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Choosing the right HDMI cable for your 3D TV

3D is a hugely exciting innovation in the world of cinema, and the technology is now breaking into the home entertainment market in a very big way. Consumers can now have the opportunity to watch 3D TV and films, play 3D games and explore the limitations of the technology in their very own homes, a prospect that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago.

If you have recently spent your hard-earned cash on a 3D-enabled TV, it is very important that you get all the essential accessories to allow you to get the best from your investment. You may not be aware of this, but your standard analogue connector cables cannot generally be used to connect up a 3D TV.

Even your HDMI cables may not be up to the job, unless you have one specific version. The only version that currently offers support for 3D content is the HDMI 1.4 cable, the latest available. This version also offers an Ethernet channel, a number of connector types for portable devices, and support for super-high resolutions. This is the cable you need to choose if you have recently bought a 3D TV and are ready to install it.

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Are there compatibility issues between HDMI cable versions?

When you upgrade one part of your home entertainment system, you often find that you have to make changes to other devices and components so that everything is compatible.

Some people worry that this is the case with HDMI cables, believing that they will have to replace all their older equipment once they buy the latest version of HDMI cable. This shouldn’t be the case, as each new version of HDMI cable is specially designed to be ‘backwards compatible’ with the versions that came before it.

What this means is that even if you have equipment that is designed for use with HDMI 1.4 cables, you will usually still be able to get it to work with an HDMI 1.2 or 1.3 cable, and get good sound and picture quality.

If it is simply a case of changing the HDMI cable, a relatively inexpensive component to replace, it might be advisable to do so. You get far better performance and far more features and benefits with newer versions of HDMI cables, allowing you to enjoy a superior viewing experience rather than just an average one. After all, you want to get the best out of your devices, rather than just being happy that they work at all.

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How do HDMI cables send signals?

Although they may look pretty simple, and they are straightforward to use, HDMI cables are actually quite sophisticated in the way that they work.

One of the biggest mysteries is how HDMI cables are able to send such high quality signals, and send both audio and video signals in the same cable. Let’s take a quick look at how they send signals…

Standard HDMI cables generally have around 19 pins, and it is from these pins that the signals begin their journeys. They travel from the pins through twisted pairs of copper cable until they reach their destination – the display device.

A total of three audio and three video channels travel through each cable, requiring two pins each. A further pair of pins is occupied by the TMDS clock, which helps devices to synchronise incoming data, and all of these pairs of pins are protected from signal interference by a shield wire.

The other pins on HDMI cables are used to carry other signals, such as the Consumer Electronics Channel (CEC), for example. In HDMI 1.4 cables, these pins may be used to carry the signal for the Ethernet Channel or the Audio Return Channel (ARC).

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News for HDMI cable users – B&O to launch ultra-flat 3D plasma TV

If you are a fan of 3D technology and you want to own a piece of it in your very own home, the latest announcement at the Consumer Electronics Show 2012 will be very exciting for you.

During CES 2012, the electronics company Bang & Olufsen (B&O) revealed that it plans to release a brand new 3D TV for the consumer market. The BeoVision 12-65 is a 65 inch, ultra-flat plasma TV capable of exceptional 2D and 3D performance.

As well as having a very thin screen, the BeoVision 12-65 also has an optical illusion included in the design as well as a partly integrated wall bracket. All of these features mean that it sits barely an inch or two away from the wall for an ultra-modern and sophisticated finish.

B&O’s new innovation also offers 7.1 surround sound through five speaker units, as long as they are set up in the right formation.

If this new 3D TV sounds like exactly the sort of advanced technology your living room has been waiting for, make sure you have your HDMI 1.4 cables (with their support for high resolution 3D technology) at the ready.

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De-clutter your home entertainment system with HDMI cables

If you take a look at the back of your home entertainment system (usually behind your TV stand or cabinet), will you find a terrifying tangle or wires and cables? This is the case for many people.

This cluttered arrangement can not only make your living room look a mess; it can also make it difficult for you to access certain parts of your home entertainment system.

So, what is the solution? You ideally need to cut down on the number of wires and cables you use, but if all of these are in use and are important, you need another solution. The answer could be to replace all of your analogue connector cables – SCART cables, S-video and composite video cables – with HDMI cables.

One of the main benefits of HDMI cables is that they are able to carry digital audio and video signals in the same cable. So, where you would previously need separate cables, one for audio and one for video, now you only need one HDMI cables.

If you want to streamline your system even further, why not choose ultra-flat HDMI cables? These can be discretely hidden under carpets and floors, as well as behind skirting boards and along walls.

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Do I really need the latest version of HDMI cable?

If the last time you bought an HDMI cable was a couple of years ago, you may not realise that there have been a couple of new HDMI cable versions introduced. Each version is an update of the one that came before it, so it is usually worth buying the newer version.

