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Home Digital Media Resources

Industry Organizations, Standards, Formats

    by Douglas Dixon

See also:

Digital Video Editing References  (FireWire / DV)
Wireless Media Resources  (Wireless interface formats)
PC Technology Resources  (PC Interfaces)

Standards Organizations


Digital Media Interface Formats

Digital Video Display Interfaces

DVI (Digital Visual Interface)


  • Universal lossless display interface with plug and play connections
  • Supports up to HDTV resolutions at fast refresh rates with dual links
  • Based on Silicon Image T.M.D.S. interface
  • Adopted by Digital Display Working Group (DDWG) -
        Lead by Intel, Compaq, Fujitsu, Hewlett Packard, IBM, NEC, Silicon Image.
  • DVI 1.0 Specification - 4/2/99 - 76 pp -

HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface)

The HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) cable interface was designed to replace the tangle of video and audio cables between TVs and player devices with single digital cable, which can carry uncompressed digital audio and video. The new HDMI 1.4 interface specification then adds support for transmitting common 3D formats and resolutions.


  • General digital interface specification for connecting consumer electronics products
  • Uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface
        plus content protection: High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP)
  • Standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable
        Quality: Digital video, no analog conversions, softness and ghosting
        Ease-of-use: Combines video and multi-channel audio into single cable
        Intelligence: Two-way communication between source and the DTV
            Enables automatic configuration of best format, one-touch play
        HD Content-Ready: Future Blu-ray HD movies will not be viewable in HD resolutions over analog
  • Supports interconnecting multiple sources and sinks (inputs and outputs)
        Uses packet protocol to transmit video, audio, and auxiliary data such as configuration and status
  • Standard cable can work at lengths up to 10 meters without repeater
  • Works with DVI: Connect with DVI devices through converter cable
        HDMI adds to DVI: Audio (up to 8-channels uncompressed), Smaller connector 
             YUV color space, CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), CEA-861B InfoFrames
  • Formats: Transmits all ATSC HDTV video standards
        supports 8-channel, 192kHz, uncompressed digital audio
        and all currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and DTS)
  • Defined by the HDMI Founders
        Hitachi, Matsushita (Panasonic), Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson, Toshiba
  • HDMI Licensing, LLC -
  • High-Definition Multimedia Interface Specification Version 1.1
        May 20, 2004, 206 pages -
  • HDMI 1.4 - 3D -
  • PR 6/09 - 1.4 -

HDMI Versions

  • HDMI 1.1: DVD Audio
  • HDMI 1.2: One Bit Audio format, SuperAudio CD's DSD (Direct Stream Digital)
        Better support for PCs, including: HDMI Type A connector, native PC RGB or YCbCr CE color space, 
        support future low-voltage (i.e., AC-coupled) sources, such as PCI Express
  • HDMI 1.2a: Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) features and command sets
        Updated HDMI Compliance Test Specification (CTS)
        Cable and connector testing and Authorized Testing Center (ATC) submission requirements

HDMI 1.3

  • Adds new lossless digital audio formats plus bandwidth for future enhancements
  • Higher speed: single-link bandwidth to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) for future HD display devices
  • Deep Color: 10-bit, 12-bit and 16-bit (RGB or YCbCr) color depths (was 8-bit), over one billion colors
  • Broader color space: Adds "x.v.Color" (consumer name for IEC 61966-2-4 xvYCC color standard)
        Display any color viewable by the human eye
  • New mini connector: For small portable devices such as HD camcorders and still cameras
  • Lip Sync: Automatic audio synching
  • New HD lossless compressed digital audio formats: Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio
        Already supports high-bandwidth uncompressed digital audio 
            all currently-available compressed formats (such as Dolby Digital and DTS)

HDMI 1.4 - Announced 5/09, Spec by 6/09

The updated HDMI 1.4 cable format supports 3D video for home movies and gaming. Even better, some 3D video formats can be piggybacked on existing devices like set-top boxes and existing cabling without requiring changing the entire infrastructure.

