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HDMI connectors: Switch to HDMI 1.3 marks upmarket move

Supply of HDMI 1.1 and 1.2 versions remains strong but expansion programs and the need to enhance product performance will sustain shift to 1.3 models.

China suppliers of HDMI connectors and cable assemblies are stepping up to HDMI 1.3 in anticipation of a rise in the number of devices supporting this standard. The switch, which is also in line with efforts to broaden product and application ranges, is expected to boost this type's output share in coming months. The variant currently accounts for 30 percent of China's total yield of HDMI connectors and cable assemblies as opposed to the 50 percent allocation of 1.1 and 1.2 models.

HDMI connector

  In this report
  •  Main story
  •  HDMI connectors
  •  HDMI cable assemblies
  •  Industry composition
  •  Hong Kong: HDMI 1.3c driving output
  •  Taiwan: Makers set sights on HDMI 1.4
Some companies project a 20 to 50 percent increase in their 1.3 turnout in preparation for rising demand. Wiretek International Investment Ltd already dedicates 50 percent of its 4 million- unit monthly capacity to this kind. A few enterprises, including Tonetron Electronic Ltd, have shifted fully to 1.3 for all their HDMI cable assemblies. Many said 1.3 types will slowly capture the mainstream in months ahead although 1.1 and 1.2 variants will continue to be in strong supply.

The switch to this version of the A/V digital interface standard is spurred by its promise of up to 340MHz single-link bandwidth, suitable for future highdefinition devices. The smaller connector makes it appropriate for portable gadgets, another factor that will drive adoption.

Next on manufacturers' R&D priorities list is the move to HDMI 1.4, which was announced in early 2009. Only a few suppliers currently carry models based on this standard, most of them foreign-owned enterprises. Zhongshan Zhenfu Electronic Co. Ltd plans to startmass production in coming months. It will have an initial capacity of 50,000 units monthly.

A number of large makers are keeping a close watch on market penetration, planning to launch initial releases in 2010 or the year after.

HDMI 1.4 enables high-speed networking without a separate Ethernet cable. It delivers 3D images and 4000x2000 resolution. Further, the version supports types D mini and E connectors, making it compatible with portable and automotive electronics, respectively. The first kind of connection is 40 percent smaller than the HDMI 1.3 type C to suit compact devices. The E connector withstands high temperature and vibration, and has a locking mechanism.

Suppliers see a continued upturn in China's HDMI connectors and cable assembly market on the back of strong demand for HDTVs, portable devices, and high-end A/V and automotive entertainment products. As of 2Q09, there were more than 850 licensed enterprises worldwide, and other consumer electronics and computer manufacturers are expected to register in the months ahead. Global shipments of equipment supporting the interface were estimated at 394 million units in end-2009, according to In-Stat. This will grow to 772 million in 2012.

The major applications include digital TVs, set-top boxes or STBs, DVD players and recorders, Blu-ray players and recorders, and A/V receivers.

The standard is also widely adopted in game consoles, digital cameras and camcorders, portable media players, computers and peripherals, and mobilephones. As of end-2009, all digital TVs would have been equipped with at least one HDMI port. All Blu-ray players produced in 2010 and DVD players released in 2012 will likely be compliant as well.

China, which accounts for 20 to 30 percent of global output, was estimated to have churned out at least 650 million HDMI connectors and cable assemblies in 2009, up 30 percent from the previous year. The line now represents 20 percent of China's total supply in the A/V segment, and its share will continue rising.

Most makers forecast HDMI will replace RCA, D/D-sub and DVI. As the majority offers a range of products, they can shift easily to one type or adjust manufacturing ratios depending on demand and market developments. For some, HDMI variants currently take up Assembliesmore than 35 percent of turnout, and this will likely exceed 50 percent in the next year or two.

As regards the threat from DisplayPort, several see this category as a potential rival in computers and peripherals. Most, however, believe it will coexist with HDMI, as the interfaces will find their respective niches.

Given this, the majority will offer both types to broaden selections.

More than 90 percent of makers export their HDMI connectors and cable assemblies. The main destinations are the US, Europe, East and Southeast Asia, and the Middle East. Companies estimate a 20 percent rise in overseas trade in 2009 as orders started rebounding toward the end of the year. Tonetron and Wiretek, which ship all their HDMI products to foreign clients, see a

20 percent increase in exports in 2010. This will be supported by a price reduction as competition tightens and costs drop.

This article "HDMI connectors: Switch to HDMI 1.3 marks upmarket move" is originally posted in Global Sources.

Note: All price quotes in this report are in US dollars unless otherwise specified. FOB prices were provided by the companies interviewed only as reference prices at the time of interview and may have changed.

Disclaimer: All product images are provided by the companies interviewed and are for reference purposes only. Those product images featuring products with trademarks, brand names or logos are not intended for sale. We, our affiliates, and our affiliates' respective directors, officers, employees, representatives, agents or contractors, do not accept and will not have any responsibility or liability for product images (or any part thereof) which infringe on any intellectual property or other rights of a third party.

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