Introduction to CEC

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What is CEC ?

CEC stands for Consumer Electronics Control.

CEC is a set of commands that utilizes HDMI’s two-way communication to allow for single remote control of any CEC-enabled devices connected with HDMI. For example, CEC includes one-touch play, so that one touch of play on the DVD will trigger the necessary commands over HDMI for the entire system to power on and auto-configure itself to respond to the command. CEC has a variety of common commands as part of its command set, and manufacturers who implement CEC must do so in a way that ensures that these common command sets interoperate amongst all devices, regardless of manufacturer.

CEC is an optional feature within the HDMI specification, which is supported by some manufacturers under their own proprietary names for their implementation of part of the CEC command set.

CEC implementation

CEC uses a one-wire bus running at approx. 400 Hz and is able to send around 30 bytes per second.

CEC availability

CEC is already available today but with a very limited multi-vendor interoperability.

Manufacturer Brand
Panasonic EZSynch / HDAVI / Viera Link
Sony Bravia Theater Synch / Bravia Link
Sharp AQUOS FamiLink
Toshiba CE-Link / Regza Link
Samsung AnyNet+
LG SimpLink


Message types

Request : ask another device to take an action or give information
Informative : status messages

Message targets

Targeted : sent to a unique device
Broadcast : sent to all the devices within the CEC networks

Message features

According to the HDMI-CEC specification, features are classified into two groups, end-user and supporting features. Some other “administrative” messages related to the general protocol are not officially classified.

End-user features

One Touch Play
Allows a device to be played and become the active source with a single button press.
System Standby
Enables the user to switch all devices to standby with one button press.
One Touch Record
Offers a What You See Is What You Record (WYSIWYR) facility, meaning that whatever is shown on the TV screen is recorded on a selected Recording Device.
Timer programming
Allows the user to program the timers in a Recording Device from an EPG running on a TV or STB.
Deck Control
Enables a device to control (e.g. play, fast forward etc.) and interrogate a Playback Device (a deck).
Tuner Control
Allows a device to control the tuner of another device.
Device Menu Control
Enables a device to control the menu of another device by passing through user interface commands.
Remote Control Pass Through
Enables remote control commands to be passed through to other devices within the system.
System Audio Control
Allows an Audio Amplifier / Receiver to be used with the TV. The volume can be controlled using any the remote controls of any suitably-equipped devices in the system.

Supporting features

Device OSD Name Transfer
Enables devices to upload their preferred OSD name to the TV. The TV can then use this name in any menus associated with that device.
Device Power Status
Allows the current power status of a device to be discovered.
OSD Display
Enables a device to use the on-screen display of the TV to display text strings.
Routing Control
Allows the control of CEC Switches for streaming of a new source device.
System Information
Queries the system to determine device addresses and language.
Vendor Specific Commands
Allows a set of vendor-defined commands to be used between devices of that vendor.
Audio Rate Control
Allows an Amplifier to fractionally increase or decrease the playback rate of an audio source.

General protocol messages

Abort mechanisms
Enables messages to handle abort mechanism