What is HDMI Port in Computer – Work Details, Lifespan, Pros & Cons

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What is HDMI port in computer? High Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI consists of two parts namely, the port that establishes the connection and the connector cable that transmits the data.

Both the quality and bandwidth of this data is of very high quality. Ideally, a HDMI port is used to transmit audio and video output signals between two devices.

The technology behind HDMI allows the users to connect different high definition devices including:

  • TV
  • DVD player
  • Projector and
  • Blu-ray player.

These HDMI ports are located at the backside of your computer that connects to the motherboard or to the video card.

To understand everything about these HDMI ports, you should also know a few things about HDMI cables. These cables replace the traditional set of three fused AV cables.

This makes it easy to use. The cables can transmit all types of video signals including normal, improved, and high-definition signals along with eight channels of digital audio data. Check out video cards type.

What is HDMI Port in Computer?

HDMI Port in Computer

HDMI is an exclusive AV interface. The HDMI port enables transmitting digital audio data that can be either compressed or uncompressed.

As for the video signals, it only transmits uncompressed data. However, to receive HDMI signals through the port, you must use HDMI compliant devices as its source.

In short, the HDMI port allows replacing the analog video signals digitally. It implements EIA or CEA 861 canons. This is the standard for transmitting audio waveforms such as uncompressed signals of LPCM audio and video formats.

Apart from implementing VESA EDID, the CEA-861 standard also ensures that the AV signals are electrically compatible and can be used by the DVI or Digital Visual Interface. The best parts of HDMI technology are:

  • It is not required to convert the signals and
  • There is no loss of data in the data transmission process through a HDMI port to DVI interface.

According to the norms of CEC or Consumer Electronics Control, the HDMI port and devices should complement and control one another. It is also required to ensure that several devices can be operated using the same handheld remote control.

The performance entirely depends on the connector and the cable. These two components are responsible for the improvement of several factors of the audio and video signals such as:

  • The quality
  • Capacity
  • Resolution
  • Performance and
  • Color spaces.

The latest versions come with additional features such as Ethernet data connection, 3D and Consumer Electronics Control or CEC extensions.

Before moving onto the different versions of HDMI ports, take a look at the different types of connectors available and to use in these HDMI ports. There are five types of HDMI connectors that work differently and can be defined in a different way.

The Type A and Type B HDMI connectors fall under the HDMI 1.0 category, while Type C fall under HDMI 1.3 and both Type D and Type E connectors fall under the HDMI 1.4 group.

  • Type A – The male plug-in connector is of 13.9 mm × 4.45 mm and the female receptacle is of 14 mm × 4.55 mm. It has 19 pins that are electrically compatible to carry SDTV, HDTV, UHD, EDTV, and 4K bandwidth using a single DVI-D link.
  • Type B – This has 29 pins and of 21.2 mm × 4.45 mm in size. It has six differential pairs and even works with very high-resolution devices like WQUXGA. It can work with dual-link DVI-D.
  • Type C – This is a mini connector measuring 10.42 mm × 2.42 mm. It contains 19 pins but is smaller than an A-plug. It can be used in portable devices and swaps matching shields. The 13th pin instead of the 17th controls the DDC or CEC Ground, the 14th pin instead of the 13th is assigned for CEC, and 17th pin instead of the 14th is reversed.
  • Type D – This is a micro connector and looks much like a micro-USB connector. It measures 5.83 mm × 2.20 mm and has standard 19 pins of Type A and Type C connector, but with a different pin assignment.
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Finally, the Type E cable comes with an Automotive Connection System with a locking tab. This prevents the cable from becoming loose due to vibrations.

Apart from that, there is also a shield that protects it from dust and moisture. This ensure better signals with minimal interference.

Different Types of HDMI Ports

  • HDMI 1.0 – This is the first version of HDMI since its launch. This AV interface transfers uncompressed digital audio signals up to eight channels. Data is transferred at the rate of 4.9 GB per second.
  • HDMI 1.1 – This version provides additional support to the audio signals from the DVD.
  • HDMI 1.2 and 1.2a – This version provides specific support to Consumer Electronics Control and SACD one-bit audio formats up to eight channels.
  • HDMI 1.3 – This version ensures that the image has an improved, deep and xv color, increased bandwidth up to 10.2 GB every second, automatic lip syncing with the sound and image, streaming and decoding HD audio through the audio video receiver.
  • HDMI 1.4 – This support resolutions increased up to 3840 x 2160 pixels at 25 or 30 Hz or up to 4096 x 2160 pixels at 24 Hz. This also transfers audio signals send by the TV through the internal tuner and the return channel through the AV receiver. It even supports signals from 3D TV.
  • HDMI 2.0 – This is a version that supports increased bandwidth up to 18 GB per second, ultra- HD resolution at 60 fps, BT.2020 signals from UHD TVs, 32 audio channels with 1536 kHz sound resolution, and streaming dual video on the same screen. All these with an aspect ratio of 21:9.
  • HDMI 2.0a – This supports HDR or High Dynamic Range video.
  • HDMI 2.0b – This provides added support to HLG or Hybrid Log-Gamma video.
  • HDMI 2.1 – This is useful to stream signals from dynamic HDR and to provide video resolutions up to 4K/120 or 8K/120.

Lifespan of HDMI Ports

The lifespan of the HDMI ports, just like any other ports, are designed to last for a long time, even after several insertions and removal.