The latest version available is HDMI 1.4 cables. It is not absolutely essential that you buy this version if you have a standard home entertainment system (i.e. if you plan to connect up devices such as games consoles, DVD and Blu-ray players to an LCD HD TV). An HDMI 1.3a, 1.3b, or 1.3c cable will be perfectly fine for standard setups.

There are a couple of reasons why you may want to upgrade to the latest version, however. The revision to the specification of HDMI 1.4 cables involved the addition of a few new features, including support for 3D, support for super-high resolutions, the Ethernet channel and the Audio Return Channel.

This means that if you have or are planning to buy a super high resolution or a 3D-enabled TV, you will need to buy HDMI 1.4 cables.

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New Sony 3D camcorder soon to be available for HDMI cable users

Anyone who enjoys shooting their own video material and uses HDMI cables to display the fruits of their directorial efforts will soon have a new tool to play with.

Sony is reportedly planning to launch a new, more compact update to its first 3D camcorder, the Sony HDR-TDR10E 3D camcorder. For what has been reported to be a similar price, this new version -the Sony HDR-TD20VE 3D camcorder – is around a third smaller than its predecessor.

The TD20VE also offers users the ability to take 20 megapixel photos, shoot full 2D and 3D video, and use a 3.5 inch glasses-free 3D screen. The only other changes are:

• A smaller inter-axial difference between the two wide angle lenses
• A shorter focal length range
• 185g less in weight

If you plan to purchase Sony’s new 3D camcorder when it is released in the UK, you will need to ensure you have the right HDMI cable ready. An HDMI 1.4 cable with the appropriate connector (micro or mini) will allow you to connect your 3D camcorder to your wide-screen 3D TV and view your video content in all their stunning, high definition 3D glory.

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How to connect your PC to your TV with HDMI cables

If you want to connect your PC or laptop to your TV, you will need to have the right cables and a little bit of insider knowledge at your disposal. This process can be very simple to achieve, but as is the way when dealing with many different types of technology, it can also get quite complicated.

The first thing to do is to check which ports you have on your TV and on your computer. Ideally, you need an output port on your computer which matches the input port on your TV.

HDMI

The ideal situation is where both your TV and your computer have HDMI ports. Using an HDMI cable, you will be able to connect up both devices quickly and easily, and transmit both sound and video using a single cable. An HDMI cable connection offers superior quality which can’t really be beaten.

DVI

DVI is nearly as good as HDMI, but it will serve your purpose fine if both your computer and TV have DVI ports rather than HDMI. You may, however, need an HDMI to DVI cable if one device has a DVI port and one has an HDMI port.

Analogue

If your devices only have analogue ports, you can connect your computer to your TV using S-Video, VGA, Composite Video or RCA cables. However, you will not be able to get anywhere near the same quality as with HDMI.

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What does it mean to keep HDMI cable connectors seated?

When looking for advice on buying and using HDMI cables, you might come across some information relating to keeping your HDMI cable connectors seated. But what does this mean?

To keep an HDMI cable connector seated means to keep it connected to the HDMI ports in the devices it is connected to. If you buy a poor quality HDMI cable or one that is too heavy, it could fall out of the device it is connected to. This can interrupt your viewing and prove extremely annoying.

You may also have difficulties keeping your HDMI cable connectors seated if you have connected a cable vertically to a wall-mounted flat panel TV, or if the setup or arrangement of your home entertainment system is badly designed and will not allow you to get a flush fit between your HDMI cables and your devices.

There are a few things you can do to overcome this problem. You can:

• Buy HDMI cables with rotate and swivel heads, as these can be adjusted to fit properly even when placed at awkward angles
• Choose ultra flat HDMI cables, which are not only lightweight but will also fit along walls, in skirting boards and under carpets and floors
• Go for better quality HDMI cables every time

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A quick look at the differences between two popular HDMI cable versions

Although many versions of the HDMI cable specification have been released over the years, some of the earlier versions are no longer in use. This is because each new version is an update of the last, with new features and functions added, making the version that came before it virtually obsolete.

There are two versions of HDMI cables which are still widely used. These are HDMI 1.3 (a, b and c) cables and HDMI 1.4 versions.

An HDMI 1.3 cable is the perfect version for most people, as it contains a host of useful features and support for all HD technology. These cables are cheap to buy and easy to come across, and they will serve you well for years to come.

However, as HDMI 1.4 cables are an update of the 1.3 specification, they are bound to contain more impressive features. These include the Audio Return Channel (ARC), the Ethernet Channel, support for super high-resolution displays and crucially, support for 3D technology.

This means that unless you want to upgrade your home entertainment system and start enjoying 3D or super high-resolution technology, your HDMI 1.3 cable will be perfectly acceptable. However, if you ever plan to buy a 3D-enabled display or other component (including 3D games consoles), an HDMI 1.4 cable is essential.

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