A Short Guide to HDMI Cables
Part 2: HDMI Connectors and HDMI Cable Types
In the first part of this HDMI guide, we discussed the main features and benefits of the HDMI digital interconnect, the different HDMI versions together with a comparison of the supported features and AV formats, differences between HDMI and DVI, as well as the basics of the HDMI transport mechanism that allows this AV standard to handle both video and audio among others over the same interconnect.
However there is more to HDMI! In this final part of our HDMI guide, we discuss the different cable types and HDMI connectors supported by this AV standard.
We are also including schematic drawings for the different HDMI plugs together with the respective connection pin-out details covering HDMI Type-A and Type-B connectors as well as DVI-to-HDMI cable adaptors.
Many thought that the introduction of HDMI would simplify AV connectivity. To a certain extent it did but...
The different HDMI versions that followed since the introduction of this AV standard have brought about different HDMI cable types and HDMI connectors.
The different HDMI versions have brought about different HDMI connectors. In total, there are four HDMI connectors specified by the different HDMI version standards, as further summarized below:
Type-A and Type-B HDMI connectors: These are defined in HDMI 1.0 specifications. Type-A is a compact 14mm 19-pin connector and is the most common HDMI connector present today. It is electrically compatible with DVI-D single-link connector. Type-B is a slightly bigger 21mm 29-pin connector for dual-link HDMI connectivity, allowing for double data throughput. As with Type-A, Type-B HDMI connectors are electrically equivalent to dual-link DVI-D. However, as with dual-link DVI, despite being defined in the HDMI standard, Type-B HDMI connectors are non-existent in that no dual-link HDMI consumer equipment has been released so far.
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Schematic drawings showing the relevant HDMI plug details are given below; click on the respective image to enlarge.
For the respective connection pin-outs covering HDMI Type-A and Type-B connectors as well as DVI to HDMI cable adaptors, please check out the following link: HDMI Connectors Pin-out Details
Type-C is a mini HDMI connector defined in the HDMI 1.3 specification; it is intended for portable devices and is just 10.42 mm × 2.42 mm despite using the same 19-pin configuration. However, there are some differences with respect to the pin connections in comparison to standard Type-A connectors.
All positive signals of the differential pairs are swapped with their corresponding shield, the DDC/CEC Ground is assigned to pin 13 instead of pin 17, CEC is assigned to pin 14 instead of 13, and the reserved pin is 17 instead of 14.
Electrically, Type-C Mini HDMI connectors can be connected to a Type-A connector using a Type A-to-Type C cable.
Type-D is a micro connector defined in the HDMI 1.4 specification that keeps the standard 19 pins of Types A and C but is enclosed in a 2.8mm x 6.4mm package; this makes the micro-HDMI connector smaller than the micro-USB counterpart.
There is even more... Different Cable Types
When HDMI was first released way back in 2002, many thought that this standard would not come with the many flavors of cable connectors and cable types as instead is the case with DVI. Unfortunately, things are even more complicated!
Apart from the two different types of cable category certifications defined earlier on in this HDMI discussion for 'Standard' - supporting up to 1080i/60, and 'High Speed' - supporting date rates in excess of 1080p 60Hz, including Deep Color and all 3D formats of the new 1.4 specification, HDMI ver. 1.4 introduced three additional HDMI cables:
Standard Cable with Ethernet
includes Ethernet connectivity
High Speed Cable with Ethernet
includes Ethernet connectivity
allows the connection of external HDMI-enabled devices to an
in-vehicle HDMI device.
And in the remote eventuality that Type-B cable would ever be implemented on consumer gear, then there would arise even more additional cables consumers need to worry about. Why?
Electrically, transmitting devices with a Type-A HDMI connector can be connected to receiving devices with a Type-B plug using an HDMI cable with a Type-A plug at one end and a Type-B plug at the other.
In addition, while it is not possible to connect a transmitting device with Type-B connector to a receiving device with a Type-A connector, yet the fact that HDMI devices can be connected to DVI-D equipment means that in addition to standard straight Type-A to Type-A, and Type-B to Type-B HDMI cables, you may also come across three other different variants of HDMI cables used in DVI-to-HDMI connectivity:
DVI-to-HDMI adaptor with single-link DVI-D connector on one end and HDMI Type-A connector on the other.
DVI-to-HDMI adaptor with dual-link DVI-D connector on one end and HDMI Type-B connector on the other.
HDMI-to-HDMI adaptor with a Type-A connector on one end and a Type-B connector on the other.
Note: Keep in mind that if you are connecting a DVI-enabled device that does not support HDCP, then connecting your DVI gear to an HDMI port will force the HDMI-enabled device to downgrade high definition video content to standard resolution.
HDCP stands for High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection mechanism and was originally developed by Intel.
For more information on content protection, please refer to our HDCP guide; there we discuss also its implications on the end user as well as the issue of HDCP strippers.
The Official HDMI Website
Back to... Part 1: HDMI Basics and HDMI Versions