Your 4K TV might be outdated soon, with 10K capable HDMI 2.1 on the way
The latest HDMI spec will unlock higher resolution videos and games beyond 4K, but we don’t expect a mass adoption anytime soon
When it comes to connecting your TV to a set top box, Blu-Ray player, Amazon Fire Stick or a gaming console, HDMI is the best connectivity option available. The coming of the new HDMI spec 2.1 is likely to take the experience to a whole new level.
It was announced way back in January at CES 2017 by the HDMI forum, the governing body comprising 83 tech companies responsible for the development of all specifications for HDMI cables and devices, and has been finally released for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) to integrate it in their devices.
It introduces some major improvements over the predecessor, HDMI 2.0, such as improved bandwidth speed of 48Gbps, up from 18Gbps seen in the predecessor. It also supports videos and games at up to 10k resolution (10,328x7,760p) at 120fps. HDMI 2.0 supports 4k resolution (3,840x2,160p) at 60fps at most. This means games and videos with higher FPS (frames per second) and resolution will run and look a lot more detailed compared to HDMI 2.0. However, to take advantage of the 10k resolution, users will need the new 48G cables which support content streaming at a speed of up to 48Gbps.
The other advantage of the new spec is that it supports latest colour space standards with depth of up to 16-bit. HDMI 2.0 supports colour depth of up to 12-bit. This means each pixel packs in more colours than the predecessor. Combined with the Dynamic HDR support, this can deliver a richer experience for users.
The other advantage of the new spec over HDMI 2.0 is the new HDMI functionality called Game Mode VRR. It is the equivalent of Nvidia’s G-Sync technology for gaming monitors, and keeps the console and the TV screen in sync while rendering multiple frames, resulting in a more fluid gaming experience. It keeps stutters and issues like screen tearing in graphic intensive games at bay.
HDMI 2.1 also comes with eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) support which supports most advanced audio formats such as Dolby Atmos and DTS X and provides a lossless audio experience compared to HDMI 2.0’s ARC feature.
Also, HDMI 2.1 is faster and will offer a richer gaming and video experience, but it doesn’t make your old cable or TV obsolete, yet.
The new spec will be backward compatible which means that a new device based on HDMI 2.1 spec will work without any hassle with devices based on the older HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 1.4 spec.
As for when you would be able to buy TVs that offer HDMI 2.1, chances are it should be sometime next year when TV makers refresh their line-ups. Whether up to 10K content arrives anytime soon, is anyone’s guess.
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