An Update from HDMI LA: Gaming Tech, Inventory and More
(Transcript of Dealerscope Podcast, September 2022)
HDMI Licensing Administrator Inc. or HDMI LA, is the agent representing the HDMI specifications. For more information on HDMI 2.1A specification features, including the latest HDMI gaming features, visit www.hdmi.org
Hello and welcome to the Dealerscope Podcast. I'm your host Erinn Loucks, and today we're talking with Rob Tobias, CEO of HDMI Licensing Administrator. And I understand that this is HDMI's 20th anniversary, is that right?
That's correct. It's exciting. It's been 20 years since the first HDMI specification was released, the 1.0 specifically, back in the days when we were transitioning from the old tube analog TVs, for those that you can remember, those big giant, heavy monstrosities, moved from 480 to today, we're up to 8K. And so it's been an exciting 20 years. We've ridden the path of going to digital TV, flat screens, improved resolution, improved audio, all kinds of great enhancements that have led to such wonderful products that your listeners sell in their various lineups.
Yes. We wanted to go ahead and talk about some of the activity we've been seeing for manufacturers in the gaming market with new services and bundles and a lot of new choices for gamers, which is really exciting. From the perspective of HDMI LA, are these new developments exclusive to those hardcore gamers or are they available to all gamers and everybody?
Well, what's great about the latest iteration of the HDMI specification, the 2.1A, that has been widely adopted across the product ecosystem out there, is all of these game features, opens up the opportunity for casual gamers, the hardcore PC gamers, and we're seeing that in various iterations. The TV manufacturers have really embraced this. They've added the higher performance, higher bandwidth capabilities that deliver the high frame rates, the HDR high dynamic range capabilities, the faster refresh rates, 120 hertz up to 144 hertz in some cases, the auto latency modes and the advanced audio formats. And so TVs will make a great addition for the gaming portfolio. And in addition, the TV manufacturers have shrunk the size where they bring these features even down into the 32 inch range, so you can get some desktop level TVs that are high performance for gaming installations, whether it's for console or PC.
We're also seeing monitors starting to overlap with TVs. We're starting to see smart monitors. And so traditionally a monitor has been deemed dumb, it's just a display and you plug in your PC or your laptop and whatever the PC or laptop is doing is what's displayed on the screen. And that's been the way it's been for years. But now, these displays are doing double duty. And so we're starting to see what are called smart monitors where they're incorporating streaming capabilities. And so if your monitors not hooked up to your PC or your laptop, you're still able to kick back and stream content to that monitor. It also includes speakers because you obviously have to be able to hear as well as see, what's going on there.
Yes. This is great news for everybody. Resellers are about finished with their Q4 and Q1 planning and there is a lot of uncertainty in the supply chain, everybody's been talking about it. Inventory levels need to be managed. There's complicated timing. What is your main concern from HDMI LA's perspective?
Well, past three, four years have been very challenging from a supply chain perspective. We can go back to where the tariff wars between the US and China really started to impact the ability for resellers to find reasonably priced products and have to absorb those tariff costs, so you started to see a decoupling between the US and China manufacturing and some of that has moved to other countries like Vietnam and stuff. And then boom, the pandemic hits us, and boy, that just upended everything. And so couldn't get containers or backup at ports. There was the shutdowns in China.
This summer, we continued to see more of the COVID zero policy and disruptions of the supply chain and the manufacturing, there were power disruptions, droughts, et cetera. It's been a very big challenge to manage the inventory levels. There's tend to over order and then all of a sudden a bunch of x-ray inventory shows up. People emerged from the COVID cave and started traveling again so now you have excess inventories and had to work that down.
One of the things we want to bring to the attention of resellers out there and dealers, is make sure you understand your supply chain, who you're dealing with, make sure they are HDMI adopters, they are licensed. And it's very important from a number of perspectives why you want to ensure they're an HDMI adopter. The first is, HTMI adopters are required to test and certify their products are compliant with the specification. They do that by sending their products to authorize test centers where they are then tested and validated and certified that they are compliant with the specification. That's very important when you sell to consumers to know that when somebody buys that HDMI cable, buys that display, buys that game system, when they plug it in, it's going to work as advertised. Otherwise, you're going to deal with returns and dissatisfied customers.
The other important thing is there are counterfeiters out there, unfortunately. We all deal with that, one way or another. And we go after that because we want to ensure only quality products reach the marketplace and licensed products reach the marketplace. And so we work with international customs authorities and other policing and other activities to go after these counterfeits. We will go conduct raids in manufacturing hubs around the world where we go and bring the local government authorities to seize products, destroy products. We also deal with the customs and border protections around the world where they're attuned to looking for counterfeit products and detaining those and seizing and destroying them. Unfortunately there are examples were major retailer in the US had products seized and destroyed before the holiday season. And so that's going to impact their ability to stock product, sell product and they're going to lose sales.
And so we encourage brands, retailers, dealers, et cetera, in your contracts with your suppliers, mandate that they must be licensed and be an HDMI adopter. And also require and request the paperwork that goes along with it to prove that they are. We issue adopter certificates. We have a list on our website that lists the current adopters, also the terminated companies that have failed to stay current with their obligations for the license agreement. And we also recommend and pay attention to all the new environmental and packaging laws. There's also new laws about sourcing from the certain regions in China that customs are looking for ingredients, whether they contain things from some of these band regions and forced labor. Lots of things to pay attention to. Make sure that your products are going to be compliant, clean, safe, and good for your customers there.
Yes, that's great. Sounds like you have a lot of challenges, but you're handling it well. Not everybody in the industry can say that right now, so that's great. Well, Rob, thank you so much for being on the podcast. It's always great learning what's going on with HDMI LA and can't wait to hear what's coming next.
To learn more about our sponsor, HDMI LA, visit HDMI LA at www.hdmi.org
The terms HDMI, HDMI High-Definition Multimedia Interface, HDMI Trade Dress and the HDMI Logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc.
- Valerie Robbins
- November 09 2022