When HDMI cables first hit the market in 2002, they forever changed the way home consumers could transport digital audio and video signals between remote signals. The days of analog were officially over, and our new digital realm was firmly in place.
Since then, HDMI standards have gone through a series of upgrades and changes. Yet some things remain the same: 90% of HDMI connectors used in the HiFi world, for example, are still the 13.9mm Type A.
Yet today, HDMI cables are capable of transferring video signals anywhere from 480i to 4K resolution. While every individual manufacturer will determine the parameters for their HDMI components, the official HDMI specifications have progressed significantly with each new standard iteration.
In the beginning, there was the HDMI 1.0. This revolutionary single cable combined a two-channel audio signal with a digital video signal of standard and high-definition capabilities. Commonly, they were used to connect HDMI-equipped DVD players and television screens.
Then came the HDMI 1.1. This added additional audio features to the two-channel system, including surround signals for Dolby Digital, DTS, DVD-Audio, and up to 7.1 PCM channels.
The HDMI 1.2 arrived in 2005 and included support for one-bit audio processing and Direct-Stream Digital (DSD) for Super Audio CDs, both of which in turn helped make HDMI cables better suited for PC connections.
New technologies during this time, such as HD display, Deep Color, and higher resolutions and frame rates, demanded more bandwidth from HDMI cables. The 1.3 standards introduced speeds up to 340MHz/10.2Gbps to support these developing advancements.
HDMI 1.4 was released in 2009, the final iteration of the 1.0 generation. These standards were designed specifically with Blu-ray technology in mind, with the ability to pass two simultaneous 1080p signals on one connector.
When the HDMI 2.0 arrived in 2013, it brought with it a slew of changes and improvements. While the details of the forthcoming 2.1 are still under wraps, HDMI standards will be sure to advance and evolve for as long as technology allows.