ShinanoTech https://www.shinanotech.com Wired tech, products, and consulting. Wed, 18 Jul 2018 03:13:32 +0000 en-US hourly 1 (Long) Active Premium HDMI High Speed Cables and how to buy them https://www.shinanotech.com/long-active-premium-hdmi-speed-cable-certification-testing/ https://www.shinanotech.com/long-active-premium-hdmi-speed-cable-certification-testing/#respond Tue, 17 Jul 2018 23:56:32 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=2340 We’ve been away a bit to focus on working at our new cable products that we’re sure you’d love when they finally arrive. To make up for our absent, we’d like to share with you an announcement by the HDMI Org. about active (long) cable certification. For some who does not know yet, Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program now includes Active HDMI Cables. The details are all specified in the new Premium HDMI Cable Specification Version 1.1. This was announced back in May. Apparently many in the industry didn’t notice it. We’re here to provide more information on the subject. What

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We’ve been away a bit to focus on working at our new cable products that we’re sure you’d love when they finally arrive. To make up for our absent, we’d like to share with you an announcement by the HDMI Org. about active (long) cable certification.

For some who does not know yet, Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program now includes Active HDMI Cables. The details are all specified in the new Premium HDMI Cable Specification Version 1.1. This was announced back in May. Apparently many in the industry didn’t notice it. We’re here to provide more information on the subject.

What are Active Cables?

Active cable, as you know, is a kind of cable that has active electronic circuitry embedded in its connector to boost or clean incoming high speed signal. When it goes out at the other end, the signal is still recognizable by the receiver. You use active cable technology to extend the length of the cable. It is very useful in establishments that needs to connect devices that are very far from each other.

For example, a presenter in an auditorium wants to connect her PC to the projector hanging in the middle of the room. How do you she can do that? Only long cables can do the job. Can you imagine other scenarios where you need to connect two or more devices that are very from from each other.

In comparison, the ordinary HDMI cable people buy are just around one meter to two meters long. In some cases the average consumer need HDMI cables that are about three to five meters long especially if they have a very wide living room. For those scenarios, you do not need active cables, just your ordinary “passive” wire cable would suffice.

Need for further testing

Still, it doesn’t mean that all active HDMI cables are without problem. There are many that fails at 18Gbps speed. Sometimes they also provoke failures when they take too much power from the source’s +5V pin. Indeed there are a lot of posers out there that claims they have the perfect long “active cable” for you. There is no assurances though, so you are at the mercy of these suppliers and their sales agents.

HDMI Org. is trying to fix this so they added “active HDMI cables” in their Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program which includes testing as one of the requirements:

“Now active HDMI Cables are part of the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program, allowing active cables to be tested to ensure they support the full 18Gbs bandwidth and have low EMI to minimize interference with wireless signals.” ~ HDMI Org.

Other features and requirements of the certification program includes the following:

  • Administered by the agent for the HDMI specification
  • That requires every length of every model line to be tested
  • That requires each cable to be tested at an official HDMI Authorized Test Center
  • That regularly audits cables for continuing test compliance throughout the life of the product
  • That requires a proprietary anti-counterfeiting label on each product
  • That uses a proprietary 2-level commercial grade mobile scanning app available for Android and Apple and also in the top 10 China app stores

HDMI Premium Cable Label

Final Reminder

Long cables have important use cases so they will not go away, at least not in the near future. Usually these long cables use active electronic circuitry to clean signals, so they are more complicated to make. With the added complications there are more possibilities to get it wrong — and all the more reason to do the testing. This usually drives the price up for long cables, so buying the wrong cable can be doubly expensive. HDMI Org. has done its part by creating the certification program. All that’s left is for the consumers to do their part — buy only compliant products.

