PS3 to Use Enhanced HDMI 1.3

The seven HDMI founder companies that developed the High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) specification (Hitachi, Matsushita, Royal Philips Electronics, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomson and Toshiba) have issued an enhancement of the spec, the de facto standard digital interface for HD-centric consumer electronics.

HDMI 1.3 will enable the next-gen of HD sets, PCs, Blu-ray and HD DVD players to display content in billions of colors, according to the companies. This week, Sony confirmed in published reports that it plans to incorporate HDMI 1.3 in its next-gen PlayStation 3 (PS3) game console next fall.

The HDMI 1.3 spec reportedly more than doubles HDMI's bandwidth and adds support for "Deep Color" technology, a broader color space, new digital audio formats, automatic audio/video lip-sync, and an optional smaller connector for use with personal photo and video devices.

The spec update arrives at a time of increasing popularity for the HDMI standard. HDMI Licensing LLC recently said more than 400 makers of CE and PC products have adopted HDMI (and are expected to eventually segue into 1.3).

The HDMI Founder firms said with the adoption of Deep Color and the xvYCC color space, HDMI 1.3 removes current interface-related restrictions on color selection. No longer will there be a "constraining pipe" that forces all content to fit within a limited set of colors.

HDMI 1.3 increases its single-link bandwidth from 165 MHz (4.95 Gbps) to 340 MHz (10.2 Gbps) to support the demands of future HD display devices. The enhanced HDMI scheme also supports 30-, 36- and 48-bit RGB or YCbCr color depths (up from 24-bit depths in previous versions).

HDMI 1.3 also can represent many times more shades of gray: At 30-bit pixel depth, four times more shades of gray would be the minimum, and the typical improvement would be eight times or greater. Products using the new HDMI spec will continue to be backward-compatible with earlier products.

The HDMI 1.3 spec can be downloaded for free online.