The transition of entertainment content from analog to digital form has sparked a
revolution in the way that content is created, transported and consumed. This is true
for every type of content voice, images, music, TV, etc., and the effect is profound
for each player involved in providing and consuming this content. From the artists and
studios creating the content, to service providers delivering it to homes and
businesses, to consumer devices manufacturers and ultimately the consumer, the
digital revolution presents exciting new opportunities as well as important challenges.
Each of the players in this value chain is driven by the following common set of
- Quality, primarily a function of new formats (resolution, color depth, refresh,
lossless audio) and the quantum performance improvements they enable.
- Flexibility in terms of the way content is distributed/obtained and played,
exemplified by the way iTunes changed music and Tivo changed TV.
- Cost reductions related to content delivery, such as not having to print film or
other packaged media, or not having to drive to the video store.
A critical enabler in this change is the mechanism by which devices that create, hold,
playback or display this content are connected. The High-Definition Multimedia
Interface. (HDMI.) is a digital connectivity standard capable of carrying the
highest quality, uncompressed high-definition digital video content, up to 8 separate
channels of uncompressed digital audio and device command controls all on a single
For consumers, HDMI means a simpler and higher-quality entertainment experience.
For CE manufacturers, HDMI means a lower-cost, standardized way of
interconnecting their devices that enables them to build differentiated products that
deliver the best entertainment experience. For movie studios, HDMI in conjunction
with HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Copy Protection) represents a way to expand topline growth by bringing the theater experience home.a key factor given that less
than 20% of their revenue comes from theaters. Enhanced content protection
represents another significant benefit for studios. For PC and monitor makers, HDMI
is a means of bridging the gap between CE and PC video standards. Finally, for the
market as a whole, the flexibility of the standard means that it can evolve to meet
market needs, such as peripheral control of all attached devices.
IN THIS WHITE PAPER
IDC examines the transition from analog to digital in the world of digital displays and
connected devices and addresses critical implications of that change, particularly
regarding connectivity standards. This White Paper examines these issues from the
perspective of each player in the digital content value chain and the driving factors of
quality, flexibility, ease of use and price. Within this context, we provide an overview
of the HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) interface, which brings together all
devices in the high-definition household value chain from set-top boxes and DVD
players to flat-panel televisions and today's increasingly media-friendly consumer
PCs, and even portable devices such as cameras and camcorders.
Today's consumers are entranced with the wealth of high-definition content being
made available to them and are eagerly snapping up flat-panel LCD and plasma
televisions, as well as large rear-projection TVs (RPTVs) in order to view it. According
to IDC's research, the worldwide LCD TV market is expected to grow by 41% in 2007
and plasma TVs should enjoy 40% growth. In some cases, purchases are being
driven by a preference for thinner form factors. In others, they're driven by the desire
for better picture quality or a combination of the two. In all cases, however, the
underlying driver is the sweeping transition from analog to digital content. This
transition has occurred on a number of highly visible fronts, from playback media
(VCRs to DVDs) to TVs (analog to HDTV) to broadcasting (standard to digital). As it
has unfolded, the costs associated with digital content delivery both underlying
semiconductors and the devices themselves have predictably come down while
their functionality and performance has steadily risen.
As a result of these developments, consumers have access to an entertainment
experience that is both more stimulating and more simplified than was previously
available. One of the promises of the digital revolution is more intelligent consumer
electronics devices and systems that can automatically configure themselves, correct
errors and free the user from having to manage these new technologies. Sadly, up
until now, this promise has gone unfulfilled. HDMI delivers the framework for enabling
this, not only by drastically simplifying cabling, but also by delivering the potential for
system wide intelligence (such as allowing the use a single remote control to integrate
multiple devices into a unified system for "one touch playback" and other functions).
As discussed below, these capabilities of HDMI can make the experience of
simultaneously using multiple digital entertainment devices much easier, while at the
same time delivering the cost benefits that come from having a standardized method
of connecting products digitally.