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HDMI 2.1’s 8K Video Resolution and what’s in it for you? https://www.shinanotech.com/hdmi-2-1-8k-60hz-capabilities-technologies/ https://www.shinanotech.com/hdmi-2-1-8k-60hz-capabilities-technologies/#respond Fri, 22 Jun 2018 03:56:07 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=513 So as promised last week we are going to discussed about HDMI 2.1’s 8K capability, what sort of video signal is it and which customer is it targeted at? First, let’s speculate what kind of devices would support 8K video signal and who is the target consumer. Well, as with eARC discussion last week, the 8K feature of HDMI 2.1 is targeted to very high end users. The ones who own very spacious living room and has substantial funds to buy such high end gadgets. 8K also targets facility owners (both public and private) as end users of the technology.

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So as promised last week we are going to discussed about HDMI 2.1’s 8K capability, what sort of video signal is it and which customer is it targeted at?

First, let’s speculate what kind of devices would support 8K video signal and who is the target consumer. Well, as with eARC discussion last week, the 8K feature of HDMI 2.1 is targeted to very high end users. The ones who own very spacious living room and has substantial funds to buy such high end gadgets. 8K also targets facility owners (both public and private) as end users of the technology.

For example, a supermarket owner may want to setup a wide monitor inside the store to inform shoppers about product discounts in real time. Public facilities like train stations may set up 8K display to make transit lines and directions more visible to passengers. In all these scenarios can take advantages of what 8K display can deliver.

Compelling images and better visibility are the main advantage of 8K displays, so the target customer for this product are those who demand these features and has the funds to finance the high cost of installation.

4K = 1080p x 4

Most homes today (this is the middle of 2018) are still using 1080p TVs that they bought in the past years. And when you examine the signal these TVs receive via the their internal tuner the signal may be less than that, maybe around 1080i. Accurately speaking, when we say 1080p, we are pointing to progressive 1920 x 1080 dot pixel video resolution.

With the introduction of 4K, the 1080p resolution is multiplied by 4 to produce the 4K resolution which is actually 3840 x 2160 dot pixel video resolution. You are maybe wondering that the number of dot pixel was merely doubled. And what was multiplied by 4, was it the 1080p or the 1920? The answer is neither, since we are talking about area, not a single side.

To illustrate the point, let’s the following diagram:

8K resolution comparison chart

1080p and 4K mumbo jumbo

As you could see 1920 x 1080 or FHD (Full High Definition) has quadrupled its area to become 4K UHD (Ultra High Definition). You see the 4K here is pointing to the width of the 4K resolution which is actually 3840 dot pixels (1920 doubled). Some 4K formats actually goes above that pixel number (like 4096 dot pixels wide), but that’s not the point. The point is that the “4K” term points to the horizontal size or the width of the resolution.

This is one of the reasons why people get confused with the resolution terms. During the FHD days, the marketing term was “1080p”, which points to height and not the width of the resolution. When rendering 4K videos became a reality, the marketing engines of the day just couldn’t resist the easy and appealing marketing power that the tern “4K” brings. So the term “4K” stuck. Ok, so “4K” and “1080p” mumbo jumbo is now resolved. Now lets talk about 8K format.

8K = 4K x 4

See the diagram again. 8K is just four 4K area knitted together. If you factor the fact that most homes today still owns and uses TV and monitors that max at Full HD (1080p) resolution, and most TV signals are still in the level of SD (standard definition) to HD (high definition like 720p to 1080i), the upgrade to 8K is a mind-boggling overkill!

Mind you, our TV at home usually renders 1080i TV signal and can receive and render 1080p signal coming from STB’s and BD players through its HDMI ports. I’m pretty much contented with it and I still couldn’t find a compelling alibi to persuade my wife to replace it with a new 4K model.

1080p, 4K, 8K resolution comparison

Now if you think about it, 8K is 16 “1080p” knitted together. So if the pixel density remains unchanged, that means having 16 units of our current 47 inch TV! Of course, pixel densities of TV panels has changed for the better so 47 inch TVs can now have 4K pixel densities.

For the most part, however, source signals have remained unchanged, so even though we’ve seen some movies at Netflix with 4K tag, TV panels usually still renders 1080p signals in most scenarios. On this regard, 4K panels today might still be an overkill.