  • 3D Support - Includes major 3D video formats, for 3D home theater and gaming, up to 1080
    • Includes field / frame / line alternative, side-by-side half / full, L + depth / + gfx + gfx depth
  • HDMI Ethernet Channel – High-speed networking up to 100 Mb/sec. (no separate Ethernet cable)
    • Single HDMI cable supports video, audio, and data
  • Audio Return Channel – Send audio "upstream" to surround audio system (no separate audio cable)
  • 4K Support – Higher video resolutions beyond 1080p, to rival Digital Cinema
    • 4K x 2K - four times 1080p - roughly 4,000 lines wide by 2,000 lines high
    • 3840 x 2160 @ 24Hz | 25Hz | 30Hz, 4096 x 2160 @ 24Hz
  • Content Type – Real-time signaling of content types between display and source devices
    • (optimize picture settings based on content type)
  • Additional Color Spaces – Adds color models used in digital photography and computer graphics
    • Color spaces specifically for digital still cameras: sYCC601, Adobe RGB, AdobeYCC601
  • Automotive Connection System – New cables and connectors for car video systems
    • Designed for in-vehicle HD content distribution
    • Designed for rigors and environmental issues in automobiles, such as heat, vibration, noise
  • HDMI Micro Connector – Smaller connector for portable devices (up to 1080p)
    • For devices including cell phones, portable media players, digital cameras
    • Still 19-pin, 50% smaller than HDMI Mini

HDMI Cables

HDMI 1.3 included Standard and High Speed cables, 1.4 adds Ethernet versions and Automotive for a total of five HDMI cable types.

  HDMI High Speed (for 3D) - HDMI, Mini, and Micro Cables - HDMI Licensing, LLC

  • Standard HDMI Cable (category 1) - For home applications, to HD 720p / 1080i (75 Mhz) / (2.25 Gbps)
  • High Speed HDMI Cable (category 2) - For 1080p and beyond (340 Mhz) / (10.2 Gbps), e.g., 4K, 3D, and Deep Color
  • Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet - Adds dedicated data channel
  • High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet
  • Automotive HDMI Cable - For internal cabling of vehicles equipped with onboard HD video systems


Digital Media Networking Formats

Universal Plug and Play (UPnP)


  • Simple and robust connectivity between stand-alone devices and PCs from different vendors
        Consumer electronics, intelligent appliances, mobile devices
  • 848 members: Computing, printing and networking; Consumer electronics; 
        Home appliances, automation, control and security; Mobile products.

Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA)


  • Open standards and widely available industry specifications
  • Enable wired and wireless interoperable network of Personal Computers (PC), 
        Consumer Electronics (CE) and mobile devices in the home 
        enabling a seamless environment for sharing and growing new digital media and content services
  • Consumers are acquiring, viewing and managing an increasing variety of digital content 
        on their PCs, consumer electronics products and mobile devices. 
        They want to be able to easily and conveniently enjoy this content using any electronic device, 
        and from any location in their home, and beyond.
  • Established 2003 
  • More than 250 companies: consumer electronics, computer and mobile device manufacturers, 
  •     component and software developers.
  • 6/04 - First DLNA Interoperability Guidelines for DLNA Certified products
  • 3/06, 10/06 - DLNA Interoperability Guidelines, version 1.5
        Support RTP for A/V streaming, QoS over entire network, AVC (MPEG-4) video, Bluetooth
        More home and mobile devices,  printers
        Link protection for secure transmission of protected digital content


Digital Media Transmission Formats

Home Networking Technology 



Actual Rate 



100 Mbps 

96 Mbps 

<1 ms


54 Mbps 

20-25 Mbps 

20-30 ms


270 Mbps 

135 Mbps 

5 ms

HomePlug AV 

200 Mbps 

100 Mbps over coax
50-55 Mbps over powerline 

20-30 ms


240 Mbps 

80-100 Mbps 

20-30 ms


200+ Mbps 

100 Mbps 


MoCA (Multimedia over Cable Alliance)


  • Fastest: theoretical 270 Mbps, actual 135 Mbps
  • Low latency rate 5 milliseconds actual usage, vs. 20 to 30 for HomePlug AV and HPNA
  • Minimal interference from other TV signals and no interference from household appliances or devices, operation on a protected signal above the 850 MHz spectrum that ensures no interference with cable TV, digital broadcast satellite or other media
  • Verizon - 100 Mbps Actiontec router for FiOS TV customers

