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HDMI 1.4 connector & cable assembly output surge seen as migration from 1.3 accelerates

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DiiVA connector

This HDMI 1.4 cable assembly from Zhejiang Wanma has 19-pin male connectors and supports up to 10.2Gbps data rate.

The strong portable and automotive electronics segments will drive growth in China's HDMI 1.4 interconnects line.

The shift to HDMI 1.4 is gaining speed among China makers of connectors and cable assemblies adopting this digital A/V interface. Thirty to 40 percent of companies’ current output is now devoted to this category. The production share will hit 60 percent in the months ahead as more suppliers migrate from the 1.3 version and new entrants join the line.

Zhejiang Wanma Group Special Electron Cable Co. Ltd, the largest coaxial cable and cable assembly manufacturer in the country, is among the early adopters of HDMI 1.4. It has a monthly capacity of 10,000 cable assemblies, and plans are afoot to raise this to 50,000 units. In the next two or three years, the enterprise will increase emphasis on overseas shipments and adopt new technologies.

While HDMI 1.1, 1.2 and 1.3 interconnects are employed in HD multimedia devices such as TVs, DVD players and video cameras, 1.4 counterparts are suitable for portable and automotive electronics. Its type D plug supports 1080p and up to 5Gbps in mobile phones, digital cameras and video players, and game consoles. Robust demand for these gadgets is expected to boost sales of HDMI 1.4 connectors and cable assemblies by 20 to 30 percent.

Smartphones, in particular, present a strong growth area for such components. The handsets are followed by in-car entertainment, which is projected by iSuppli to generate $11.5 billion in revenue by year-end.

HDMI 1.4 can be used to connect automotive video systems via a new type of cable that can carry clear signals even in a moving vehicle. The E locking HDMI connector has also been introduced to secure in-car setups.

Type A interconnects prevailing

Type A connectors and cable assemblies account for more than 90 percent of China makers’ HDMI 1.4 output.

Some companies have stepped up to type D units, but offer them only in small batches. E connectors are rare, with only foreign-owned operations pursuing the category at present. Manufacturers nevertheless project production of the former will jump by 30 to 40 percent in the next one or two years, and more players will explore the second variety.

Zhejiang Wanma, which offers A-to-A HDMI 1.4 cable assemblies, plans to release A-to-D versions in coming months. It is looking to diversify into cable assemblies with E connectors next year or in 2013.

Sinotek Technology Co. Ltd, which concentrates on A connectors, recently started offering type D alternatives in small quantities. It will boost output of the latter by 30 percent in the next 12 months. The maker also aims to raise overall HDMI 1.4 interconnect yield by 30 to 40 percent.

HDMI 1.4 connectors: Type A male and female variants are mainstream in China’s selection. These RoHS-compliant units have 19 pins, steel/tin or nickel-plated shells and nickel- or gold-plated contacts that are made of either brass or phosphor bronze.

Some makers accept small orders for type D connectors, taking advantage of the rising number of digital electronics manufacturers, including Motorola, Nokia, Samsung and Dopod, adopting the standard.

Type A releases dominate Freeport Resources Enterprises Corp.’s output at 80 percent, with the rest being of the D variety. An example of the latter is the ATC-certified 65U series, which has a 0.2mm pin pitch.

Several suppliers are looking to introduce 2-in-1 connectors. Type E connectors are also expected to gain support from both local and foreign-invested companies in the country.

HDMI 1.4 cable assemblies: Unlike earlier generations, HDMI 1.4 cable assemblies come in five kinds of cables, namely standard and high-speed variants with and without Ethernet, and standard automotive types.

Most releases from China adopt standard cables with and without Ethernet, and high-speed versions without Ethernet support. The length can be 1, 1.5 or 2m, and many makers accept customer-specified requirements.

The majority of cable assemblies have two type A male or female connectors. Some also have A-to-D kinds or even USB.

All manufacturers comply with RoHS. Most will continue to emphasize OEM and ODM projects. Some enterprises are directing R&D efforts toward cable assemblies with types D and E connectors.

Zhejiang Wanma’s model WM-0373 HDMI 1.4 cable assembly uses A male-to-A male connectors. Targeted at HD DVD and Blu-ray players, game consoles, HDTVs and other A/V receivers, it boasts 10.2Gbps. The unit supports HDCP, Ethernet, 3D play, HEAC, and 480i/p, 720i/p and 1080i/p.

