Originally developed for commercial systems, HDMI connectors have evolved through the years to include harsh environment solutions so reliable that they are used with mission-critical medical, military, and avionics applications.
HDMI Connectors Over the Years
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) connectors are an audio/video interface used to transmit audio and/or video data from an HDMI-compliant source to a compatible device. They were developed with the idea of simplifying pre-existing connectors, namely the DVI (Digital Video Interface) and analog RGB (Red Green Blue) component cables.
At the time, DVI connectors had a reputation for problematic mating and unmating that often led to damage of either the connector itself or the source. RGB cables had their own issues: because they would break down the source signal into three parts, interference often occurred and the connections were not always secure. HDMI cables were engineered to streamline the mating/unmating process and reduce the number of necessary connectors from three to one.
HDMI cables began development in April of 2002 and were released to the general public in December of that same year. Originally, there were seven different companies that produced HDMI cables, including such well-known brands as Panasonic, Toshiba, and Sony. Since its 2000 release, almost 10 billion devices with HDMI technology have shipped.
HDMI Connectors Today
HDMI has been steadily evolving since 2002 and version 1.0, with a total of seven versions including the latest, HDMI 2.1. There are also five different types of HDMI connectors:
- Type A (Standard)
- Type B (Dual-Link)
- Type C (Mini)
- Type D (Micro)
- Type E (Automotive Connection System)
HDMI Connectors for Harsh Environments
As HDMI connectors further evolved beyond consumer electronics, they were modified to ensure their performance in a variety of operating environments. Branching beyond the simplicity of consumer electronics, HDMI connectors are modified to withstand the environments of different applications, including modifications needed for harsh environments.
Harsh environment HDMI connectors can include a number of different modifications, starting with IP-rated sealing against contaminants such as fluids and fine particulate matter. There are also variations in housings, such as metals (e.g., copper alloy, aluminum, nickel), thermoplastics, and fluoropolymers. The choice of material in housing can provide environmental-specific protection against degradation due to such factors as chemical exposure, UV rays, extreme temperatures, and corrosion.
Coupling and locking mechanisms can ensure much more secure connections even when blind mate connections or vibration is involved. Over molding is another option for harsh environment HDMI connectors, providing strain relief and ensuring more reliable performance in rugged and environmentally challenging environments.
Applications of Harsh Environment HDMI Connectors
Since their creation, HDMI connectors have effectively provided a simplified interconnectivity solution for an extremely wide range of applications, including the following:
- Mission-critical systems
- Outdoor digital signage
- Vehicle displays
- Factory automation
- Digital video systems
- Flight management systems
- Military avionics
- Weather mapping
- Electronic flight bag applications
An excellent example of high performance, harsh environment HDMI connectors ideal for such applications would be the Sure-Seal® line.
Sure-Seal® HDMI Connectors
Sure-Seal® HDMI connectors are environmentally sealed and rated to IP67 to resist the ingress of dust, water, chemicals, and other contaminants. This product line of rugged electrical connectors is constructed of a rugged nylon body with a foolproof gasket to ensure they cannot be over-tightened. Sure-Seal® HDMI connectors have copper alloy, gold-plated contacts and operate over a wide temperature range. They are ideal for the most challenging of conditions and are ideal for industrial applications that require a reliable, tough connector.
Whether you need an off-the-shelf IP67 rated HDMI connector for an outdoor AV billboard or a custom solution for industrial automation in a factory filled with dust, PEI-Genesis can provide a solution. Our interconnect experts will work with you to find the right solution, leveraging their knowledge with a massive inventory of connectors to meet your design specifications.