Now, how about 8K? Can we say having it at your average homes is a quadruple overkill? Maybe. But as we already speculated above, 8K TVs are not targeted at your average homes, but at the well-to-dos and those who have very spacious living room. So your average living rooms may not have 8K TVs anyway, at least not in the near future.

Future topics about display tech.

Of course, resolution is only one part of the story when talking about panel quality and functions. Color depth, frame rates, and pixel quality all add to what resolution can provide. So in our next articles we’d like to take up these other functionalities.

Well, that’s all for our resolution discussion. We’ll see you again next week!

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HDMI 2.1 New Feature: Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) for the audio junkie in you https://www.shinanotech.com/hdmi-2-1-new-earc-function/ https://www.shinanotech.com/hdmi-2-1-new-earc-function/#comments Tue, 12 Jun 2018 12:50:08 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=497 Hey! We’re back. We just had a very busy week last week. Let’s talk about HDMI 2.1. As you might already know, HDMI 2.1 Specification was published last year in November 2017. If any of you have had the luck to read it you’ll know what features we will likely see from HDMI devices in the not-so-distant future. But since you’re already here let’s discuss those features and speculate what kind of devices will likely support those features. Since each new HDMI 2.1 function/feature deserves an article of their own we’ll try to write a series of blog posts about

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Hey! We’re back. We just had a very busy week last week.
Let’s talk about HDMI 2.1. As you might already know, HDMI 2.1 Specification was published last year in November 2017. If any of you have had the luck to read it you’ll know what features we will likely see from HDMI devices in the not-so-distant future. But since you’re already here let’s discuss those features and speculate what kind of devices will likely support those features. Since each new HDMI 2.1 function/feature deserves an article of their own we’ll try to write a series of blog posts about them in the coming weeks. Today, we’ll talk about a neat new feature called eARC. Ok, let’s go!

HDMI 1.4 ARC

eARC is short for enhanced Audio Return Channel. ARC itself is an old tech — it was a new feature back when HDMI 1.4 came out around June 2009. ARC points to the technique where the sink, after receiving audio visual signal from any of its connected devices, “returns” or outputs the audio part of the signal through HDMI to an upstream amplifier (which supports ARC).

Usually the flow of the HDMI signal is from source to sink (upstream device to downstream device). ARC’s signal(audio) however flows from sink to source. That’s why they call it “audio return” channel. Sounds neat eh? But I guess it’s difficult to imagine it without a diagram. So let’s borrow HDMI Org.’s diagram on ARC to illustrate the difference.

Before without ARC function
As you can see, before when there was no ARC, the sink (or the TV if you prefer) sends its audio to an amplifier to render the audio there — most probably with an analog or digital S/PDIF. The idea is that since TVs do not have a good sound system those audio junkies who prefers pristine audio will want to use an AV amp to render audio just like you see in the diagram above. But adding another cabling just complicates the setup so HDMI Org. came up with a solution — the ARC solution.

HDMI setup with ARC function

Now look at what adding ARC function did to the setup. This setup looses the extra cable (S/PDIF). So how does the TV renders audio? The TV uses the HDMI cable to output audio to the connected AV amplifier. Since it can receive and output signal through this HDMI cable, the diagram shows that the flow is now bidirectional. So how does it work exactly? Well, there are several ways ARC can be used. See below:

Possible ARC Configurations

  1. The TV receives the audio/visual signal though an upstream AV amp (just like the illustration above). It decodes the signal. Takes the audio part of the signal and then “returns” it using the ARC channel in HDMI connection. ARC negotiation is done using CEC (Consumer Electronics Control) protocol also inside the HDMI connection.
  2. Imagine there is another source device (like for example a Playstation) directly connected to the TV above through a HDMI cable. The TV renders the Playstation’s video signal on its display but again takes the audio part and outputs it to the AV amplifier connected through another HDMI cable.
  3. The TV gets its audio visual contents from its built-in tuner, like a local TV program. It renders the video part on its display and again outputs the audio to the AV amplifier connected through a HDMI cable.

