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What is HDMI?
HDMI stands for "High-Definition Multimedia Interface" and is an increasingly common port on digital televisions and other electronics gear.
A brief article on DailyTech, quoting market data from In-Stat, speculates that HDMI will replace DVI (Digital Visual Interface) on consumer electronics by 2008. However, the author notes that "it appears that DVI will live on in the PC market for at least a few more years."
The best source for information about HDMI is perhaps HDMI.org, an in-depth website created by the companies behind the interface standard -- Hitachi, Panasonic, Philips, Silicon Image, Sony, Thomas, and Toshiba.
The HDMI website previously had a FAQ that answered a variety of questions about the standard, including "What is HDMI?" with the following:
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is the first and only industry-supported, uncompressed, all-digital audio/video interface. HDMI provides an interface between any audio/video source, such as a set-top box, DVD player, or A/V receiver and an audio and/or video monitor, such as a digital television (DTV), over a single cable.
HDMI supports standard, enhanced, or high-definition video, plus multi-channel digital audio on a single cable. It transmits all ATSC HDTV standards and supports 8-channel digital audio, with bandwidth to spare to accommodate future enhancements and requirements.
In a nutshell, the main advantage of the HDMI standard is that it provides an all-digital signal that transmits video and audio in the same cable to reduce complexity.
HMDI also is "fully backwards-compatible" with DVI, but as noted elsewhere, only will transmit video, not audio, via HDMI if a DVI-equipped device, like a Mac mini, is connected to an HDMI-equipped television, or vice versa.
For a counterpoint to the official HDMI source, you also may be interested in reading "Is HDMI a good or bad thing?" from blog Neothings, which mentions some disadvantages regarding standardization, cost, and signal length.