More than two-thirds of China cable assembly manufacturers outsource the connectors. The rest, mostly foreign-owned operations, produce HDMI 1.4 connectors themselves or develop a portion in-house and procure the balance. Sinotek makes both the connector and cable assembly in its own facility to guarantee high quality even at low cost.

The main raw materials for this line are copper, gold, tin and plastic, which are generally available locally. Combined, they account for more than 70 percent of total outlay. Despite stable supply since 2009, spending on inputs has been increasing, with rates last year climbing by 20 percent. This was exacerbated by swelling labor expenses, forcing makers to raise quotes by 5 to 10 percent.

Tech Update: HDMI 1.4 vs other digital interfaces

Since its release, HDMI 1.4 has been regarded as a rival to USB 3.0 and DisplayPort 1.2 in consumer electronics and PC applications. While all support high data rates, bidirectional data transmission and microconnectors, each interface has its advantages.

The 1.4 specification includes an HDMI Ethernet and an Audio Return Channel. It delivers 3D video and extremely high resolutions at 3840x2160 and 4096x2160 pixels. The standard boasts three additional color spaces specific to digital still cameras, namely the sYCC601, Adobe RGB and Adobe YCC601. There are also content profiles for games, movies, photos and texts, enabling a display to detect the current viewing mode automatically.

Further, the updated version defines a new connector for mobile phones and other portable devices. The type D microconnector is half the size of the C mini counterpart.

HDMI’s edge is in portable electronics, but even here its type D connectors face a potential rivalry from USB 3.0 microconnectors.

The last boasts support for fiber-optic transmission. DisplayPort 1.2 has the ability to daisy-chain multiple monitors, connecting two 2560x1600 WQXGA or four 1920x1200 WUXGA displays.

HDMI 1.4 could be facing a threat from Apple’s 10Gbps Thunderbolt. This latest I/O technology integrates USB 3.0 and DisplayPort features, presenting an ideal option for the iPod, iPhone and MacBook. The Thunderbolt is expected to be widely used in personal multimedia players, laptops, PCs and other HD video devices in the near future.

Product gallery

DiiVA connector

Astron Technology Corp.
(Taiwan)

Model: 3690019-X62-H
Description: Connector; UL94V-0-rated high-temperature plastic housing; in black; for handheld devices; OEM/ODM orders accepted

DiiVA connector

Chant Sincere Co. Ltd
(Taiwan)

Model: 908D(D1)
Description: Connector; copper alloy contact; steel shell; UL94V-0-rated thermoplastic insulator; 10mohm contact, 10Mohm insulation resistance at 500VDC; 500AC/min dielectric withstand, 40V operating voltage; 0.5A current rating; -20 to 85 C operating temperature; 5,000 insertions

DiiVA connector

Dongguan City Zhongzhou Electronics Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: HCB-0224C
Description: Connector; 10Mohm insulation resistance at 500VDC; 3kVAC dielectric strength; 100 to 240VAC, 47 to 63Hz input; 15V output; 0 to 40 C operating, -20 to 70 C storage temperatures; 20 to 90% RH; UL, CSA, RoHS

DiiVA connector

Freeport Resources Enterprises Corp.
(mainland China)

Model: 65U
MOQ: Negotiable
Delivery: 20 days
Description: D type connector; 0.2mm pin pitch; supports up to 100Mbps HDMI Ethernet channel, ARC, 3D image, 4000x2000-pixel resolution; ATC

DiiVA connector

MiraDeed Technology Corp.
(Taiwan)

Model: MD-6306021
Description: D-to-A type cable assembly; 36AWG wire; in black; <5m cable length; UL

DiiVA connector

Ningbo Hentek Dragon Electronics Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: ABS Housing Metallic HDMI AM to DM
Description: HDMI AM-to-DM cable assembly; tinned/bare copper wire; 24K gold-plated connectors; ABS metallic housing; multishield cable; in blue

DiiVA connector

Sinotek Technology Co. Ltd
(mainland China)

Model: BF1-2803M
MOQ: 500 units
Delivery: 5 days
Description: HDMI cable assembly; 24K gold-plated connector; 1080p; for HDTVs, DVD players, home theater systems, game machines

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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