Q - I'm looking at buying a surround sound system and I need a receiver. I've been debating between a number of models (Onkyo, Pioneer, Denon, to name a few), but I've started to notice there were some models from last year sporting HDMI 1.3a while this year's releases have a new 1.4a HDMI standard. What's the big difference between the two anyway?
A - Hey Josh,
We love home theaters so this is a fun question for us!
You can think of HDMI 1.4 as the successor to 1.3. Specifically, it adds 4 new features to your HDMI connection:
1) Higher resolution capabilities (allowing for Ultra High Definition 4K x 2K which is about 6x the resolution of 1080p)
2) Support for 3D video at 1080p with compatible Blu-Ray Players, Set-top Boxes, PCs and TVs.
3) Audio Return channel allowing audio from an HDMI 1.4 TV to be passed back to the receiver though the HDMI cable rather than having to run a separate audio cable to the TV
4) Ethernet link channel allowing all of your HDMI 1.4 devices to connect to the Internet though an existing HDMI cable provided that just one of your 1.4 devices is connected to the Internet via Ethernet or WiFi.
Also, an important point to note, is HDMI pass-through means that the receiver simply passes the video signal on exactly as it receives it with no modification or processing whatsoever. Therefore, if you're looking for a receiver that can take analog video sources and send them through a single HDMI cable to your TV, you'll want to avoid pass-through units.
We hope that helps! Let us know if you still need some clarification!