Stands for "High-Definition Multimedia Interface." HDMI is a trademark and brand name for a digital interface used to transmit audio and video data in a single cable. It is supported by modern audio/video equipment, such as 4K televisions, HDTVs, audio receivers, DVD and Blu-ray players, cable boxes, and video game consoles.

While other types of A/V connections require separate cables for audio and video data, a single HDMI cable carries the audio and video streams together, eliminating cable clutter. For example, an analog component cable connection requires three cables for video and two for audio, totaling five cables in all. The same information can be transmitted digitally using one HDMI cable.

Because HDMI is a digital connection, HDMI cables are less prone to interference and signal noise than analog cables. Also, since most components, such as DVD players and digital cable boxes process information digitally, HDMI eliminates the digital-to-analog and analog-to-digital conversion other interfaces require. Therefore, HDMI typically produces the best quality picture and sound compared to other types of connections.

HDMI cables are often more expensive than analog cables since they cost more to manufacture. But it is important to remember that a single HDMI cable can replace multiple analog cables. The single all-purpose connection simplifies setup and makes it easy to connect and disconnect devices. It also supports digital commands, allowing devices to communicate with each other. For example, if your TV is connected via HDMI to a receiver, the TV can automatically turn the receiver on and off when the TV is turned on and off. It can also synchronize the volume between the TV and receiver. Modern HDMI receivers allow you to visually configure the receiver settings using your TV as the interface.

NOTE: HDMI is a trademark owned by HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. (HDMI LA) that serves as an indicator of source for HDMI LA’s brand of digital interfaces used to connect high-definition equipment. More information is available at HDMI.org.

Updated August 17, 2018 by Per C.

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