In all three setup, the TV uses the ARC channel to output the audio signal to an amplifier (which is usually a HDMI repeater) connected to one of its HDMI input port. For ARC to work, the TV and the amplifier device must both support ARC, the TV supports ARC Tx function while the amplifier supports the ARC Rx function.

Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)

Now that’s all very good, but how about eARC? Don’t worry, we haven’t forgotten about it. We just wanted to make ARC clear to you first. The setup for eARC are mostly the same with that of ARC. What’s changed is the audio codecs supported. eARC now supports multichannel audio like 8ch.-192kHz LPCM audio, whereas before it could only support 2ch.-48kHz LPCM audio.

eARC also can now support the output for High Bit Rate audio codecs like Dolby True HD and DTS Master audio. What’s more and completely new to HDMI 2.1 is the support for the latest audio formats supporting three-dimensional object-based surround sound like Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. For head to head feature analysis see this table prepared by HDMI Org.:

ARC vs. eARC functionality

Looking at the table above, it is evident that the higher bandwidth of eARC enables the output of the new high bit rate audio codecs: 37 Mbits/second for eARC versus 1 Mbits/second when using traditional ARC link.

This added bandwidth together with the added complexity of implementing eARC data channel’s control and discovery will be tricky at first. This means adequate testing of eARC functionality will be crucial task for new developers. Test specification for HDMI 2.1 is currently being developed by HDMI Forum and is said to be scheduled for release in stages this year. When it is finally published the test spec will be an important guide for developers intending to develop eARC function.

Devices That May Probably Support eARC

As the ARC configuration diagram above shows, devices that will most probably support eARC functionality will include high end TVs (eARC Tx) and AV amplifiers (eARC Rx).  For the most part, the main reason for eARC is to enable support for high bitrate audio codecs. Taking advantage of high bitrate audio codecs like DTS Master, Dolby True HD, DTS:X and Dolby Atmos will most usually require multi-channel multi-speaker audio system setups.

That means that the target users has big living room and has advanced audio system installation. So either the user is pro sound user who demands the latest gadget in anything audio, or the user is very well off that he or she has cinema-level multimedia implementation at home. Whichever user it is, it is almost unmistakable that the devices that will support eARC will be targeting the high end users.

Ok, so that’s eARC.
Next week we’ll write about HDMI 2.1’s 8K resolution function and the technologies that drives it.

 

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June 2018 HDMI Forum MOI Verification Test Event and Plugfest Starts Next Week https://www.shinanotech.com/june-2018-hdmi-2-1-moi-verification-test-event-and-plugfest-starts-next-week/ https://www.shinanotech.com/june-2018-hdmi-2-1-moi-verification-test-event-and-plugfest-starts-next-week/#respond Sat, 02 Jun 2018 09:14:17 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=478 HDMI enthusiasts, heads up! HDMI Forum MOI verification test event and plugfest is going to be held next week (June 4 ~ June 8) in Seoul, South Korea. This is a MOI verification test event so that means the Forum will verify “method of implementations” or MOIs from various test equipment makers and see whether their implementations are correct or correlates with that of other MOIs created by other test equipment maker. These equipment most probably will be verified for their support for the new HDMI 2.1 functionalities. This is an event that’s rarely done and the frequency depends on the

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HDMI enthusiasts, heads up!

HDMI Forum MOI verification test event and plugfest is going to be held next week (June 4 ~ June 8) in Seoul, South Korea. This is a MOI verification test event so that means the Forum will verify “method of implementations” or MOIs from various test equipment makers and see whether their implementations are correct or correlates with that of other MOIs created by other test equipment maker. These equipment most probably will be verified for their support for the new HDMI 2.1 functionalities.

This is an event that’s rarely done and the frequency depends on the situation – usually when a major test specification is being discussed and formulated.

This time there will also be a Plugfest which means there will be chance to connect your devices with other makers devices and see if they interoperate correctly. Participating in the plugfest is a great opportunity to see how your device works with other devices, and see your device logs while connecting, and recognize problems even at their prototype stage.

