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What Is a HDMI Socket?

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  • Written By: Andy Josiah
  • Edited By: Nancy Fann-Im
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2016
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An HDMI socket is a receptacle or port into which one plugs an HDMI cable. HDMI is an acronym for high-definition multimedia interface. This is an external interface for transmitting digital audio and video data. As of May 2011, the HDMI socket has become the standard for high-definition (HD)-compatible consumer electronics. According to reports from technology market publication In-Stat, the number of consumer products with HDMI sockets increased between the years 2004 and 2008, from 5 million to 229 million.

The concept and design of the HDMI socket was established in December 2002 by seven consumer electronics companies: Hitachi, Ltd.; Panasonic Corporation; Philips Consumer Electronics International B.V.; Silicon Image, Inc.; Sony Corporation, Technicolor S.A., previously known as Thomson; and Toshiba Corporation. Also, the HDMI socket uses a technology from semiconductor manufacturer Intel Corporation called high-bandwidth digital copy protection (HDCP), which protects transported digital content from getting copied. The HDMI socket has the support of more than 850 companies across the world; they are commonly referred to as HDMI adopters. The digital input also has the support of motion picture companies such as Disney, Fox, Universal and Warner Bros.

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The HDMI socket is far from the first digital connection ever devised. For example, the digital visual interface (DVI), which is the creation of a seven-company organization called the Digital Display Working Group, preceded it with a 1999 debut. The HDMI socket, however, transmits both digital audio and video signals, as opposed to the DVI, which only transports digital video signals. Thus, HDMI joins DVI in supplanting analog video ports such as video graphics array (VGA), S-Video, and composite and component video, and surpasses DVI because it can replace analog connections that carry both video and audio signals such as radio frequency (RF) coaxial cable.

The design for the HDMI socket is a 19-pin layout, with a mouth that almost resembles the quadrilateral shape of a universal serial bus (USB) port. As of May 2011, there are five types, named after the first five letters of the English alphabet. The HDMI socket can be found on a vast array of consumer electronic products, the most popular of which are HDTVs, but which also include digital cameras and camcorders, computer monitors, DVD and Blu-Ray disc players, and video game consoles such as the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360.

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