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Do I need HDMI 1.3?

With the UK release of PS3, HDMI 1.3 becomes one of its most touted features by Sony. The interface is capable of much higher bandwidth than its predecessor and promises to deliver better colours and richer sound. But before we get carried away, let's take a look at its main features below.

Higher speed Bandwidth improved from 4.95 to 10.2 Gbps. Capable of delivering future higher frame rates, resolutions and richer colour range.
New Lossless Audio Formats Now supports Dolgy Digital TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio.
Wider colour space xvYCC improves on current HD colour gamuts by 1.8 times.
Deep colour To enjoy the new colours, you need to transfer the data at much higher bit rates, ie 30.36 or 48 bit.
Lip sync Allows audio-video syncronization to counter longer processing times.
New mini connector Smaller for factor for HD portable devices, camcorders and digital cameras.

Now ask yourself the following questions, bearing in mind the video chain. (source material -> player -> HDMI interface -> HDTV)

1) Do I have any movies or media that is encoded in that new xvycc colourspace?

2) Can my player and HDTV process 30, 36 or 48 bit data?

3) Can my HDTV display the xvYCC colour gamut/range?

4) Do I have any Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD decoders in my video or audio chain?

5) Is my player or HDTV, HDMI 1.3 compliant?

So you see, HDMI is really ahead of its time. At the present, no major movie studio is going to commit to encoding their films in the latest xvYCC even though the benefits are plain to see. It's very likely that video and PC games may be the first ones to use this colour gamut.

If you have bought a HDTV recently, it is probably not HDMI 1.3 compliant. Fortunately, any new device with HDMI 1.3 will work with your HDTV because of backward compatibility, but dont expect to enjoy any of the above benefits. In addition, most current HDTV models are not capable of processing more than 10 bit colour depths.

There has been a lot of talk of wide colour gamuts but again no current consumer TV supports xvYCC colour gamut. Sony and Mitsubishi have announced new displays that can do this but this is gonna be out of reach for most of us.

Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD is currently not supported by many standard high definition players. That means HDMI 1.3 may benefit users who want external decoding of these new lossless formats in receivers. This capability will become less useful when disc players start to implement these decoders as the format becomes widespread.

So, while HDMI 1.3 is a little more than just a cable, it is certainly not the whole deal. Our verdict: don't let it influence your buying decision until you sorted out the rest of your video chain. Don't worry, it might take a while for the industry to catch up.


Andrew Turner says: 03/09/2007 - 16:56

Does The sharp or Sony 1080p TVS have 1.3 hdmi thanks
David says: 03/09/2007 - 19:18

I'm pretty sure the PS3 will work great over HDMI with the Sony Bravia 40w2000u as the t.v accepts 1.3 HDMI and is 1:1 mapping with no overscan. Am i correct here?
Colin Tang says: 03/10/2007 - 08:00

@ Andrew and David
Don't quote me on this as I haven't confirmed this with the manufacturer. And current TV manuals aren't going to enlighten you on this either. My guess probably not. Otherwise they would be trumpeting it :)

The PS3 would have worked great with older HDMI versions anyway. My point is that you can't really futureproof with HDMI 1.3.

Andrew says: 03/13/2007 - 15:05

Colin i have bought sony and its hdmi ports accept 1080p 1.3
GRnis200 says: 03/25/2007 - 04:39

Re: Chris

Although the 42" is 1080i, it's not Full HD, instead it's a 1024x1080 panel. It's performance is still behing the Pana TH42PX600 and Piuo PDP427 despite the extra pixels.

The sound is also a bit weak. Good plasma, but hardly the industry standard
Spencer Coughlin says: 03/27/2007 - 05:41

I have just purchased a brand new PS3. I have a 32"Samsung LE32R74BDX. I bought a HDMI lead to connect to HDTV but all i get is sound and no picture and im sure the tv is good enough to support the PS3, what do i do.
Colin Tang says: 03/30/2007 - 06:14

@ Spencer
The most common problem is a mismatch between the resolution, i vs p and frequency of the signal being sent to the TV.

Try switching between the different resolutions in the PS3. Maybe the Samsung can't do 1080p on HDMI?

Dave says: 04/01/2007 - 19:46

I have Sony 40W2000U and PS3,Im having problems connecting to HD with HDMI cable,on-screen message on PS3 tells me the HDMI is not turned on????? Please can anyone help...
Colin Tang says: 04/13/2007 - 17:42

Sorry I still don't have the PS3. Try checking the resolution to make sure everything's ok and try switching to another HDMI slot.
Paul Murnane says: 04/15/2007 - 09:50

On the PS3 under system Settings/Display Settings you have to switch this to HDMI. I think the default setting is Scart which will not allow 1080p via a HDMI cable connected to your Sony Bravia. Made these changes on my setup and all works fine.