If you’ve followed the display, graphics card or games console market at all recently you will surely have heard about HDMI 2.1. It’s the new connection interface standard widely being adopted on new graphics cards, displays, games consoles and other devices; allowing support for improved bandwidths, resolutions, refresh rates and features. It’s one of the hot topics at the moment when it comes to buying a new device, and promoted heavily by manufacturers, often as one of the leading items in their spec.
In this article we want to look at what the “HDMI 2.1” term really means, and address a worrying early sign in the market of things to come. We’ve delved in to what is required for this certification and what that means to you as a consumer if you ever want to buy something labelled with HDMI 2.1. Don’t make any assumptions about what that will give you, sadly it doesn’t seem to be nearly as simple as that.
Oh good. More weird cable and port specifications to worry about.
If buying for example a home cinema receiver with HDMI 2.1 support, I would expect it to pass on all HDMI 2.1 features from its inputs to a HDMI 2.1 capable TV. Also I’d expect all HDMI 2.1 labelled cables to fully support all HDMI 2.1 features.
However, I wouldn’t make ANY assumptions on the capabilities of a TV or monitor by merely seeing that it has a HDMI 2.1 connector. For that, I’d look at the technical specification sheet.
This is more of growing pains.
The new standard pushed a lot of boundaries at the same time. We had similar issues before, but of course not at this scale.
DisplayPort 1.2 with 4K @60Hz had stability issues in many cables. Anything more than 3ft, you’d need to pay a premium to get a stable signal.
HDMI 2.0 had some minor issues, but it was mostly TVs only having a single 2.0 port, and the rest being merely 1.4. So your new “HDR” TV only supported HDR in one of the four connections.
HDMI 2.1 has several new features, and the TVs are pretty new (2020+). Yet, only very high end PCs and Xbox Series consoles properly use those features — not even the new PS5. So it will take a while for these to be fully tested and functional.
Ohh great… USB 3.0 gen 2×2+4/3+1 v.2 once again.
Is it too hard to be sensible when you’re a standards certification body?