We look at what we might expect from the humble HDMI cable's update to 1.5

The history of HDMI began way back in December of 2002, when HDMI 1.0 was launched as the industry standard for HD displays and devices of all shapes and sizes. It offered a maximum clock rate of 165MHz, maximum TMDS (Transition Minimized Differential Signalling) per channel throughput of 1.65Gbit/s per channel with a total maximum TMDS of 4.95GHZ, colour depth of up to 24bit/px and a top resolution of 192 x 1200 p60 - a set of specs that remained unchanged up until 2006's HDMI 1.3 hit the scene. We're not forgetting about 1.1 and 1.2, however the upgrades offered by these later offerings were minimal, not really focussing on the technical aspect of the standard, but instead adding support for new features including DVD Audio (1.1) and Super Audio CDs (1.2).

HDMI 1.3, released in June 2006, was the first major upgrade the standard had seen in its four year lifespan up to that point. It increased maximum clock rate to 340MHz, maximum TMDS throughput per channel to 3.40Gbit/s with a total maximum TMDS of 10.2Gbit/s and maximum colour depth of 48bit/px. It also boasted an increased maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 p75 in 24bit/px mode and 1920 x 1200 p60 in 38bit/px mode.

Not content with leaving it there, May 2009 saw the release of 1.4 which retained the same capabilities but for yet another resolution upgrade, this time supporting as high as 4096 x 2160 p24 in 24bit/px mode - a huge step up from the original, less than seven years after it had been released. With the release of 1.4a in March last year, two new 3D formats were added to support 3D, a reflection on the move towards the new technology within the home entertainment sector.

Since the release of 1.4a, the question on many people's lips has been what lies in wait for the HDMI cable 1.5 update? It's possible that we will see another resolution increase, although there are probably so few people with displays capable of much higher than 4096 x 1200 that it would have little impact on the current market. More likely is an increased integration of 3D support, making the experience even smoother than it already is.

When we are likely to see 1.5 remains to be seen, but given the frequency of updates so far, it's highly probably we'll see it before the end of 2012.

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