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New Revelations about HDMI 1.4a in 3D

While the HDMI 1.4a spec is supposed to support this, current 3D HDTVs and HDMI 1.4 connectors are limited to 1280X720P 60 FPS per eye performance in stereoscopic 3D gaming.  HDMI can go as high as 1080P at 24 FPS per eye, but this is intended for 3D Blu-Ray, and it's not a realistic option for gamers.  The HDMI 1.4a spec should be able to do much more, but the available port chips don't have the processing power to accomplish this.

Silicon Image

That's about to change (special thanks to Fredz for spotting this release)!  Among other things, Silicon Image specializes in creating HDMI port chips, and they are getting set to release a version that can support 1080P in 3D at a full 60 frames per second per eye.

Left to right: Gabriele Collier, Charlene Wan, Steve Venuti from HDMI Licensing

However, the next big question is this: do the HDMI ports have to be updated on the content devices (i.e. Blu-Ray, console, PC, etc.), the 3D displays, or both?  We caught up with Steve Venutti, President of HDMI LLC for the answer...

"Any increase in bandwidth is required on both sides.  It's the one thing that is definitely never possible through firmware - a hardware issue.  A TV can never accept more bandwidth than its receiver chip is capable of.  So, like 3D, you need the capability on both sides in order to get the full 300Mhz 1080p/60 RL experience." - Steve Venutti, President of HDMI LLC

According to Silicon Image's press release, they are still in the "sampling" stage, so it could be some time before we see 3D HDTVs capable of 1080P gaming at 60FPS or more in S-3D mode.  The good news for PC gamers is that they can still get a 1080P experience by using a side by side mode in the driver (where available), and console gamers need not worry because most S-3D games max out at 720P (for now).  This isn't a perfect solution, but it will get us by until those chips make it into the market.