The licencing company which looks after the HDMI specification has confirmed that some Mini DisplayPort-to-HDMI adaptors are illegal, and is likely to demand that they are recalled.
According to Charlene Wan, director of marketing for HDMI LLC, any cable that does not include HDMI connectors on both ends violates the specification and that includes the popular plug that Apple uses.
Apple appears to be an enthusiastic supporter of the dodgy plugs. Mini-DisplayPort-to-HDMI adapters are also sold by Belkin on Apple's website. There are shedloads of Apple products that use mini-DisplayPort connections, including the MacBook, MacBook Air, Mac Mini, and Mac Pro.
But if Wan is right, then they are outside the spec, as are Dell and other PC OEMs who also use mini plugs.
Companies that make and sell cables that have a DisplayPort male connector on one end and an HDMI male connector on the other end "have been told that this product is unlicensed and cannot be sold," Wan told PC Mag.
Cables without an HDMI connector on each end are not defined by the specification, and can't be tested. That makes them illegal.
So far the standards body has not insisted on a recall. Wan said it's up to the adopters for what they need to do. On one hand it is illegal to make and sell non compliant products and the HDMI LLC has the right to demand all retailers and channels to remove any and all non complaint products from the shelves.
Adopters who do not do what they are told can lose their rights to make/sell HDMI products.
Belkin has denied that the cable it sold on Apple's Web site is illegal. It said that it was just an adaptor and not a cable. A spokesman said that it did not sell a cable with a male Mini-DP and male HDMI port, which is what falls out of compliance.
Wan admitted that the specification "contemplates" a DisplayPort-to-HDMI product which might make legal sabre rattling a bit difficult.