As usual, HDMI Forum is tight-lipped about the event. They just gave this short snippet and let you decide if that’s something that would interests you.

The HDMI Forum Test Event is limited to HDMI Forum Members only. Learn how to become a member. The Plugfest is open to all Adopter product and prototype developers, and is intended for unofficial device-to-device interoperability testing. Contact HDMI Forum Administration for more information.

What To Expect

We can safely assume that all participants will be bringing their HDMI 2.1-supporting implementations in the event — that is, HDMI test equipment, sources, sinks, repeaters, and cables that claims to or wants to support the new HDMI 2.1 functionalities. Participants of this kind of test events are usually the ones who develop first generation devices that supports the current HDMI Specification.

It just so happens that the current HDMI Specification, you know, the version 2.1 HDMI Spec.,  is the one that claims to specify 8K/60Hz or 4K/120Hz video resolution (up to 48Gbps bandwidth), Dynamic HDR, Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable, eARC, and a lot more functions that are too geeky to write here.

Hmmn, let’s just hope that they get their act together so that we could see new HDMI 2.1 gadgets very soon!

Those interested might be able to gate crash, but be sure to send an email to the admin before you do so. ^^;

June 2018 HDMI MOI Verification Test Event and Plugfest Venue

 

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Sony Trinitron vs. 4K/HDR TVs — Some nostalgic photos during the CRT era of 20th century. https://www.shinanotech.com/sony-trinitron-vs-4k-hdr-tvs/ https://www.shinanotech.com/sony-trinitron-vs-4k-hdr-tvs/#respond Fri, 25 May 2018 20:55:07 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=457 I visited Sony City Osaki office the other day and took some pictures. Of course, even with all the pretty gadgets they have in their display room, the one that always gets my attention is the Sony Trinitron — the television that started it all. This TV model, the first of all Trinitron model is displayed enclosed in a transparent frame at Sony City Osaki, at the escalator landing in between 2nd and 3rd floor. It shows how proud Sony is about its Trinitron TVs even with all the 4K TVs out there. The presentation is quite impressive really, and

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I visited Sony City Osaki office the other day and took some pictures. Of course, even with all the pretty gadgets they have in their display room, the one that always gets my attention is the Sony Trinitron — the television that started it all.

This TV model, the first of all Trinitron model is displayed enclosed in a transparent frame at Sony City Osaki, at the escalator landing in between 2nd and 3rd floor. It shows how proud Sony is about its Trinitron TVs even with all the 4K TVs out there.

The presentation is quite impressive really, and you should visit to see it first hand.

Sony Trinitron KV-1310

Sony Trinitron KV-1310

Excerpt: The First Trinitron Model: KV-1310
This was revolutionary technology that achieved twice the brightness of the shadow mask technology that was dominant at that time.

Japanese: トリニトロン方式1号機 KV-1310
それまで主流だったシャドーマスク方式の2倍の明るさを実現した革新的技術でした。


Sony Bravia HDR 4K

Compare that with Sony’s television today, like this Sony Bravia for example.
Well, yes. TV tech have come a long way indeed.
Sony Bravia 4K HDR

I know, the 4K resolution, not to mention the screen size, of today’s TV is just incomparable to the resolution of TVs during Trinitron’s time. And the high dynamic range (HDR) technology that is used by feature TVs nowadays should all be great development in the brightness space.


A Classic Product

Even so, the Trinitron is just so revolutionary at that time it arrived in the late 1960s, and because of that, the Trinitron will always be one of the classic gadgets of all time. The Trinitron technology was replaced with Plasma and LCD technology with the advent of flat panels in the late 2000s.

Tech enthusiasts who would love to know more about the Trinitron technology and the story how it was developed by Sony in the 1960s should read the Wikipedia article on it. It is a fascinating read.

