The trend for larger displays with higher resolution is only natural as technology advances and the progression to HDMI 2.1 allows the slow but inevitable move from 4K to 8K to transpire with seamless transition. This years Infocomm saw 8K displays and projectors from the likes of Samsung, LG, Sharp, and Digital Projection, which will soon be making their way into pro AV, paving the way for larger and sharper digital signage as well as other applications such as medical imaging and control room monitoring. Here are three things you need to know about HDMI 2.1 as we traverse down this road to the unrelenting bigger and better.
Huge Increase in Bandwidth
Compared to the increase from HDMI 1.4 to 2.0, which featured a jump from 10.2Gbps to 18Gbps, this is a much larger expansion. HDMI 2.1 introduces an impressive 48Gbps bandwidth, enabling video resolutions of up to 10K and frame rates as high as 120fps. With 8K displays now entering the market, this upgrade delivers the bandwidth necessary to support 8K content and provide a large enough increase that you won’t have to worry about upgrading again for quite a while, thereby future proofing your AV systems.
More Control and Features
New Ultra High Speed cables can transmit uncompressed 8K resolutions at 60Hz, but can also transmit uncompressed 4K resolutions at 120Hz. which translates to either 4096×2160 (true 4K) or 3840×2160 (4K UHD) at 120Hz. In HDMI 2.0a, these resolutions were limited to 60Hz.
Additionally, the increase in bandwidth has allowed for support for features like Dynamic HDR and eARC. Dynamic HDR allows information to be transferred throughout a video on a frame-by frame basis rather than only at the beginning, as was the case with HDR-10. This allows for enhanced control of brightness and color levels. Enhanced Audio Return Channel, or eARC, enables the use of object-based surround sound formats, such as Dolby Atmos.
Other improvements include Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which are all mostly applicable to video games. Quick Media Switching (QMS) removes the delay when switching between resolutions and frame rates.
You don’t have to upgrade all at once
HDMI 2.1 is backwards compatible so if you’ve already upgraded to 8K displays, but haven’t gotten around to purchasing HDMI 2.1 enabled DVR players, the new will still play well with the old.
In the case that you’re ready to take the jump now, cables are already available and shipping. The HD8K and PROHD8K Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables with Ethernet are available in 1, 3, and 6-foot lengths with both PVC and premium metal connectors.