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What are the Licensing Costs Associated with HDMI?

Friday, April 25, 2014

Being a design-centric distributor, it is our responsibility to expose customers to license/royalty fees associated with using any technology. One of the most common questions that customers ask is about HDMI licensing. Given that we help implement hundreds of HDMI designs, we figured it would be best to document all the facts in one place to make a quick reference guide.

What it Means to be an HDMI Adopter

First, you will notice the term “Adopter” repeatedly used in any HDMI related document. Let’s address who an HDMI Adopter is, and the advantages of being one. 

HDMI specification is not an open standard; you need to be licensed by HDMI LLC in order to implement HDMI in any product or component. Companies who are licensed by HDMI LLC are known as HDMI Adopters.      

While earlier versions of HDMI specs are available to the public for download, only Adopters have access to the latest standards (HDMI 1.4/1.4a/2). Additionally, here is why you should consider becoming an Adopter:

  • Only Adopters have access to Compliance Test Specification (CTS) that are used for compliance and certification. This is required before any HDMI product can be legally sold.
  • Adopters have IP rights.
  • Adopters receive the right to use HDMI logos and TMs on their products & marketing materials.
  • Adopters are listed on HDMI website. 
  • Products from Adopters are listed and marketed in official HDMI product finder database.
  • Adopters receive more exposure through combined marketing, such as the annual HDMI Developers Conference and technology seminars.

The HDMI Fee Structure Explained

Now that we understand the term HDMI Adopter, let’s review the fees associated with being an Adopter, namely annual fees and royalty fees. There are 2 annual fee structures: 

  • High-volume (more than 10,000 units) HDMI Adopter Agreement - $10k/year. 
  • Low-volume (10,000 units or less) HDMI Adopter Agreement - $5k/year + flat $1/unit administration fee. 

The annual fee is due upon the execution of the Adopter Agreement, and must be paid on the anniversary of this date each year thereafter.   

The royalty fee structure is the same for all volumes. The following variable per-unit royalty is device-based and not dependent on number of ports, chips or connectors:

  • US$0.15 for each end-user licensed product.
  • US$0.05 – If the HDMI logo is used on the product and promotional material, the per-unit fee drops from US$0.15 to US$0.05. Use of HDMI logo requires compliance testing. 
  • US$0.04 – If HDCP is implemented and HDMI logo is used, the per-unit fee drops further from US$0.05 to US$0.04.

Please note that Adopters must license HDCP separately from Digital Content Protection, LLC, an Intel subsidiary. Please see www.digital-cp.com for details.

The HDMI royalty is only payable on Licensed Products that will be sold on a stand-alone basis (i.e. that are not incorporated into another Licensed Product that is subject to an HDMI royalty). For example, if a cable or IC is sold to an Adopter who then includes it in a television subject to a royalty, then the cable or IC maker would not pay a royalty, and the television manufacturer would pay the royalty on the final product. If the cable is sold directly to consumers, then the cable would be subject to a royalty.



If you are interested in adding HDMI connectivity to your design, call Symmetry Electronics at (310) 536-6190, or contact us online.

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Why partner with Symmetry Electronics? Symmetry's technical staff is specially trained by our suppliers to provide a comprehensive level of technical support. Our in-house Applications Engineers provide free design services to help customers early in the design cycle, providing solutions to save them time, money and frustration. Contact Symmetry for more information.

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