DesignWare Technical Bulletin Article

The DesignWare HDMI 1.4 IP Solutions Revolutionize Home Theatre Multimedia Devices

Introduced in June 2009, the HDMI 1.4 specification contains many important capabilities that have further revolutionized multimedia devices. While the HDMI 1.3 specification made some giant leaps in functionality by doubling the data rate, providing up to 2.8 trillion colors, lossless audio formats, 120 Hz frame rates and 1440p resolution modes, the HDMI 1.4 specification has further added some subtle but highly innovative features that will reinforce consumers' perception that HDMI equates to simplicity, reliability and performance. With full support for new features of the HDMI 1.4 specification including the HDMI Ethernet and Audio Return Channel (HEAC), 3D formats, real-time content signaling, 4K x 2K resolution and 10.2 Gbps aggregate bandwidth, the DesignWare HDMI TX and RX IP enable designers to quickly incorporate differentiated functionality into their home theater applications with less risk and improved time-to-market.

With designers incorporating networking capabilities in next-generation home entertainment devices, the HEAC block in the DesignWare IP for HDMI 1.4 solution helps simplify the connectivity between internet-enabled digital home devices by enabling the transfer of Ethernet and Audio frames through a single HDMI cable. The DesignWare IP for HDMI 1.4 also incorporates all 3D formats, which allows device manufacturers to heighten the viewing experience by supporting 3D techniques such as full side-by-side, half side-by-side and frame alternative. The real-time content signaling capability enables televisions to automatically optimize the picture setting with no user intervention. Support for 4K x 2K resolution delivers up to four times the resolution of 1080p, providing the same resolution as state-of-the-art digital cinema systems.

The DesignWare HDMI 1.4 IP solution includes a comprehensive set of IP deliverables, including baseline software drivers for system development that help designers quickly embed this complex interface into next-generation multimedia SoCs. Furthermore, the solution provides the following:

  • Compliance with HDMI and HDCP specifications with certification from the NXP HDMI authorized testing center and successful interoperability results from HDCP plugfest events
  • A superior analog front end that supports up to 20 foot category 2-certified HDMI cables, while maintaining high performance
  • Digital controllers delivered in configurable RTL allows designers to optimize gate count and power consumption by choosing only the features required in their application
  • PHY offering low power consumption and small die area
  • Numerous optional features such as High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) encryption engine, audio formats, audio DMA engine and system-bus interfaces that help ease the integration effort
  • System validation based on Synopsys' Confirma HAPS-51 rapid prototyping platform
For more information on the DesignWare HDMI 1.4 TX and RX IP, please visit us at