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HDMI 2.1: What You Need to Know

There is a new HDMI standard ensuring lower latency. This means transmission speeds between transmitting and receiving devices have further increased setting precedence for seamless HDMI applications.

Would You Need New HDMI Cables?

The HDMI 2.1 standard for was released by HDMI Forum just recently.

While there isn't a stated disruption to traditional HDMI features, HDMI 2.1 comes with a number of improvements.

Some of these improvements include:

Better 4K and Speed

HDMI 2.0 is actually great for home devices and is widely used, however, HDMI 2.1 is much faster. Compared to the older version (HDMI 2.0), the new variant has almost three times more bandwidth.

HDMI 2.1 have a maximum speed of 48Gbps compared to the former’s 18Gbps. If you use a 4K TV with a HDMI 2.1 cable, it can relay 4K videos at about 120 frames in one second. We are talking about natively relayed video, not the interpolated and motion processed 24, 30 and 60fps videos most TV sets with 120Hz do display. This means that you’ll have smoother motions which look more natural.

The increased speed of HDMI 2.0 ensures broadened support for efficient High Dynamic Range (HDR) video. Dynamic HDR ensures that the dynamic range of colors, texture and contrast is not static but variable. It also allows for metadata addition, giving more detail to bright scenes and showing detailed shadows off dark scenes.

HDMI 2.1 is 8k Enabled

4K video became popular with the advent of HDMI 2.0 but HDMI 2.1 goes a step further by supporting 30fps for 8K. It also enables the 60fps higher resolution.

Technically, HDMI 2.1 already supports 10K resolution in relation to projected bandwidths, however, 10K is yet to be defined.

By speculation, 8K120 and 10K120 are supported by HDMI 2.1.

However, don’t rush to buy an 8K TV just yet, a 4K TV will still be good to look at for several years to come. As stated by the HDMI Forum, about 400,000 8K TVs will be sold globally in the coming years.

8K technology remains quite unstable owing to a significant absence of TV manufacturing in this regard.

New Cables and Devices

Game consoles, media streaming devices and TVs will have to get hardware upgrade to utilize HDMI 2.1. I'm sorry but a firmware upgrade isn't going to cut it this time. This is because, higher bandwidth requires hardware connections with more speed, hardware which is lacking in current HDMI standard connectors.

Ultra High Speed HDMI cables would be required to connect HDMI 2.1 devices. The cables will look like previous HDMI cable versions and should function in similar fashion.

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