However, it will depend on how you use and pack it. The most common cycle of these ports are about 10,000 insertions and removal, making them twice as durable as the USB ports.

If you plug and unplug frequently and put heavy loads sideways, it may break. On the other hand, if you use specific non-latching cables for your HDMI ports, this will enhance its life expectancy.  You can also use HDMI splitters but make sure these are not those cheap ones.

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How Does it Work?

The HDMI ports and cables work according to the set standards. According to the rules, these ports carry HD signals up to 1080 pixels and supports eight channels to transfer uncompressed audio signals. This makes even a 7.1 surround-sound system sound awesome.

The HDMI systems work only when all the components attached to and with it are compatible with it. The interface does not transfer the data between devices in pure form. Instead, it follows a specific pathway that involves three steps such as:

  • Encoding
  • Transporting and
  • Decoding.

The audio and video signals sent by the source device pass through the HDMI port or cable to the AV receiver. However, before that the data is encoded.

This process is called the TMDS or Transition Minimized Differential Signaling. This minimizes the loss of data or degrading the quality of audio and video during the transmission process to retain the quality of picture and sound.

From the pins of the HDMI port, the signals pass through the twisted length of the copper cables. Audio and video signals from six pins travels through two pins and another pin is dedicated for the TMDS clock that synchronizes the signals coming into it.

This encoded signal then passes through one of the TMDS pairs of the cable. The other pair transfers its inverse copy of the same data and signals.

When the signal reaches the AV receiver, the port analyses the difference between the inverted and original signals in the TMDS pairs. If there is any loss in the signal, it is compensated subsequently.

This three-step process not only ensures better picture and audio quality but also protects the data from being pirated using High-Bandwidth Digital Protection or HDCP.

The Pros of Using HDMI Port

1. Better quality: You will get better quality sound and picture due to no loss of signals and data during the transmission.

2. Better encryption: Since your data is safely encrypted, no one can steal it and it will reach the devices that are connected with the HDMI port or are authorized to receive the particular signals.

3. Signal integrity: The signals transmitted to the receiver will be the same as it is in the source ensuring data integrity with no degradation.

4. Less complex: It is far less complex to use these ports as there is only one cable that does the transmitting job for both the audio and video signals.

5. Excellent results: Since these ports transfer uncompressed signals, the display result is excellent with proper color depth and sharpness.

6. Communication: The automatic configuration of these ports will allow two-way communication with the best audio formats and resolution.

7. Compatibility: It is compatible with any device having a DVI interface enabling all PCs to send HD signals and content.

8. Multiple AV formats: The HDMI standard supports different types of audio and video formats such as multi-channel surround sound, 1080i, 1080p, 720p, NTSC, PAL, Dolby 8-channel audio streams, and more, apart from normal stereo sound.

The Cons

9. Blank screen: There may be delays in authentication of the signals transferred through the port or cable which may result in blank or flashing screens.

10. Expensive: The HDMI cables are costlier than other available analog options.

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11. Distance support: It will support short distance where HDMI – 1 supports 35 meters and HDMI – 2 supports only 10 meters.

12. Running multiple applications: You may find it difficult to run multiple applications if these are spread across different locations

13. Separate cable: You will need a separate audio cable and DVI adapter to use it for DVI interfacing.

14. Termination: you cannot terminate the HDMI cables easily in the field just like the analog variant.

15. EDID: Extended Display Identification Data cannot be used properly for automatic identification of audio and resolutions formats, especially in a multiple location scenario.

16. CEC: The Consumer Electronic Communication format may be disrupted by the Central Control System of all the connected audio and video devices due to change in configuration themselves, which may go undetected.

FAQ:

How do I use HDMI input on my computer?

It will take a few simple steps. Insert the plug on one end of the cable into the port and the other to the AV device. Wait for the ‘New Hardware Detected’ when you turn on the computer, double-click on ‘display settings’ option, click on the ‘advanced’ tab, and save settings. You can also use Mirecast to stream using Wi-Fi, or Space Desk and In-Home Streaming feature as per your needs.

Do all laptops have HDMI ports?

No, some of the video cards and computers may come with other options such as VGA, DVI, or Display port. Most new models come with these HDMI ports but it can be used for output only. However, the high-end laptops may allow HDMI input.

What does an HDMI port look like on a computer?

The HDMI port in your computer is different in appearance from the USB port. It is slightly wider, taller, and not rectangular in shape. The ports may have a device name written under it but it does not really matter. You can connect any device having a compatible port and cable. The color of the port is mostly silver, but a few may be gold-plated. The color and material of the port, however, will not affect the performance.

Can I use the HDMI port on my computer as an input?

You can change HDMI output to input using the same HDMI port using some of the best adapters. You can also use the HDMI 1.4 version that has an additional feature called HEAC or HDMI Ethernet and Audio Return Channel or an HDMI 1.4 port that is ARC compliant and supports digitally encoded audio to return through the same channel. If you add an HDMI input port, you can even capture videos that are not copy protected.

What is the HDMI port used for?

There are several uses of an HDMI port such as to connect your computer to TV or to a decoder. You can also use it to watch hi-definition movies played on a HD-DVD or a Blu-ray disk. Other uses include capturing HD video to your laptop using your camera, playing games through a console and enjoying surround sound when you play the home theater.

Final Words

HDMI ports are very useful, providing a lot of options to transfer high quality and bandwidth AV signals, though for output purposes only. You may change it into an input port as well by using specific converters that are compatible with your laptop.