ESD Protection for HDMI 2.0 Reference Design


The HDMI standard is used in many applications from set-topboxes to notebooks to TV’s. This reference design shows two distinct ways to protect the TMDS lines of a HDMI 2.0 drivers and retimers from electrostatic discharge (ESD).

Since its creation in 2002, High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) has remained one of the most popular interfaces for transmitting video and audio data. With each HDMI standard update, improvements in process technology have allowed manufacturers to increase data bandwidth and add additional features in smaller and smaller chipsets. However, with this decrease in size, HDMI  components have become more sensitive to transient voltages such as electrostatic discharge. This has created a need for ESD protection that clamp at very low voltages without compromising high-speed signal integrity.

ESD Protection for HDMI Applications Reference Design

Since HDMI ports are almost always external they are susceptible to an ESD event. The high-speed HDMI 2.0 signals mean that the drivers cannot integrate good ESD protection in the IC so a discrete ESD protection device is needed. The HDMI drivers are also generally extremely sensitive meaning the ESD protection has to be ultra-low clamping.


This reference design is to show two distinct ways to protect the TMDS lines of a HDMI 2.0 drivers and retimers from electrostatic discharge (ESD). This design will go through the initial HDMI 2.0 compliance data for two setups, the ESD testing done on each board and the final HDMI 2.0 compliance data after testing. For more information about protecting the other 5 pins on the HDMI connector please see the ESD Protection for HDMI Applications technote.


  • Assists in HDMI 2.0 Compliance
  • Higher than IEC 61000-4-2 Level 4 (±8kV) Protection
  • Provides Ultra-Low Clamping Voltage Necessary to Protect
  • Sensitive HDMI Drivers
  • Compatibility with both DP159 and TMDS181
Electronic Ballasts For Fluorescent Lamps


• Set-Top Boxes
• Notebooks
• TV’s

Click here for more details on the reference design.



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