Many TVs still don’t support HDMI 1.3, which offers Deep Color and xvYCC support, but details about its upcoming successor, version 1.4, have leaked out. The specs include a couple of interesting new features, most notably an HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) that allows devices using the cable (like an HDTV and an Xbox 360) to share a 100Mbps network connection. Also intriguing is the spec’s support for emerging video formats like 4k (4,096×2,160-pixel resolution, or roughly double that of 1080p) as well as 3D standards.
While those are promising developments, the rub is that the HDMI 1.4 spec supports two different types of data cables: a high-bandwidth version and a lower-bandwidth one. Considering there are plenty of people who still don’t realize they need to order high-definition programming from their cable providers before they can start seeing shows in HD, having two versions of the same cable is sure to cause all kinds of confusion and plenty of GeekSquad calls. (Not to mention that the low-data version probably won’t support those exciting new features mentioned above.) There should be some time to sort it out, however, as the first HDMI 1.4 devices aren’t expected until 2010.