A few months after the release of HDMI 1.2 in May 2005, HDMI 1.2a was released in December 2005. The principal new features that were strengthened were the compliance with the full set of Consumer Electronic Control (CEC) features, as well as the agreement between the manufacturers of what command sets and CEC compliance tests should be carried out in the ATC (Authorized Test Centers) around the world.
Increasingly through the early years of the 21st Century, consumer electronics manufacturers worked continually to improve increasingly more intelligent consumer products. The rapid advances in digital electronics offered, for the first time, the possibility for devices to collect information and configure themselves; this also extended to identifying and correcting errors. This meant that users of these new devices were freed from having to become experts simply to install the digital equipment that they had bought. HDMI is a critical component in this network, as it is perfectly able to deliver the new intelligence from device to device, while at the same time simplifying the cable infrastructure.
With HDMI 1.2a launched and available, the possibilities that CEC offered could finally become reality. Now system level automation was available, never had such ease of use been available to users. Once all of the devices in the home are attached by HDMI 1.2a, a full range of functions are available from a single remote hand held device. You could be watching a program on your HDTV, whilst at the same time, the remote could play or reset content on another CEC HDTV. You can control the set top box, manage the audio video receiver, while turning other CEC enabled devices on and off.
As a standard, HDMI requires that all the manufacturers producing products that follow the HDMI standard, declare which features they are supporting. CEC specifications are quite clear on the minimum functionality that must be supported in order to declare CEC compliance. The objective of these declarations was to help the user. The user needs to understand what features are supported device by device and which features are not.
The HDMI ATCSs, therefore, continued to have an important role throughout 2005 and 2006, with numerous new features being introduced. In particular, close attention was paid to the electrical and protocol compliance, to ensure that the HDMI CEC specifications were being satisfied. A number of additional test programs were developed by the ATCs; these required and received the approval of the manufacturer consortium.