HomePlug Powerline Alliance - Electrical Wiring


  • High-speed powerline networking - Most pervasive wiring in the home
  • Uses frequencies in the range of 2 to 28 MHz
  • HomePlug AV - 2005 - maximum theoretical data rate of up to 200 Mbps, security 128-bit AES
  • HomePlug Turbo - 2004 - 85 Mbps 
  • HomePlug 1.0 - 2001 - 14 Mbps, security 56-bit DES
  • HomePlug Access BPL (Broadband Power Line) - to-the-home broadband access technology
  • Command and Control - 9/07 - communications layers (PHY/MAC spec)
        low-speed, very low-cost technology
  • Smart Energy - Joint HomePlug Powerline Alliance and ZigBee Alliance
        Wired and wireless communication between utility companies and everyday household devices 
        such as smart thermostats and appliances (home area network (HAN) devices
  • 5/09 - ZigBee/HomePlug Smart Energy profile selected by U.S. Department of Energy and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) as an initial interoperable standard for HAN devices and communications and information model

HD-PLC - High Definition Power Line Communication


  • Uses existing electric power lines for data transmission
  • Frequency band between 2 and 28 MHz
  • Electrical voltage is big and alternatively slow, while a data signal's voltage is small and alternatively fast
        Waves have different frequencies, no cross interference when combined
  • Theoretical maximum data transmission rate is up to 210 Mbps
  • Security: Network authentication and AES 128-bit encryption technology
  • Products:
        PLC, WiFi bridge and PoE bridge
        PLC-networked AV equipment
        USB-PLC bridge solution for extending the use of USB devices throughout the home
        PLC-based POS system for retail businesses
        LED streetlights incorporating IP security cameras and PLC
        PLC adapters and routers for sharing broadband access in the home
  • CEPCA, CE (Consumer Electronics) Power Line Communication Alliance, established May 2005
  • HD-PLC Alliance, established September 2007
  • Panasonic

Home Phoneline Networking Alliance - HomePNA - HPNA 


  • Existing copper phone lines for in-home networking 
  • Recently added ability to network over coax as well
  • International Telecommunications Union, HomePNA 3.0 (G.9954) 
  • Data rates of up to 240 Mbps, average data rate of 107 Mbps


Home A/V Networking Technology 

High Definition Audio-Video Network Alliance (HANA)


  • Incorporated October 2005
  • Members from IT, content provider, service provider , consumer electronics industry segments.
  • Mission to utilize existing standards and technologies to create a design guideline for secure High Definition AV networks that will advance commercial deployment of products and services and will enhance the consumer HD entertainment experience
  • Focus initially on IEEE 1394/FireWire

WirelessHD (WiHD)


  • Formed in 2006, 40 companies
    Intel, LG, Panasonic, NEC, SAMSUNG, SiBEAM, Sony, Toshiba 
  • Next generation wireless digital network interface specification for consumer electronics products.
  • Wireless streaming high-definition content between source devices and high-definition displays
  • Combine uncompressed high-definition video, multi-channel audio, intelligent format and control data, and Hollywood approved content protection
  • Uncompressed HD video, audio and data transmission, scalable to future high-definition A/V formats
  • High-speed wireless, multi-gigabit technology in the unlicensed 60 GHz band
  • Smart antenna technology to overcome line-of-sight constraints of 60 GHz
  • Secure communications, Device control for simple operation of consumer electronics products
  • Error protection, framing and timing control techniques for a quality consumer experience
  • Architected and optimized for wireless display connectivity,
  • First generation high-speed rates up to 4 Gbps at ten meters for CE, PC, and portable devices 
  • Core technology theoretical data rates as high as 25 Gbps
  • 1/08 - WirelessHD 1.0 Specification

Pulse~LINK - Ultra Wideband (UWB)


  • CWave Whole-Home Interactive HD solution 
  • Whole-home distribution of interactive HD multimedia content over a hybrid wired/wireless network
  • Room-to-room distribution of multiple HDTV streams and multimedia content 
        over both coax and wireless connections simultaneously from the same chipset
  • Multiple simultaneous HDTV streams with "Trick Play" (pause, fast forward and rewind capabilities) 
  • Data rates more than 400 Mbps
  • MAC/Baseband/RF chipset exceeds 1Gbps in UWB communications

DisplayLink - Networked Displays


  • Extended display to multiple monitors -- Real-time video playback across a USB link
  • High-performance Hardware Rendering Engine (HRE) network display chips and Virtual Graphics Card (VGC) software that power high-quality, fully interactive 32-bit true-color graphics 
  • Adaptive compression algorithm and graphics protocol can also transmit graphics over other standard network interfaces, including wireless USB, Ethernet or Wi-Fi