HDMI 2.1 arrives with 10K support, making your 4K TV obsolete
At the start of the year, it was announced that the HDMI Forum was working on HDMI 2.1, a new standard for HDMI. That new standard is now out and available for the first time to vendors, but it’s likely you’ll have a little wait until we see it creep out into our new TV sets.
Designed to have a higher video bandwidth than HDMI 2, HDMI 2.1 is capable of pushing up to 120Hz at 4K and 60Hz at 8K. It can also push out resolutions at a mammoth 10K.
Thankfully, despite my scaremongering headline, your 4K TV isn’t going to be completely outdated – which is reassuring following the Black Friday bonanza we just had. HDMI 2.1 may push 10K, but its focus isn’t just on sheer resolution. By upping its bandwidth to 48Gbits/sec, it’s capable of firing out 10K content as well as bringing a whole array of picture clarity improvements along with it.
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By enhancing the frame rate of 4K pictures to 120Hz, it’s now a viable proposition for gamers who love higher refresh rates when they play – and don’t want to spend £90 on an HDMI cable. The Xbox One X and PS4 Pro both offer up 4K at 60Hz, but the top-end PC graphics cards are capable of pumping out 4K resolutions at much higher rates, but HDMI just can’t keep up with them, hence why DisplayPort is the standard.
It’s not just the 120Hz refresh that makes 4K a better proposition: HDMI 2.1 also brings in Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Quick Frame Transport (QFR) to reduce or eliminate lag and reduce latency respectively. Quick Media Switching (QMS) reduces the amount of blank-screen wait time when switching between media and there’s also an Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) that automatically sets the ideal latency for the best viewing experience.
The new standard is available now to all vendors who’ve already picked up HDMI 2. It’s also backwards-compatible with previous HDMI specifications, so you won’t need all-new equipment just because you’ve plugged in an HDMI 2.1 cable into your HDMI 2 port. However, you won’t be able to utilise the extra features of HDMI 2.1 if your device doesn’t support it – so perhaps it was a bad time to snap up a new TV…