The HDMI 2.1 Specification includes a new cable - the Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cable. It’s the only cable that complies with stringent specifications designed to ensure support for all HDMI 2.1 features including uncompressed 8k@60 and 4K@120. The cable’s increased bandwidth capability supports up to 48Gbps.
The Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Program is a mandatory certification program for all Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables; and ensures quality Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables reach the market and support 4K and 8K video, HDR, VRR, eARC, and all other HDMI 2.1 features. Cables are also required to be tested and certified to ensure low EMI to reduce the possibility of interference with wireless networks, streaming media players, Bluetooth devices and mobile phones.
All certified cables of any length must pass certification testing at an HDMI Forum Authorized Testing Center (Forum ATC). Once certified, cables will be required to affix an Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Label to each package or unit of sale enabling consumers to verify the certification status of the product.
To verify the cable has been tested and certified in compliance with the HDMI 2.1 Specification, the label can be scanned by the HDMI Cable Certification app available on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and other Android app stores.
The scan only works in conjunction with the sticker on the packaging. Due to the forgery-proof hologram the code is not recognized on websites.
In addition to 4K and 8K, a range of other resolutions are supported including 5K and 10K for commercial AV, industrial and specialty usages. Also supported are the latest color spaces such as BT.2020 with 10 or more bits per color and at higher frame rates.
HDMI® Specification 2.1 supports end-to-end 8K/4K resolutions and higher refresh rate solutions with a single upgraded cable for seamless integration with the HDMI eco-system.
8K delivers a super-immersive viewing experience with 2x the horizontal and vertical resolution of 4K, and 4 times as many pixels; and combined with 60Hz refresh rate enables smooth and sharp viewing of content with high-speed action. 4K@120Hz enables ultra-fast motion UHD images to be crisp and razor sharp; and sports, action movies, high-performance gaming and VR benefit significantly.
The HDMI 2.1 Specification supports multiple static and dynamic HDR solutions. HDR enhances video images with an extended dark to bright contrast range for deeper blacks and brighter whites, greater detail in both the dark and bright parts in the same image, and greater detail within an extended color space.
Dynamic HDR enables a noticeable progression in overall video image quality from SDR to static HDR, and now static HDR to dynamic HDR. Dynamic HDR support ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and wider color gamuts - on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis. HDR-enhanced content is available for movies, videos, TV shows, video and PC games and VR.
HDMI 2.1 features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) which is an advancement over the previous Audio Return Channel (ARC). eARC simplifies connectivity and provides greater ease of use for multiple components discovery and audio optimization. It supports the latest high-bitrate audio formats up to192kHz, 24-bit, and uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1, and 32-channel uncompressed audio. It also supports DTS-HD Master Audio™, DTS:X®, Dolby® TrueHD, Dolby Atmos®. Now it’s easier than ever to experience movie theater quality sound in a living room for an immersive multi-dimensional experience and enhanced audio detail and depth.
eARC enables the audio to a TV that originates from cable, satellite, streaming or source devices to be sent to an AVR or sound bar through a single HDMI cable. This ensures the simplicity of connectivity and that the original audio can be experienced.
The eARC Data Channel is a bi-directional, 1 MHz common mode signal whicht is transmitted over the eARC (HEAC) differential pair providing auto discovery and other features listed here:
Enhanced gaming and media features ensure an added level of smooth and seamless motion and transitions for gaming, movies and video. Many of these features are already available in TVs and game consoles in the market today and will become more common as HDMI 2.1-enabled devices continue to be released. These features are not just ideal for game consoles but also for streaming content to a enabled TVs.
One of the highlights from the HDMI 2.1 specification’s multiple gaming and media features is Variable Refresh Rate. VRR reduces or eliminates lag, judder and frame tearing for more fluid and better detailed gameplay. VRR enables a gaming source such as a console or computer to deliver video frames as fast as it can, which in many cases is slower than the normal static refresh rate.
Graphics processors require different absolute periods to render each frame, and this time is dependent upon the complexity of the scene, the horsepower of the GPU, the resolution selected and the frame rate. When the GPU is taxed by the other three factors and does not finish rendering the next frame by the time it needs to be displayed, the source must either repeat the current frame or display the partially-rendered next frame, which causes judder and tearing.
Auto Low Latency Mode enables the ideal latency setting to automatically be set allowing for smooth, lag-free and uninterrupted viewing and interactivity. In many cases this is referred to as game mode, and it usually has to be set manually which involves going through menus and settings and then switching back again for normal viewing.
