Don't Buy That HDTV, Yet

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Here's a good cautionary tale for those looking to make the plunge into buying their first HDTV or getting a second or third set for the bedroom and study. With prices finally coming down to earth, many people have decided they've waited long enough and are snatching up the plasma or LCD thin screens of their dreams.

According to this great piece on by David Carnoy, a new HDMI standard -- specifically HDMI 1.3 -- is slated for incorporation into HDTV's starting around the second quarter of 2007. Based on this information, you just might want to hold off a little while longer before buying that snazzy new set.

What is HDMI 1.3? HDMI, which stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, is a successor to DVI, and is the highest quality A/V connection available today that can transmit both digital audio and video signals. HDMI 1.3 supposedly supports twice the bandwidth as HDMI 1.2 (10.2Gbps vs. 4.95Gbps) and supports "Deep Color" --  10-bit, 12-bit, and 16-bit color depths -- while HDMI 1.2 supports only 8-bit color. That translates into 17 million colors at 8-bit, and 1 billion at 10-bit.

Other benefits supposedly include:

  • a new mini connector (for HD camcorders and still cameras)
  • better backward compatibility
  • automatic A/V synching (so characters' lip movements accurately match the soundtrack)
  • support for new multichannel HD lossless audio formats such as Dolby TrueHD and DTS-D Master Audio
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