 

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VESA May 2018 Tokyo Workshop Result: DP1.4, HB3, DP 8K Cable Logo, HDCP2.2, DisplayHDR, Type-C https://www.shinanotech.com/vesa-may-2018-tokyo-workshop-result/ https://www.shinanotech.com/vesa-may-2018-tokyo-workshop-result/#respond Fri, 18 May 2018 23:35:47 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=440 Hey guys! I got some update for you from the world of VESA(Video Electronics Standards Association). They just did a workshop here in Tokyo this week mainly about DisplayPort and DisplayHDR. VESA’s compliance program manager, Jim Choate, divulge some important tidbits about what’s VESA is up to right now in the video arena. To quickly sum it all together, here are the six important pointers during the event. DP 1.4 — DisplayPort’s current specification is gaining traction. No wonder, since it specifies the features that’s highly appealing to video and panel developers out there. In particular, the Display Stream Compression

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Hey guys! I got some update for you from the world of VESA(Video Electronics Standards Association). They just did a workshop here in Tokyo this week mainly about DisplayPort and DisplayHDR. VESA’s compliance program manager, Jim Choate, divulge some important tidbits about what’s VESA is up to right now in the video arena. To quickly sum it all together, here are the six important pointers during the event.

  • DP 1.4 — DisplayPort’s current specification is gaining traction. No wonder, since it specifies the features that’s highly appealing to video and panel developers out there. In particular, the Display Stream Compression (DSC), Forward Error Correction (FEC), the Multi-Stream Transport (MST), and the HB3. Official CTS is not yet released but early certification program for DP1.4 products is already being provided by Allion Test Labs. For more information on DisplayPort please visit DP website here.

 

  • HB3 — As mentioned above about DP1.4 developers can now support higher link rates with the introduction of HB3. Well, that’s a complicated way of saying DisplayPort products can now support 8K videos. How they do that? For those who are more technically adept, please see VESA’s slide on HBR3 link rate support:

DisplayPort HBR3 Bandwidth

  • DP 8K Cable Logo — So, with 8K capabilities, how can we move such data through the DP link? Many dubious DP cables have popped up claiming support 8K. To mitigate that issue in the market, VESA has created the first logo mark for DP cables that have passed stringent testing including testing their capability to support 8K. The idea of course is that consumers should buy DP cables with the the DP 8K logo. Familiarize yourself with the logo mark below:

DP 8K Logo for Cables

  • HDCP 2.2 — This is a side feature. DP has always supported HDCP (or High-Bandwidth Content Protection), even from the beginning. Now, generally there are two HDCP versions out there: 1.4 and 2.2. DP supports both. For products that support DP HDCP2.2, the HDCP feature must also be tested during the compliance testing. For more information about HDCP testing, please visit DCP LLC’s website.

 

  • DisplayHDR — DisplayHDR is a new VESA specification for displays that support HDR. Particularly, this new VESA specification defines displays minimum requirements with regards to white luminance level and black level support. It also defines the bit depth performance for panels supporting DisplayHDR. Again, Allion is the only VESA ATC out there that provides compliance testing services for DisplayHDR. Please visit DisplayHDR’s new webpage for more information.

VESA's DisplayHDR logo

  • USB Type-C — As you all know DisplayPort can run side-by-side with USB using the USB Type-C connector. In the handset world Type-C adoption is gaining traction mostly for its small form factor and support for power charging. With DP over USB-C, ultra high speed video support is another reason to adopt the USB Type-C connector.

DP over USB Type-C features

After the DP Workshop, a two-day DP Plugfest was done at Allion Japan Inc. as they announced here. According to information we got, both events were successful in that many manufacturers and developers got valuable information on VESA’s direction with regards to DisplayPort and DisplayHDR, and also information on how to execute DP compliance tests at ATC’s like Allion for the new features mentioned above.