ALLM lets a game console, PC or other device send a signal to the display which will cause it to automatically switch to a low-latency, low-lag mode for gaming. This could benefit other uses, such as karaoke and video conferencing too.
But a low latency setting may not be ideal for other types of viewing since some processing features on a TV may be stopped in order to reduce latency. So with ALLM when the source no longer requires this mode—for example, when switching to a movie stream—the source disables the signal and the display reverts back to its previous mode for optimal picture.
Another highlight from the HDMI 2.1 specification’s multiple gaming and media features is Quick Frame Transport. QFT reduces latency for smoother no-lag gaming, and real-time interactive virtual reality.
QFT transports each frame at a higher rate to decrease “display latency”, which is the amount of time between a frame being ready for transport in the GPU and that frame being completely displayed. This latency is the sum of the transport time through the source’s output circuits, the transport time across the interface, the processing of the video data in the display, and the painting of the screen with the new data. This overall latency affects the responsiveness of games, such as how long between a button is pressed to the time at which the resultant action is observed on the screen.
While there are a lot of variables in this equation, not many are adjustable from an HDMI specification perspective. QFT operates on the transport portion of this equation by reducing the time it takes to send only the active video across the cable. This results in reduced display latency and increased responsiveness.
One of the most important innovations in HDMI 2.1 compared to HDMI 2.0 is the larger bandwidth of up to 48 GBit / s. With an HDMI 2.0b cable “only” 18 Gbit / s are transmitted. This higher data rate enables more data to be transferred per second. As a result, more picture information and thus higher resolutions or refresh rates can be transmitted to a TV, projector and other devices in the chain using an HDMI 2.1 cable.
There are several HDMI® cable types plus a special cable certification designation to choose from; each designed to meet a particular performance standard. Here is an overview of the HDMI cable types, their capabilities, and how to tell them apart.
To help consumers and to clarify cable types further, all HDMI® cable products are required to be labeled with Cable Name Logos provided by HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. Look for these logos when choosing the HDMI cable that is best for your needs.
This latest HDMI cable is the only cable that complies with stringent specifications designed to ensure support for all HDMI 2.1 features including uncompressed 8k@60 and 4K@120. The cable’s bandwidth supports up to 48Gbps, it is backwards compatible with existing HDMI devices, and features exceptionally low EMI which reduces interference with nearby wireless devices. For verification and authentication the cable packaging is required to display the Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Label which includes the Cable Name Logo printed on it.
Premium HDMI Cables are a special certification for High Speed HDMI Cables that have been designed and certified for ultra-reliable performance for 4K/UltraHD including advanced features such as 4K60, HDR, and expanded color spaces including BT.2020. They have low EMI and are identified by HDMI LA’s Premium HDMI Cable Certification Label for authentication and in-field verification.
This cable type offers the same baseline performance as the High Speed HDMI Cable with an additional dedicated data channel, known as the HDMI Ethernet Channel, for device networking. HDMI Ethernet Channel functionality is only available if both linked devices are HDMI Ethernet Channel-enabled.
The High Speed HDMI Cable is designed and tested to handle video resolutions of 1080p and beyond, including advanced display technologies such as 4K@30Hz, 3D, and Deep Color. If you are using any of these technologies, or if you are connecting your 1080p HD display to a 1080p HD content source, such as a Blu-ray Disc player, this is the recommended cable.
Since an automotive system may be wired with one or more internal relays that can affect signal strength, the High Speed Automotive HDMI Cable needs to send a stronger signal than other cables types, so it is tested to higher performance standards. It also may utilize a special dust and vibration-resistant HDMI Type E connector with locking tab.
This cable type offers the same baseline performance as the Standard HDMI Cable, plus an additional, dedicated data channel, known as the HDMI Ethernet Channel, for device networking. HDMI Ethernet Channel functionality is only available if both linked devices are HDMI Ethernet Channel-enabled.
The Standard HDMI cable is designed to handle some earlier consumer applications, and is tested to reliably transmit 1080i or 720p video. Most of these cables have been replaced by the High Speed HDMI Cables but there are still some in the marketplace and consumers should note while fine for some uses, they don’t support the later resolutions, refresh rates and bandwidth requirements.
Since an automotive system may be wired with one or more internal relays that can affect signal strength, the Standard Automotive HDMI Cable needs to send a stronger signal than other cables types, so it is tested to higher performance standards. It also may utilize a special dust and vibration-resistant HDMI Type E connector with locking tab.