What are the advantages of HDMI over existing analog video interfaces such as composite, S-Video and component video?

Quality: Because HDMI is a digital interface, it provides the best quality of the video since there are no lossy analog to digital conversions as are required for all analog connections (such as component or S-video). The difference is especially noticeable at higher resolutions such as 1080p. Digital video will be sharper than component, and eliminates the softness and ghosting found with component. Small, high contrast details such as text bring this difference out the most.

Ease-of-use: HDMI combines video and multi-channel audio into a single cable, eliminating the cost, complexity, and confusion of multiple cables currently used in A/V systems. This is particularly beneficial when equipment is being upgraded or added.

Intelligence: HDMI supports two-way communication between the video source (such as a DVD player) and the DTV, enabling new functionality such as automatic configuration and one-touch play. By using HDMI, devices automatically deliver the most effective format (e.g 480p vs 720p, 16:9 vs 4:3) for the display that it is connected to – eliminating the need for the consumer to scroll through all the format options to guess what looks best.

HD Content-Ready: HDMI devices supporting HDCP have the comfort of knowing they will have access to premium HD content now and in the future. HD-DVD and Blu-ray have delayed the activation of the image constraint token (a.k.a. content protection flag) with today’s HD movies to help minimize potential issues caused by the transition, but are expected to activate this in a few years, meaning future HD movies will then not be viewable at HD resolutions over unprotected interfaces such as analog component.

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