Technology

HDMI 2.1- Know the Advanced Consumer Entertainment Features

HDMI 2.1
Written by prodigitalweb

What is HDMI 2.1?

It is a physical connector that works as a pathway between the content source and video source. It is backward-compatible with the typical technology.

The HDMI 2.1 comes with up to 8K resolutions capability. To handle the high resolutions, you need to use Ultra High-Speed cables. But these cables of no use if you don’t have an 8K TV.

HDMI  Versions: 

Version 1:

The number of the versions are usually X.y. The number X is figured as one initially. Thus, it is considered as HDMI version 1.

Version 1.0:

This version’s release date was 9th December 2002. The cables of this version come with all basic capabilities. This format uses the typical DVI concept. The cables of the 1.0 version come with an audio and video interface. It helps to transfer the high-definition videos. The speed of data transfer is up to 4.95 Gbps.

Version 1.1:

The release date of the version was on 20th May 2004. It is compatible with high-quality DVD audio. The version comes with a direct update to the basic specification. With the help of these cables, you can transmit high-quality DVD-Audio signals.

Version 1.2:

8th August 2005 is the release date of the 1.2 version. This version comes with new technologies. It is an excellent solution for universal DVD players that features Direct Stream Digital and DSD. Besides, it helps to transmit Audio CD, SACD contents.

Version 1.2a:

The release date, in this case, is 14th December 2005. It includes command sets along with CEC compliance tests.

Version 1.3:

The version was released on 22nd June 2006. These cables help to boost the single-link bandwidth. It increases the bandwidth to 340 MHz at 10.2 Gbps. This cable increases the 8-bit color resolution up to 10-bit, 12-bit, and 16-bit in each channel.

Version 1.3a:

Compared to others, it is a minor update. It lets you know the number of electrical cable updates.

Version 1.4:

The release date of this version is 28th May 2009. According to the usability and useful features, it is the major update. It includes an HDMI Ethernet Channel between two HDMI connected devices for enabling an internet sharing connection.

Version 2:

It is the first update that the new HDMI Forum introduced.

Version 2.0:

The release date of this wire is 4th September 2013. People know it as HDMI UHD. This version comes with several improvements.

  • It enhances the bandwidth to transfer data at a speed of 18 Gbps.
  • The version allows you to use 8b/10b encoding.
  • This 2.0 version supports UHD video of resolutions up to 4K.
Version 2.0a:

It is a minor update released on 8th April 2015. The cables of this version transmit static metadata to run High Dynamic Range video.

Version 2.0b:

It was released in March 2016. This one allows you to run HDR video.

HDMI Version 2.1:

The latest version of this standard was released on 28th November 2017. It includes support for refresh rates. Besides, these cables can support 10K resolution at 120 Hz. Again, it can specify HDR metadata in every scene or each frame.

HDMI 2.1 Specification

This 2.1 version is the latest version of the HDMI. This type of wire is compatible with a high range of video resolutions up to 10K. On the other hand, the refresh rate of the product is 8K60 and 4K120. It supports the Dynamic HDR formats. In this case, the maximum bandwidth capability is 48Gbps. This cable comes with ultra high-bandwidth features and offers uncompressed 8K video along with HDR. Besides, the low EMI helps to decrease interference with the wireless devices. In this case, EMI stands for electromagnetic interference. What makes it exceptional is that it supports the existing installed HDMI devices.

Specifications:
  • The high video resolution is compatible with a quicker refresh rate. It helps you to get an impressive viewing and proper fast-action detail. The resolutions also allow you to use the wire for commercial AV, industrial purposes.
  • With the Dynamic HDR support’s help, you can enjoy a video with brightness, contrast, and depth. It allows you to see videos even in frame-by-frame mode. The Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable makes the connection compatible with 48G bandwidth. The mind-grabbing feature of the cables are:
  • These wires have low EMI emission and backward compatibility with the previous version of HDMI.
  • The advanced gaming specifications add an extra level of smoothness and seamless motion to movies, gaming, video, etc. VRR or Variable Refresh Rate decrease lag and frame tearing. Therefore, you can get more detailed gameplay. Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) provides an exact latency setting to enjoy a smooth and lag-free view.
  • Besides, QMS stands for Quick Media Switching. It helps to discard the delay and doesn’t give any blank screen.
  • QFT stands for Quick Frame Transport. It helps to decrease latency so that you can enjoy lag-free gaming. Besides, it mitigates the latency of real-time interactive virtual reality.
  • The HDMI 2.1 wires can get power directly from HDMI Connector. In this case, you don’t need to take the help of any power cable. Quick Media Switching (QMS) helps to reduce the delay for videos. As a result, you will not see the blank screen before the content gets displayed.

Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable  

The features of this wire add a new cable – the Ultra-High-Speed HDMI Cable. This high-speed cable is compatible with all features of HDMI 2.1, like uncompressed 8k@60 and 4K@120. Moreover, the additional bandwidth of the cable can support up to 48Gbps. There is a certification program that is mandatory for all Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cables.

It confirms that this Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable supports all the features of HDMI 2.1. For example, it ensures you that the cables support 4K and 8K video, HDR, VRR, eARC features. The manufacturers should test and certify the wires. The certification ensures that these wires will decrease the chance of interference with media players, wireless networks, Bluetooth devices, and phones. Also, cables of any length need to pass testing from the Forum ATC. It stands for Authorized Testing Center.

HDMI 2.1- Advanced Consumer Entertainment Features

HDMI 2.1 resolution and refresh rates

The new version offers you a quicker refresh rate than the previous. It can display an 8K resolution video at 60 frames in one second. On the other hand, if it is a 4K video, it can show 120 frames every second. Jeff Park was a marketing director at HDMI Licensing. According to him, people have increased resolutions along with frame rates. The HDMI 2.1 wires can support resolutions of about 10K at a frequency of 120Hz.

HDMI 2.1: do I really need 8K anyway?

Perhaps, you think whether you have 8K-capable hardware and connectors or not. It may happen that you don’t have these kinds of hardware and connectors. Perhaps, you watch almost all contents in SDR or HD on TV. Besides, the industry is still trying to adjust the flurry of 4K capable sets.

In case you don’t have an 8k TV on the radar, HDMI is looking forward to being used in VR. Perk said that “8K content will have to follow, but it’s not all about linear content these days – it’s about VR,” The main target of VR

is high-resolution power and frame rates. However, now the main focus of VR applications is 8K at 240Hz frequency. It is not available in the HDMI 2.1 spec. But you can get it available in the next version of HDMI. Park thinks that a few broadcasters can go direct to the 8K by skipping 4k transmissions. These 2.1 wires have a focus on mainly VR GAMING.

Game Mode VRR

The VRR gaming mode feature refers to the real-time interaction. Here, VRR stands for Variable Refresh Rate. It indicates that you will get less image lag, stutter, and frame tearing. This effect is similar to FreeSync and G-Sync that you can see on PC. The HDMI 2.1 comes with a 3D graphics processor. With the help of it, the HDMI latest version can show real-time images. If you are a gamer, then it is really good news for you. It will be able to find a huge use of it in the field of VR. That means you will get a better experience that is beneficial for gaming, whether it is traditional gaming or cinematic. You need to increase infidelity to make an immersive VR. That’s why, nowadays, 360° 8K capture devices are mostly used. Insta360 One X is an example of it.

According to Park, “it will have an immediate impact on all gaming applications. Whether it’s 480p gaming or 8K, it doesn’t matter – you’ll get that immediate feedback and interaction with 2.1.”

Also, there is a Quick Frame Transport (QFT) feature, which can give you benefits. It helps to decrease latency. If you are a fast-paced gamer or an online multiplayer, it is an extra advantage.

What is Dynamic HDR?

It comes with Dynamic HDR that is good news for home cinema aficionados. It indicates that you will enjoy clearer images with more depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and so on. Nowadays, we measure the value of dynamic HDR by taking the average value of HDR throughout the movie. It gives you benefits at a percentage, but you won’t get it in each scene properly. The Dynamic HDR allows applying the HDR metadata in every frame or scene by scene. If it comes to producing Frame by frame HDR, it will take too much time. But the scene by scene one is feasible.

Higher Bandwidth, More Pixels

HDMI has three types of bandwidth— 1.4, 2.0, and 2.1. It comes with 18 Gbps bandwidth. Most importantly, it can easily support an uncompressed 4K signal at 60fps. Even it enables you to see up to eight-bit color. If you are playing games on Xbox One X, then it is the perfect option for you.

Now, it comes to HDMI 2.1 that is the latest version of HDMI. It can support an uncompressed 8K signal at 60 fps. Besides, you can see videos in 12-bit color using a bandwidth of 48 Gbps. The HDMI wire allows pushing even a 10K signal using display stream compression. This feature is known as DSC that helps to push the 10k signal in 12 bit. . However, a few implementations only use ports having 40 Gbps. With its help, a 4K signal in 10-bit color at 120 fps can be easily handled. These ports enable you to get the benefits of 10-bit panels also. You can find these panels on consumer-grade TVs.

