HDMI 2.1 released along with a new Ultra High Speed HDMI cable

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The specifications of HDMI 2.1 are released by the HDMI Forum's Technical Working Group. As expected, few of the features will be backward compatible with HDMI 2.0 cable, while the rest will need the upgraded Ultra High Speed HDMI cable.

Display resolution comparison along with the new Ultra High Speed HDMI cable

HDMI 2.1 supports super high bandwidth content like 4K resolutions at 120 Hz refresh rate (double the speed than its predecessor) and 8K at 60 Hz. The maximum supported resolution is up to 10K at 120 Hz, but it is delivered after being processed by a Stream Compression algorithm. The total transfer rate is increased from 18 Gbps to 48 Gbps.

The new standard also supports Dynamic HDR for specific resolutions and bandwidth. For the uninitiated, Dynamic HDR is nothing but a fancy term for dynamic metadata that allows for changes on a frame-by-frame basis. In simple words, the technology can display a broader range of colors, and can also adjust individual frame for optimal brightness, contrast, depth and other details.

The 1 Mbps bi-directional data channel used for Audio is replaced with a 37 Mbps one, thus increasing its capacity manifold. As a result, uncompressed 5.1, 7.1 and high bitrate streams like Dolby Atmos and TrueHD are now allowed.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) is aimed at gamers as it constantly updates the refresh rate of the screen to synchronize with the video output, resulting in improved smoothness and reduction in lag or any frame drops and tears. It is combined with Quick Frame Transport (QFT) which reduces the latency between the output and the screen.

Quick Media Switching (QMS) removes the blank screen wait period when switching across HDMI devices.

Bandwidth comparison across various HDMI versions

The new Ultra High Speed HDMI cable will be required for the high bandwidth stuff. It is compatible with type A, C and D connectors. It supports HDMI Ethernet channel. The new cable is backward compatible with previous devices. It is expected to be available for purchase early next year.


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