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HDMI reigns as king of high-definition interface

Posted: 29 Jul 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:High Definition Multimedia Interface? HDMI vs DisplayPort? high-definition technology?

As high-definition (HD) technology continues to advance in the consumer electronics and display arenas, so does the penetration of the High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) technology for connecting HD devices. While the DisplayPort alternative shows some promise, can it or any technology rise up to challenge HDMI?

Consumers love HD video products like flat-panel TVs and Blu-ray DVD players. However, consumers did not love the legacy approach that electronics manufacturers have used to interconnect such devices, including hard-to-use connectors and bulky cables.

The answer was HDMI, which was immediately embraced by consumers and OEMs alike in both the PC and consumer markets because of its relative ease of use.

"HDMI as a technology is relatively young, with first-generation solutions only becoming available in 2003," said Randy Lawson, senior analyst for DTV and display electronics at iSuppli Corp. "Despite this, the technology has quickly become the interface of choice for Blu-ray players, flat-panel HDTVs, video game consoles and even PCs. Since the release of HDMI 1.0, the interface has grown to be included in over 70 percent of DTVs sold worldwide in 2007 and is consolidating its domination of DVD players and digital STBs."

Heir apparent
To challenge HDMI's dominance, an alternative technology, DisplayPort, has thrown its hat into the ring. So far, HDMI has been able to stave off any threat from DisplayPort, but that situation soon will change, iSuppli believes.

iSuppli forecasts that global shipments of DisplayPort-enabled equipment will grow to 263.3 million units by 2012, up from zero in 2007. Meanwhile, HDMI-enabled equipment will grow to 772.8 million units in 2012, rising at a CAGR of 32 percent from 193 million units in 2007.

"iSuppli believes that the DisplayPort interface standard will be the successor to the venerable VGA interface on PC monitors as well as desktop and notebook PCs," Lawson said. "However, both DisplayPort and HDMI will see healthy unit growth in the PC equipment space as more consumers jump on board the convergence bandwagon at home."

While HDMI has been adopted by desktop and mobile PC platforms and presently surpasses DisplayPort in this market, iSuppli expects that DisplayPort will take over the lead in this market after 2010, as PC OEMs move away from VGA interfaces and adopt HD solutions.

Port of call
DisplayPort has perhaps its most significant opportunity in the embedded or internal-only video interface applications market, such as LCD TVs and mobile PCs, where a high bandwidth serial interface solution designed specifically for such embedded display interfaces could find a home. This is a potentially huge opportunity for the technology, as iSuppli predicts more than 600 million mobile PCs and 550 million LCD TVs will be shipped during the period of 2008 to 2011.

While DisplayPort will see some long-term success as a replacement for DVI and VGA interfaces in the PC market, as well as a potentially embedded interface replacement, HDMI penetration is already very high. With the release of HDMI 1.3, iSuppli believes this as well as future updates and revisions will maintain HDMI's dominance in the consumer electronics space.

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