Advantage for Gamers

Now, the main focus of HDMI 2.1 is on the Gamers. These Gamers are mainly hopping on the graphics card train and next-generation console. It is compatible with both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5. Each of these supports 4K resolution at 120 fps. However, the HDMI standard needs implementation. In case your tv doesn’t support HDMI 2.1, you need to go with a 4K signal.

We have already told you that 2.1 is the latest version. In contrast, NVIDIA comes with only thirty new series cards in its pipeline. However, all of these are compatible with the standard. But the earlier RTX 2000 and GTX 1000 cards don’t support 2.1 version. There are plenty of TV manufacturers who don’t add HDMI 2.1 in the top-tier displays. Sony is one of these TV manufacturers. People are expecting this new standard to take off in 2021.

Support for Dynamic HDR

The dynamic HDR comes with plenty of bandwidth. HDR, High Dynamic Range, offers contents in different color combinations. For example, you can see movies and games in various colors. HDR10 is an older HDR standard that can support static metadata only. On the other hand, both the latest HDR10+ and Dolby Vision support dynamic metadata. These can be supported on every scene or frame.

With its help, you can know more details regarding what to do with the received signals, and so on. Besides, it can provide the TV with continuous updates. As a result, you don’t need to read one set of instructions for a movie. It lets you know the method of tweaking the image on-screen through the updates.

Those TVs are HDR capable, compatible with HDR10 and the static metadata of it.

Nowadays, dynamic HDR is the best choice. In contrast, Dolby Vision is such a format that is widely supported. Hardware manufacturers such as LG, Sony, Panasonic, and Philips prefer to use it. Samsung is going to use HDR10+. This latest version of it is an open format. You should know that there is no need to help an HDMI 2.1 device displaying HDR10+ and Dolby Vision. TVs that support this version can stream Dolby Vision content.

These HDMI 2.1 wire ensures that there will be a lot of bandwidth for metadata and high-resolution signals. But the implementation process of HDR using PlayStation 5 or Xbox Series X is still unknown.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)

Refresh rate indicates the number of times the panel refreshes in each second. The unit of this refresh rate is hertz. If the display shows more than one frame at a time, you will get an effect. This is known as “screen tearing.” It will happen if the PC or console is not ready. Whether you want to remove screen tearing, then you need to adjust the display’s refresh rate. In this case, you need to match your console’s Or PC’s frame rate.NVIDIA and AMD companies follow different methods to eliminate screen tearing. We know it as G-Sync and FreeSync, respectively.

This standard has a separate solution, also called HDMI Variable Refresh Rate. In short, it is known as VRR. Microsoft has confirmed that both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 will support this specification. If you want to get the experience of the next-generation console, then you need HDMI VRR.

Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)

It is another mind-grabbing feature for the next-gen console gamers. In recent times, most TVs come with all types of extra processing. This processing helps to improve picture quality, smooth out motion and boost audio clarity. You can see the effect while watching movies and TV. But for those who love to play games, it is latency. You can replace the game mode with TV whenever you want. It is effective for those games which need quick reflexes. However, there is an issue in this case. It is that you need to switch on and off the game mode.

It is when ALLM comes to its use. As soon as the HDMI 2.1-compliant TV identifies any supported console, it will disable all extra processing. But to enable it, you don’t need to do anything. According to Microsoft, ALLM can support the Xbox Series X.

Quick Frame Transport (QFT)

It is also a special feature, especially for gamers. QFT stands for Quick Frame Transport. Similar to ALLM, this feature offers a fantastic responsive gaming experience. Moreover, it helps to prioritize video frames to maintain the latency. But if you want to use this feature, you need to use an intermediary device. For example, you can take the help of a surround sound receiver. It will help you to take the benefit of Quick Frame Transport. It makes you sure that all the devices are working together to offer a smooth and responsive experience. Are you routing the console with the help of a receiver? Then it won’t give you benefits if it is designed for HDMI 2.0 only.

Quick Media Switching (QMS)

Sometimes, you can see the screen turned into black before watching any movie or video. It happens because the display tries to manage the refresh rate so that you can watch the content. Different contents come with different frame rates. That’s why the display needs syncing every time. Due to this, you can miss the first few seconds of the video. It is also a reason why some content providers are delaying their playbacks. However, the resolution remains the same always. In this case, Quick Media Switching removes the black part by adjusting the refresh rate. With the help of it, you can watch content. But there will be no blackout. HDMI VRR helps to transit smoothly from one to another refresh rate.

Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)

ARC that we know as Audio Return Channel helps to send audio using HDMI cables. It transfers the audio signal to the surround receiver. In this case, you don’t need any extra optical audio cable. ARC always sends the audio to the right output. It doesn’t matter whether you are playing games or watching Netflix.

This return channel is a part of the HDMI 2.1 standard, where extra bandwidth remains. It helps eARC in carrying uncompressed 5.1, 7.1 audio signals. The arc also helps to send the object-based audio in 24-bit resolution. Enhanced Audio Return Channel makes it possible with the help of its 37 Mbps bandwidth. It is much more effective compared to the regular 1 Mbps.

It is helpful for those who want to carry a Dolby Atmos signal. However, some enhancements include proper lip-synch correction, better device discovery, and an improved eARC data channel.

Do HDMI 2.1 Devices need Special Cables?

These devices come with higher bandwidth. That’s why you must have HDMI 2.1-compliant cables to get the benefits of these advanced features. The HDMI Licensing Administrator has given the ‘Ultra High Speed’ tag to these cables. Devices that use HDMI 2.1 come with a cable in their box. Game consoles, Blu-ray players are examples of these devices. If you are buying any HDMI cable, you should avoid overpriced “premium” wires. 

HDMI 2.1 vs. HDMI 2.0

Different HDMI standards are compatible with different data amount transmission. The audio and video quality range vary in this case. The difference between these two is quite noticeable. You can play a PS5 game in 4K at 60fps. Most importantly, compared with the 4K at 30fps, it will run far better.

Again, you can increase the frame rate while playing games on TV. But it is when your TV has an HDMI 2.0b port. You can boost the frame rate when you decrease the resolution. For example, you increase the frame rate to 4K at 60fps. It indicates that you can play games in Ultra HD quality. But these have silky-smooth frame rates.

HDMI on PS5

You can use PS5 to get outputs in 8K at 60fps. Besides, it supports games in 4K resolution. You can run it at both 60 or 120 frames per second. But, it is unable to run games at 1440p resolution. This PS5 takes the help of an HDMI 2.1 connection. With the help of this connection, you can use the next-gen consoles. These consoles can support frame rates up to 120 fps higher than the average 60 fps and 30 fps frame rate. You can find these frame rates in current-gen hardware.

It enables you for better frame rates. Besides, it will help to transfer 4K and 8K images. You can transfer pictures of different resolutions from the console to your TV. But you need to check whether your tv supports the resolutions or not. In this case, you can play 8K games only at 60fps.

You can find a few PS5 games targeting higher graphical fidelity. For example, Demon’s Souls comes with various modes that offer better frame rates. You need to check the capabilities of PS5 first. It indicates that you can play games in 4K resolution at 60fps or in HD at 120fps. However, the right parameters vary as per the game.

Look for “HDMI Ultra High Speed” Cables:

The HDMI forum oversees this standard. In contrast, the licensing of the technology is overseen by the HDMI Licensing Administrator. The device manufacturers need to be matched with the standards of the HDMI Forum. It is essential to manufacture a product that gets a license by the HDMI Licensing Administrator. The latest standard of HDMI is HDMI 2.1.

However, the overseers of HDMI give a different name. People who want to buy this HDMI 2.1-compatible cable need to search by the word ‘HDMI Ultra High Speed.’ To get a quality product, you need to find an “Ultra Certified Cable” hologram along with a QR code on the box. It means that this product got a certificate from the HDMI Licensing Administrator.

Verify Your Cable Purchases with the Official App

If you have an android or iPhone, then use the official HDMI Certification app for the verification. You need to verify the cable’s authenticity while purchasing a cable at any shop. You need only to install the app and then point the phone’s camera towards the packaging. After that, you need to wait for a while. Next, you will see a message greeting you “Congratulations.” It lets you know that you have got the certified cable. According to the HDMI Licensing Administrator, the cable name should be printed on the outer jacket.

If there doesn’t remain any sticker Or hologram on the box, it doesn’t mean that the cable will not work. Make sure that the cable is not tested, although these can work too. But there is no guarantee that these will have 48Gbps carrying speed. If you see that the cable is not working, instead of having a hologram Or sticker, then return it. After that, you should take a refund also.

Disadvantages low and Cheap HDMI Cables

If there seems any problem with your home entertainment setup, solving these issues may consume a long time. Even, you can feel frustrated while troubleshooting, especially if you own a receiver or soundbar. A certified cable can help you in this case by eliminating your problem.

