Honeywell, maker of all kinds of scary top-secret stuff, has just unveiled its design for a "self-diagnostic and self-healing" HDMI cable. No, this isn't like the self-healing armour that for all we know Honeywell also helped design; these new cables use a chip to correct signal as it passes through, and LEDs to tell the user what's going on.
Says David Coleman of Honeywell's CE Cable Products division:
"We've made this cable intelligent by integrating a chip into the connector that performs two major functions. First, the chip's line driver 'cures' corrupted HDCP and EDID data that can lead to serious audio and video artifacts. Second, we added 'light' in the form of LEDs embedded into the connector that let installers monitor the most critical elements of the HDMI interface for problems."
The question is, how much of a problem is corrupted data, and how much of a role do the components themselves (PS3, DVD player, cable box, TV, receiver) play in the fixing of signal? While Honeywell hasn't named its price—presumably because it will sell to vendors, not consumers—the cost will no doubt be expensive as hell.
Not only that, but the lengths of cable only go to 50 feet. That's a respectable distance, for sure, but in our testing, the possibility of problems lie in the longer distances, so perhaps Honeywell should forget about the shorter cables (there's even a 1.6 footer) and focus on 50 feet or longer.
That said, the LED concept is pretty cool: four LEDs indicate whether you have a live connection, whether there is actual video coming through and other situations that can occur. Neat, you know? But perhaps not worth the expense.
Honeywell Introduces First Self-Diagnostic & Self-Healing HDMI Cable -- Revolutionary New Honeywell CURxE Light Technology Automatically Corrects A/V Signals for Corrupted HDCP and EDID Data --
PLEASANT PRAIRIE, WI, August 29, 2007-- Honeywell (NYSE: HON) today announced the world's first HDMI digital cable with CURxE Light technology that automatically corrects corrupted HDCP and EDID data that would otherwise degrade high-definition picture and multi-channel audio performance.
Honeywell developed exclusive CURxE Light technology along with Spectrum Electronics' Jeff Bocaccio, one of the CE industry's most respected authorities on HDMI.
"We've made this cable intelligent by integrating a chip into the connector that performs two major functions," said David Coleman, Program Manager, CE Cable Products, Honeywell. "First, the chip's line driver 'cures' corrupted HDCP and EDID data that can lead to serious audio and video artifacts. Second, we added 'light' in the form of LEDs embedded into the connector that let installers monitor the most critical elements of the HDMI interface for problems."
"We are encouraged to see companies like Honeywell develop innovative HDMI products for the marketplace," said Les Chard, President, HDMI Licensing, LLC. "As HDMI proliferates and becomes the de facto standard for connecting home theater and PC devices, companies like Honeywell are leading the way with new applications of the technology to meet specific market needs."
AUTOMATIC SIGNAL CORRECTION HDCP and EDID data becomes corrupted as a result of inconsistencies of hardware manufacturers' implementation of HDMI, or excess transmission distances. Working in the background, CURxE Light Technology automatically cleans the bad data to its intended dynamic range for the best picture quality. Left uncorrected this corrupt data causes dropout of the picture or audio signal, incorrect resolution, intermittent "snow" in the picture, or a pink or blue hued screen.
BUILT-IN DIAGNOSTICS Four LEDs integrated into the cable's HDMI connector serve as self-diagnostic monitoring indicators. The four LEDs verify: Hot Plug detection, +5 Volts status, HDCP and EDID, pointing to either downstream, upstream or device problems depending on which LED fails to light. The fix may be as simple as switching inputs on the TV or can require a firmware upgrade of the DVD player, set-top box, AV receiver or other source. This first of its kind diagnostics should help installers save hours of time troubleshooting.
SUPERIOR CONSTRUCTION To help ensure pure, crystal-clear digital audio and video signals, the new cables feature full-balanced line transition-minimized differential signaling (TMDS); 100% foil shield with 25% overlapping, combined with a 90% tinned copper braid shield; plus bandwidth-maximizing silver-plated copper conductors. The male-to-male cables are designed for HDTV 480i, 480p, 720p, 1080i and 1080p. Lengths range from .5 meters (1.6 feet) up to 15-meters (49.2 feet)
For more information, call (800) 222-0060, or visit www.honeywellcable.com