First announced back in January 4, 2017, HDMI 2.1 the latest HDMI specification is finally out in the wild. To the average Joe, HDMI is just another cable or video connector/interface on their laptop or smart TV they use to transfer uncompressed video and audio between devices. The buzzwords and technical jargon might not interest them much as long as they are able to hear crisp sound and crystal clear images on their TVs or monitors or laptops.
For those who want to know what’s under the hood, HDMI 2.1 is a improvement to previous versions in both bandwidth supported and features. HDMI 2.1 has bumped up bandwidth support to up to an eye popping 48 Gbps transfer speeds, more than twice its predecessor HDMI 2.0. That’s because HDMI 2.1 now supports higher video resolutions.
4K resolution will now be supported at 120Hz refresh rates while 8K at 60Hz while a whooping 10K resolution is also supported by HDMI 2.1 at 120 Hz. 5K is also supported.
To push 48 Gbps bandwidth down the wire, the HDMI Forum’s Technical Working Group has announced new Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable which features low EMI (electromagnetic interference) which the HDMI Licensing group says reduces interference with nearby wireless devices. The cable is also backward compatible meaning it can work with older existing devices supporting older HDMI versions.
HDMI 2.1 also brings Dynamic HDR support. HDR ensures that you see the right colors, and adds the right brightness, contrast, shadows to the picture. Additionally, HDMI 2.1 adds Enhanced Audio return channel (eARC), Variable Refresh, Rate(VRR), Quick Media Switching(QMS), Quick Frame Transport(QFT), Auto Low Latency Mode(ALLM), Display Stream Compression(DSC) to the HDMI specification.
Previous HDMI versions already support Full HD Blu-Ray Disc, Consumer Electronic Control(CEC), Audio Return Channel (ARC), Ethernet Channel (100Mb/s), 3D Video, 4 audio streams, 2 video streams (Dual View), Static HDR among other features which you can read about in this post.