PS3’s output capabilities seem to be identical to the 9134’s specs:
    HDMI 1.3, RGB, and YCbCr outputs
    Dithering for older HDMI outputs
    Dolby-True and DTS capable

    The only problem I have with the PS3’s HDMI output is that it requires a HDCP capable monitor to function at all… The monitor syncs via HDMI w/o HDCP, but just stays black.

  • David Woodward

    The Silcon Image release talks about the 9133 being a receiver chip and the 9134 being a transmitter chip.
    (1) Yet they talk about the 9133 being able to display the capabilities of the PS3? So this should go into the TV sets. But what about the PS3 itself. It should have a transmitter chip and that is what the 9134 is.
    (2) They talk about 9134 also allowing for the better audio content. Well, if 9134 is a transmitter, that is fine for my Blu-ray/HD-DVD player, but what chip do i need in my receiver/decoder to get the benefits of that (the 9135-not-yet-created-chip)?

    Seems not quite right. I hope that someone in the PR department of Silicon Image got things a bit messed up. Because if they didn’t then make sure your TV is 9133, your player 9134, and your receiver, I don’t know.

  • David Woodward

    The Silcon Image release talks about the 9133 being a receiver chip and the 9134 being a transmitter chip.
    (1) Yet they talk about the 9133 being able to display the capabilities of the PS3? So this should go into the TV sets. But what about the PS3 itself. It should have a transmitter chip and that is what the 9134 is.
    (2) They talk about 9134 also allowing for the better audio content. Well, if 9134 is a transmitter, that is fine for my Blu-ray/HD-DVD player, but what chip do i need in my receiver/decoder to get the benefits of that (the 9135-not-yet-created-chip)?

    Seems not quite right. I hope that someone in the PR department of Silicon Image got things a bit messed up. Because if they didn’t then make sure your TV is 9133, your player 9134, and your receiver, I don’t know.

  • B.Greenway

    It will (as far as I know) not sure how I indicated it wouldn’t. “Will we see HDMI 1.3 capable devices in 2006? Yes beyond any shadow of a doubt”

    My larger point is that certain devices and manufacturers will take much longer to ship 1.3 equipment than others, so the “HDMI 1.3 is shipping” mantra is limited and hardly telling of the full story.

    Or in other words, what does a handful of HDMI 1.3 devices really mean in the larger scope of hundreds of thousands of non HDMI 1.3 compliant devices in use today? Until we have a 1.3 chain from source to receiver and or display, the real benefits won’t be realized.

  • B.Greenway

    It will (as far as I know) not sure how I indicated it wouldn’t. “Will we see HDMI 1.3 capable devices in 2006? Yes beyond any shadow of a doubt”

    My larger point is that certain devices and manufacturers will take much longer to ship 1.3 equipment than others, so the “HDMI 1.3 is shipping” mantra is limited and hardly telling of the full story.

    Or in other words, what does a handful of HDMI 1.3 devices really mean in the larger scope of hundreds of thousands of non HDMI 1.3 compliant devices in use today? Until we have a 1.3 chain from source to receiver and or display, the real benefits won’t be realized.

  • WiFiSpy

    I thought the 599$ PS3 will include HDMI 1.3?

  • WiFiSpy

    I thought the 599$ PS3 will include HDMI 1.3?

  • Brian Hoyt

    How do you think this plays into the PS3 launch? For quite a while one of the touted features of the PS3 has been the inclusion of a HDMI 1.3 port (originally two of them). It is interesting to note, especially in light of your Blu-Ray Joe Kane article, that Sony has neglected to mention any new audio standards as being included in the PS3 Blu-Ray player. Just another question to be determined the second week of November.

  • Brian Hoyt

    How do you think this plays into the PS3 launch? For quite a while one of the touted features of the PS3 has been the inclusion of a HDMI 1.3 port (originally two of them). It is interesting to note, especially in light of your Blu-Ray Joe Kane article, that Sony has neglected to mention any new audio standards as being included in the PS3 Blu-Ray player. Just another question to be determined the second week of November.