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How to know the HDMI 4K cable you bought is an authentic HDMI Premium High-Speed Cable? https://www.shinanotech.com/how-to-know-the-hdmi-4k-cable-you-bought-is-an-authentic-hdmi-premium-high-speed-cable/ https://www.shinanotech.com/how-to-know-the-hdmi-4k-cable-you-bought-is-an-authentic-hdmi-premium-high-speed-cable/#respond Wed, 16 May 2018 00:22:00 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=387 So you bought a HDMI cable to connect your 4K Apple TV to your 4K TV. You then got 4K HDR movie contents on Apple TV to see how beautiful 4K movies would render on a 4K TV. The problem is that when you set your Apple TV to 4K output you see flickering and signal noises on your TV. What’s going on? Hint: the first suspect is not your 4K Apple TV, not your 4K TV, but your HDMI cable. Yep, that’s correct. The first suspect should be the HDMI cable you are using. Now, we cannot help you

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So you bought a HDMI cable to connect your 4K Apple TV to your 4K TV. You then got 4K HDR movie contents on Apple TV to see how beautiful 4K movies would render on a 4K TV. The problem is that when you set your Apple TV to 4K output you see flickering and signal noises on your TV. What’s going on? Hint: the first suspect is not your 4K Apple TV, not your 4K TV, but your HDMI cable.

Yep, that’s correct. The first suspect should be the HDMI cable you are using.

Now, we cannot help you check whether your cable is actually bad or not, but there are ways to debug the issue easily. We can give you simple debugging tips, like unplugging-replugging your HDMI cable or changing the video output of your Apple TV and check whether flickering disappears. But if this does not fix the problem you might need to replace your cable.

The good news is there’s a way to check whether the cable you bought is authentic or not, i.e. whether it really supports 4K@60Hz signal or not. As you may already know, there are currently two categories of HDMI cables out there with regards to speed they support:

  1. Standard (or “category 1”) – this kind of HDMI cable support speeds of up to 75Mhz or up to 2.25Gbps. This level of speed enables your cable to transfer HD videos like 720p and 1080i.
  2. High Speed (or “category 2”) – this kind of HDMI cables support speeds of up to 340Mhz or up to 10.2Gbps. At this speed it’s easy to transfer 1080p, 1080p with Deep Color, and some 4K signals that has low frame rates like 4K@24Hz, 4K@25Hz, and 4K@30Hz video signals.

The problem is that what if you want to render 4K@60Hz? Ah, now you put your finger to the problem. Well, HDMI Org. claims that High Speed HDMI cables are designed to support 4k@60 (18Gbps), however, High Speed HDMI cables in the market are not being tested for this speed. That is why High Speed cables are only guaranteed to support up to 10.2Gbps of speed as noted above.

If you are interested on what’s the technical difference between normal High Speed cables and Premium High Speed cables, I would strongly suggest reading this article by ninshoshiken.com.  Non-Japanese reader will not be able to read it, but the quick explanation is that Premium HDMI cables have a better signal integrity than that of the normal High Speed cables. Please see the eye diagram amplitude between the two waveforms.

Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program

To fix this legacy problem, HDMI Org. created the “Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program” which requires cable makers to test their HDMI High Speed cables for “Premium” support. To quote HDMI Org., “the program is designed to give consumers peace-of-mind when purchasing new HDMI cables for their 4K/UltraHD products that may include features such as 4K/60, BT.2020 and HDR.”

So technically there are only two categories of HDMI calbles out there. But effectively, there are three kinds of HDMI cables sold in the market with regards to the speed they support: Standard, High Speed, and “Premium” High Speed.

Now how do we distinguish between “normal” High Speed cables and “Premium” High Speed cables? Easy, Premium High Speed cables come with the following seal of authenticity:

According to HDMI Org. the seal is “special anti-counterfeit label.” To fight counterfeit cables that have inundated the cable market, it seems the solution that the org. chose is this seal that includes QR code and a holographic fingerprint. Cables that have this label can be checked through a “two-level authentication scan” using a mobile phone and a free app created by HDMI LA.

