HDMI cabling is already an area in which confusion drives people to spend more than they need to. In many ways HDMI has revolutionized the way we connect devices. By unifying video and audio into a single cable manufacturers have been able to make their products easier to setup than ever before. But HDMI was not the first widely used connection method that combined audio and video to same cable, in analogue era SCART connector was widely used in Europe for Audio+Video connections.
Until recently there hasn’t actually been much difference in HDMI cables. But things are about to get confusing with the introduction of HDMI 1.4. But those selling cables won’t be able to use HDMI 1.4 or HDMI 1.3 to delineate between different products. Instead cables that support version 1.4 of the HDMI standard will have to use one of five different labels. The new labels?
Not only do the regulations cover the actual naming of cables, they also quite specifically state what can and can’t be used to describe supported features. For example, High Speed HDMI cables support resolutions up to cinema-quality, known as 4K (4K x 2K pixels). Because HDMI is a proprietary technology that can only be used under license, these terms are going to become more and more common.
One of the primary benefits of HDMI was the reduction in cable complexity, but this new system just makes things confusing. Changing things from how they’ve been done for years will likely more than anything just confuse people. Ultimately we will all have to learn to live with this overtly complex naming scheme unless they plan to change it sometimes in the future or some other technology replaces HDMI. At HDMI translation between version numbering and marketing speak has been earlier hard or almost impossible, and now do not seem to become any easier.
Maybe the plan is to confuse customers so the only guidance they have is the price. “Well, it’s more expensive so it has to be better!” Once you get consumers thinking that, they’re easy pickings. HDMI cable sellers have used this strategy actively. Apparently is a difference between some HDMI cables but there is no point to pay very high price for a special cable.
Usually there are tree price points: The lowest is for the layman. The highest is for the amateurs (understands that the cheapest device doesn’t exactly tend to be the best quality). The middle price point is for the professional (knows what does the job).
Marrying audio and video to one cable is much like getting an all-in-one desktop. If you want to upgrade a single component, you have to many times upgrade everything. People are already being bit in the butt by what HDMI does or doesn’t support on a particular piece of gear.