A new version of HDMI is here.
Most devices today use HDMI version 2.0, but the HDMI Forum, which is the governing organisation that sets specifications for HDMI cables, announced and just released version 2.1. It brings some major changes, including support for resolutions up to 10K and new cables.
Here's what you need to know.
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What is HDMI?
HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface. It's a standard for connecting high-definition video devices. In other words, it is the primary audio/video connection for TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, set-top boxes - you name it. It allows both video and audio to pipe through one cable, without any degradation, and it allows digital encryption. For most of 2017, HDMI 2.0 was the latest version of HDMI.
What does HDMI 2.1 bring?
HDMI 2.1, announced at CES 2017 in Las Vegas, is an update to HDMI 2.0. It is fully backward compatible with current HDMI devices. With HDMI 2.1, you'll get improved bandwidth from 18Gbps (HDMI 2.0) to 48Gbps (HDMI 2.1) and new video outputs including 4K video at 120Hz and 8K video at 60Hz. You'll also get support for Dynamic HDR, video resolutions at 10K, and frame rates up to 120fps.
Do you need new HDMI 2.1 cables?
You'll need new HDMI 2.1 cables to get those higher resolutions and/or frame rates. But the new cables will look the same as HDMI 2.0 ones, and there's no new connector required (what you plug the cable into).
When will HDMI 2.1 be available?
The HDMI Forum has officially released (PDF) HDMI 2.1 It's been finalized and released so companies can integrate it into their devices.
When will the first HDMI 2.1 cables arrive?
According to a couple of reports, the first HDMI 2.1 cable is already available: a Belkin cable, currently priced at $29.95. The trick, apparently, is to look for cables marked "Ultra High Speed HDMI". We haven't been able to confirm this yet. We're contacting Belkin for more.