USB (an acronym for Universal Serial Bus) is a standard of communication that is commonly used for transferring data and powering devices. This standard introduced a new type of cable that was developed in the 1990s and has continuously evolved in the decades that followed. In this section, we outline the evolution of the USB cable and describe the types that exist today.
USB connectors come in several types: the default sizes (USB A, USB B and USB C), Mini USB type A and B and Micro USB A and B.
USB A has an elongated, rectangular form and can carry power and data. The USB A plug is used to provide a downstream connection to controllers or hubs.
USB B is narrower, squarer shaped and commonly used for connecting peripheral devices such as printers and scanners, or as an upstream port for USB hubs. USB B connectors are still in use today but slowly being phased out and replaced with USB C connectors and ports.
USB C is the newest USB interface, launched in 2014. With a narrower, more elongated shape than USB A, USB C has more pins enabling it to transfer a larger amount of power and data. USB typc C cable is currently compatible with Apple MacBooks with Thunderbolt 3 ports, Chromebooks and the most recent laptop models.
USB Mini plugs were designed for use on USB peripheral devices such as older smartphone models or digital cameras While still in use on some devices, USB Mini is now broadly seen as a legacy connector, and not certified as compatible with newer devices.
USB Micro is an even slimmer version of the USB mini-plugs, being better suited to newer models of OTG (on-the-go) devices while enabling the same level of connectivity. USB Micro is now the standard connection type for charging smartphones.
USB 1.0 is the original USB standard, where the limit for data transfer is 12Mbps. USB 1.0 was originally designed to connect peripheral devices such as mice, keyboards and game controllers. As the simplicity of the USB connector interface grew in popularity, the USB standard evolved to USB 2.0 in 2000.
USB 2.0 provided a much higher connection speed with a throughput of 480Mbps. The cable is also known as High Speed. The standard length of USB 2.0 passive cables is 5 meters. Active cables, on the other hand, can have a length of up to 20 meters.
The USB 3.0 specification was released in 2008. This type is also known as SuperSpeed, being able to transfer data at a speed up to 5.0Gbps. SuperSpeed USB cables can be told apart with the SS logo and the blue color in the internal part of plugs and port. The standard length for passive cables is 3 meters, while active cables can be up to 20 meters long. The 2nd generation of USB 3.1 can transfer up to 10Gbps of data.
HDMI, an acronym for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, is an interface for transmitting digital audio and video data from a source device to a presentation/output device such as a projector or display or digital audio device. The initial HDMI standard HDMI 1.0 was created in 2002 as a collaboration between major technology manufacturers including Panasonic, Phillips, Sony and Toshiba. Since then, this data transmission interface has evolved and improved, and several versions of HDMI are now available. Each new HDMI version has brought about an exponential increase in audio/video capacity, resolution, improved color spaces, and advanced features such as CEC (Consumer Electronics Control), 3D and Ethernet data connection.
HDMI Cable Types
HDMI Standard cables work with resolutions up to 720p and 1080i with bandwidth capacity up to 5 GB/s. It is suitable for HDMI versions 1.0 to 1.2a.
HDMI High-Speed cables work with resolutions of 1080p, as well as [email protected], 3D, and Deep Color. This type of cable has a bandwidth capacity of up to 10 GB/s. It is recommended to use this type of HDMI cable if you are connecting a 1080p HD display to a 1080p HD content source. It is suitable for HDMI versions 1.3 to 1.4a. With the HDMI 1.4 standard, this cable can also be used for 3D video.
Premium HDMI Cable is a certification that ensures the HDMI has been tested for reliable performance of advanced display technology such as [email protected], HDR and expanded color range including BT.2020. The bandwidth capacity is 18 Gbps and it is optimized for HDMI version 2.0.
The latest HDMI cable type - the Ultra-High-Speed HDMI cable - is the only one that complies with the specifications required to support the HDMI 2.1 specification. This includes uncompressed [email protected] and [email protected], and a bandwidth capacity of 48GBps.