You may remember a blog piece I wrote a couple of months back about a locking system for HDMI plugs.
If you don't, no worries – this isn't a test: the upshot of it was that an enterprising company in the States has come up with a little clamp, the HD EZLock, to hold an HDMI plug in an HDMI socket. And it works.
But it seems the body responsible for policing the HDMI interface, the HDMI Standards Organisation, is now taking a serious look at the problem, and highlighting some companies working on, or launching, connectors with some kind of 'latching' mechanism to hold them in place.
As the HDMI SO says, "Let’s face it: cables sometimes come unplugged. Kids, dogs, vacuum cleaners, and the law of gravity all conspire occasionally to unseat the HDMI connector."
It points out that the HDMI interface was "was originally designed for a thinner, relatively lightweight cable, whereas today’s high-performance cables can be considerably heavier. Since HDMI cables cannot be self-terminated, many users end up with connections that are a bit longer than they need, adding still more cable weight.
"And with many flat-panel displays, the HDMI ports are located on the bottom of the unit, facing down, further enhancing the role of gravity."
"Further enhancing the role of gravity" – I like that...
One of the connectors being highlighted by the organisation is the MagLoc, from US company Torrent. This uses a magnet in the plug to keep the connection solid, plus a an auto-adjusting sliding sleeve to let the plug cope with sockets of various depths.
The Torrent cables also have an integrated diagnostic function: VeriFYI checks signal transmission and shows all is well with an LED, as shown below.
The HDMI SO says that various mechanical latching systems are also under development, and expected to pass compliance testing soon.
These include latching prongs retracted by pushing down a button in the plug housing when connecting, and engaged when the button is released, and a system where the plug is inserted as usual, then locked in place with a swivel switch to activate the prongs.
The report concludes by saying that PC applications are likely to drive the need for a more secure connection, noting that "Of course in the PC world, latching connectors are the norm."
Couldn't have put it better myself – I'm just amazed it's taken this long for the HDMI people to realise...