The problems you can see are as follows:-

  • In case the wire is not up to snuff, there may seem a few problems.
  • Firstly, you don’t see any issues. But as soon as you play one to two games at 4K/120Hz on Xbox Series X or PS 5, you can see problems. For example, you will see a black screen, random sparkles.
  • Sometimes, you can face blackouts. Or you can see any error message that lets you know that a “handshake” issue is encountered on your TV. It implies that the communication between TV and source device is poor, and the cable is not suitable to perform its task.
  • The HDMI cables are costly. As the length of the cable increases, the signal will be degraded more. That’s why always try to choose the shorter cables. These can easily match the bandwidth requirements.
  • Usually, no cable comes with the perfect length. However, if you want it for 4K resolution and high frame rates, use cables of 10 feet or less than that. If you are willing to use a cable for lower resolutions, go for those Cables that have a length between 20-50 feet.

Don’t Fall for HDMI Cable Gimmicks

Multiple retailers try to up-sell HDMI cables when you buy a television or home entertainment device. That’s why you should always test the setup first. Usually, the certified ones are costly. Gold ones can offer better-quality signals. If you want long-term unable ones, go for the Braided cords. However, HDMI cables don’t get torn easily.

HDMI 2.1 is Just Getting Started

The Xbox Series X, PS 5, and NVIDIA’s 30 Series graphics cards— these three were the first devices of HDMI 2.1 that came into the market. You will also see plenty of HDMI devices and accessories available in the market in the upcoming years. Nowadays, you can see some budget brands are selling Ultra High-Speed cables. These can support 48 Gbps bandwidth. A certified Ultra High-Speed cable can last for years.

Frequently Asked Questions: 

  • Is HDMI 2.1 available?

In recent times, the main focus of HDMI 2.1 is on the gamers. The main aim of it is mainly at the graphics card train or the next-generation console. Both Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 allow you to see 4K resolution videos at 120 fps.

  • Do I really need HDMI 2.1 for ps5?

Remember that you need to use 2.1 version for the new consoles as the connection. But it doesn’t indicate that your TV has to be compatible with it. You need to use a Full HD TV with a 60Hz refresh rate. It allows you to play Monster Hunter World. Moreover, you can play it smoothly on PS5 at 60fps due to the console’s backward compatibility. 

  • Does HDMI 2.1 Make a Difference?

It is a much quicker standard than HDMI 2.0. In recent times, most people prefer to use this connection in their modern home entertainment devices. Compared to the bandwidth of 2.0, it has three times longer bandwidth. It has a bandwidth of 48Gbps maximum speed. On the other hand, the 18GBps is the bandwidth of HDMI 2.0. The 2.1 connection supports 4K video and can run it up to 120 fps.

  • Is HDMI 2.1 important?

Nowadays, people don’t use HDMI latest version. The gamers use the improved standards most of the time. That’s why they buy next-generation consoles or graphics cards. These offer the gamers features such as HDMI VRR and ALLM. Apart from eARC, home theater enthusiasts get benefits from the new standard. 

  • What is a 48G cable?

48G cables allow you to use up to 48Gbps bandwidth. It can support the 8K video with HDR. What makes the cable exceptional is that it has backward compatibility with the earlier versions of HDMI features. You can use it along with previous HDMI devices.

  • Which TVs come with HDMI 2.1 already?

The TVs that come with Version 2.1 already are as follows:-

  • LG CX OLED — best 4K TV
  • TCL 6-Series Roku TV (R635) — killer value for gaming
  • Vizio OLED TV (OLED 55-H1) — game-ready OLED bargain.
  • Samsung Q90 QLED TV.
  • Belkin ultra-high-speed cable.
  • Samsung 55-inch QLED Q900 8K smart TV (2019 model)
  • Best HDMI cables for your new 4K and HDR TV

The Best HDMI cables for your new 4K and HDR TV are as follows:-

AmazonBasics High-Speed

AmazonBasics Premium-Certified Braided Cable

Monoprice Certified Premium Ultra Slim

Philips 4-foot High-

Dynex DX-SF116 

  • Can my HDMI 2.0b devices be firmware upgraded to HDMI 2.1?

We know that it is possible in theory. According to Jeff Park, director of technology at HDMI LA, a few premium chips will be firmware upgraded. But these are very costly.

  • Is HDMI 2.0b backward compatible?

Yes, it is backward compatible. Due to this, you can attach the old Blu-ray player or AV receiver with a new HDMI 2.0b.

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