HDMI Premium Cable App

Go ahead, go to your phone’s store, Apple App Store or Google Play Store, and search for HDMI Premium Cable. The app looks like this:

HDMI Premium Cable App

After downloading the app, it will show you how to scan your cable label like the ones shown below:

 

Now get the package that came with your HDMI cable. If the package has no HDMI Premium seal at all, then it means the cable you bought is either a Standard cable or just a normal High Speed cable or lower. If there is a HDMI Premium label included, then use this label to confirm its authenticity. Open the HDMI Premium Cable app and then scan for the QR code and the hologram fingerprint:

Depending on whether the seal is authentic or not you will get either one of following results:

So there you go. If the cable you are using is unauthenticated, it means two things: one, the cable you are using were not tested for the speed that it claims to support, and two, you should not use it for your multimedia setup since you’ll probably just be frustrated with its performance even if it works from time to time.

Now, does this mean you need to buy only branded cables coming from big brands like Sony and Panasonic? No, not really. The branded cables are too damn expensive. Just visit your local store find a decent cable and scan it for authenticity before buying. Also, you can trust the cables sold at Amazon, just be sure to scan it for authenticity before using. If the result turned out negative, you can always return it and report it to Amazon to help get rid off the bad apples.

HDMI 2.1 and Ultra High Speed Cable

On a very related topic, there will be a new HDMI cable that is being planned and specified at the moment – the Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable or cable that will support HDMI 2.1 maximum speed of up to 48Gbps.

HDMI org has an interesting tidbid about the upcoming Ultra-HS cable:

The Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable supports the 48G bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support. The cable also features very low EMI emission and is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices.

 

Anyway, this will be a new topic for discussion later. For now, suffice it to say that the cables you see on the net that are supposed to support HDMI 2.1 speeds are all unverified! Official testing of such cables has not even began yet, so how the hell could these cable claim they support it? Oh well. We’ll definitely write something about this later.

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Introducing the CrowPi STEM Education Kit – This is amazing stuff! https://www.shinanotech.com/crowpi-stem-education-kit/ https://www.shinanotech.com/crowpi-stem-education-kit/#respond Mon, 07 May 2018 11:00:21 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=372 Do anything you like with the CrowPi STEM kit, me I’m buying two for my kids! Elecrow, the maker of CrowPi, has Kickstarter Campaign, please support them to help kickstart the kit for general use!

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Do anything you like with the CrowPi STEM kit, me I’m buying two for my kids!
Elecrow, the maker of CrowPi, has Kickstarter Campaign, please support them to help kickstart the kit for general use!

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Connecting two smart phones through a USB Type-C cable: An interesting experiment https://www.shinanotech.com/connecting-two-smart-phones-through-usb-typec-cable/ https://www.shinanotech.com/connecting-two-smart-phones-through-usb-typec-cable/#respond Sun, 06 May 2018 08:12:41 +0000 https://www.shinanotech.com/?p=324 What would happen if you connect two mobile phones with a USB Type-C cable? You probably thought about that same question too, didn’t you? Well, inquisitive engineers at Ninshoshiken.com did an actual experiment on it! The article is written in Japanese, so I will just give you their summary findings: No, connecting the two phones with a USB Type-C cable will not cause explosion or get the devices damaged. The mobile phones (with Type-C connector) usually have a functionality called Dual Role Power(DRP). This will determine what the phone will do when it is connected to another device. Which mobile

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What would happen if you connect two mobile phones with a USB Type-C cable? You probably thought about that same question too, didn’t you? Well, inquisitive engineers at Ninshoshiken.com did an actual experiment on it!

The article is written in Japanese, so I will just give you their summary findings:

  • No, connecting the two phones with a USB Type-C cable will not cause explosion or get the devices damaged.
  • The mobile phones (with Type-C connector) usually have a functionality called Dual Role Power(DRP). This will determine what the phone will do when it is connected to another device.
  • Which mobile phone will become power source and which one will become power sink will “probably” depend on the the phones’ CC1 waveform.
  • Android phones have options on which to choose how the device will behave when connected through a Type-C connector: supply power or receive power.

So that’s it. It’s actually pretty interesting read with all the waveforms and stuff. So if you can read Japanese do yourself a favor by reading the actual article here: USB Type-CのDual-Role-Power

 

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