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What Is HDMI® for 3D TV?

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  • Written By: Marco Sumayao
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 03 November 2016
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A high-definition multimedia interface (HDMI®) for three-dimensional (3D) television allows a television set to project high-quality images with three-dimensional filters. This creates clear, well-detailed footage with greater depth perception than what is normally seen on conventional TV screens. HDMI® for 3D TV is able to transmit large amounts of multimedia information at high speeds, more so than older versions of the technology. This capacity to stream data at such amounts and speeds is what makes high-definition 3D projection possible, as the technology's demands are roughly double those of two-dimensional HDMI®. Although HDMI® 1.3 is powerful enough to transmit high-definition three-dimensional images, HDMI® 1.4 is widely considered to be the baseline standard of HDMI® for 3D TV.

The filters used to create the depth illusion of 3D TV require the streaming of at least two images; 3D images work by showing an object at two different angles simultaneously, with one image laid over the other. As such, the amount of data streaming from any media is doubled when adjusted for three-dimensional viewing. Earlier versions of HDMI® do not have the ability to transmit the amount of information needed to project the images reliably.

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HDMI® 1.3 is considered to be a functional HDMI® for 3D TV version, but the technology lacks the necessary format definitions needed to streamline the flow of information. As a result, images tend to have a poorer resolution when 3D filters are applied. A video playing at 1080p resolution on HDMI® 1.3, for example, will downgrade to 1080i when set to project 3D footage. This results in a greater number of jagged edges and motion artifacts on the image as compared to two-dimensional video. The significance of the difference between 1080p and 1080i is often a point of contention, however, as many viewers usually cannot perceive a marked difference between the two resolutions.

HDMI® 1.4 adjusted for the shortcomings of its predecessor by incorporating full 3D support into the technology, leading a number of video experts to consider it the first true HDMI® for 3D TV version. HDMI® 1.4's initial release supports seven different three-dimensional formats and is capable of displaying each format at a full 1080p resolution. In addition, the technology offers 4K format support, which can display resolutions at 4,000 lines by 2,000 lines — more or less quadruple the resolution of a 1080p device. HDMI® for 3D TV also requires the use of a high-speed HDMI® cable to transmit the large amounts of data without suffering a noticeable loss in image and sound quality.

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