There are five types of connector used with HDMI. Although the main type seen on televisions and other domestic AV equipment is the most widely used, other types exist for other applications as well.
The most common HDMI connector is the type A connector and along with the Type B, these were launched with the initial standard. Other types have been introduced since then to meet specific needs.
HDMI connector types
The different HDMI connector types have remained unchanged after their introduction. This has enabled backwards compatibility to be maintained over the life of the standard.
With the exception of the dual link Type B connector, they all have 19 pins enabling the standard to remain the same across all connector types.
Summaries of the different connector types are given below:
- HDMI Type A connector: This connector was launched with the original standard and has been the mainstay of the HDMI standard since then. The plug or male connector has outside dimensions of 13.9 mm × 4.45 mm, and the receptacle or female connector has inside dimensions of 14 mm × 4.55 mm.
There are 19 pins and the bandwidth is able to carry all SDTV, EDTV, HDTV, UHD, and 4K modes. This connector type is electrically compatible with single-link DVI-D.
- HDMI Type B connector: This connector was also launched with the original standard in 2002 and it is aimed at carrying dual link DVD-I video. The connector has never been used in products because with the introduction of HDMI 1.3, the speed of a single link exceeded that of the old dual link. As the connector is larger than the single link standard style, there has been no reason for its use. However it is still retained within the specifications.
This type of HDMI connector measures 21.2 mm × 4.45 mm and has 29 pins, carrying six differential pairs instead of three.
- HDMI Type C connector: This is the mini-HDMI connector and is smaller than the Type A connector, measuring 10.42 mm × 2.42 mm but still retaining the 19-pin configuration. It was introduced in HDMI Version 1.3.
There are differences in the connector configuration: all positive signals of the differential pairs are swapped with their corresponding shield, the DDC/CEC Ground is assigned to pin 13 instead of pin 17, the CEC is assigned to pin 14 instead of pin 13, and the reserved pin is 17 instead of pin 14.
The HDMI Type C connector can be connected to a type A connector but it requires the use of a type A-to-type C cable.
The HDMI Type C connectors are very common on many pieces of portable equipment. Some examples include: DSLR cameras, camcorders, larger tablets and sat nav systems.
- HDMI Type D connector: The size of the HDMI Type D connector is very similar to the micro-USB connector and as a result the Type D is often known as a micro HDMI. The measurements are just 6.4 mm × 2.8 mm and within this outline the micro-HDMI retains the 19 pins of the other connectors, although the pin assignments are different. This connector was introduced with HDMI Version 1.4.
- HDMI Type E connector: The Type E HDMI connector is aimed at automotive applications. This connector was introduced with HDMI Version 1.4.
In order to prevent it vibrating loose it incorporates a locking tab and also a shell to help prevent dirt and moisture from entering. Additionally a relay connector is available for connecting standard consumer cables to the automotive ones and enabling an interface to consumer AV items which is happening increasingly.
Female and male HDMI connectors
There is a convention for connectors that the source of power, data, audio etc has a female connector and the item taking the power, audio, etc is male. The reason for this is that the female connector pins, by the very nature of a female connector are protected and cannot suffer a short circuit by the accidental shorting by an external metallic object.
However many modern connectors also have male areas that are protected and there is less chance of short circuits.
Accordingly female HDMI connectors are usually built into both the static devices at either end of the connection, e.g. a TV or display, and a computer , DVD, etc. In other words female HDMI connectors are present on the signal source device and the receiving device. Male HDMI connectors are then attached to both ends of the connecting cables.
Part of the reason for this is that many of the communications occur in both directions and therefore, even though one may be a signal source as such, the receiving device still sends signals and other data out. As a result is is sensible to adopt the strategy that the devices have female connectors and the cables have male HDMI connectors.
Normally the female HDMI connectors are recessed into the body of the various devices but even so they tend to be damaged more easily as a result of the strain sometimes applied accidentally if the cables are pulled in the wrong direction, etc. As a result, the female HDMI connectors tend to be sold more frequently as replacement connectors!
Even if male connectors on a cable are damaged on the shorter commercially made HDMI cables, the difficulty of replacing them and the cost of the connector compared to a new HDMI cable means that a new HDMI cable is bought rather than trying to attempt a repair.
The variety of HDMI connectors ensures that the HDMI standard can be successfully used in many different areas and they can accommodate the requirements of users of the many different applications for which HDMI is used.