What are the HDMI-related questions consumers should ask when shopping for a new CE or PC device?

Several questions are key to evaluating HDMI on a CE component.

How many inputs/outputs do I need?

We are seeing more and more inputs and outputs on components as more and more people are connecting with HDMI. It is common to see 3 and 4 inputs on an HDTV – many with one input on the side or front for connecting to game consoles or other portable devices such as digital still cameras or camcorders. Always think about the number of sources and displays (or projectors) that could become part of your home theater system, and make sure the device you are evaluating has the number of inputs and outputs to support your needs over the near and long term.

For those who have existing systems with one or two inputs, and are finding they need more, there are HDMI switches in the market that switch from multiple inputs (sources) to one output (to your display).

Think features rather than HDMI version number.

HDMI is constantly evolving to meet the needs of the marketplace. The standard is constantly adding more and more features that manufacturers can implement if they desire. But HDMI does not require manufacturers to implement everything that HDMI can do. HDMI provides a menu of capabilities and allows the manufacturer to choose which of those features make sense for its product line.

As a result, HDMI strongly recommends that consumers look for products with the features they want, rather than the version number of the HDMI components. Version numbers reflect capabilities, but do not correspond to product features. For example, if you want the new video features called Deep Color, look for Deep Color in the feature set rather than HDMI 1.3, the version of the specification that enabled Deep Color. Why? Because the version of the specification that enables Deep Color (1.3) does not mandate that Deep Color functionality be implemented.

However, it is important to also note that all HDMI versions are backwards compatible, so it does not matter what version of HDMI is in the component, all HDMI-enabled components will work together at the highest level of shared functionality.

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