HDMI 2.1 released: 10K resolution, dynamic HDR, and more

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Today the HDMI Forum a group that manages HDMI standards officially announced the new 2.1 HDMI standard. The HDMI Forum is nevertheless charging ahead and has released the HDMI 2.1 specification. The new version supports a range of A/V formats, including 8K video at 60Hz and 4K video at 120Hz. Combined with the Dynamic HDR support, this can deliver a richer experience for users. The mandatory Ultra High Speed HDMI cable can now carry up to 48 Gbps and allows for Display Strem Compression (DSC).

HDMI 2.1 also marks the arrival of the backwards-compatible 48G Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable, which will support uncompressed HDMI 2.1 features. Over the next nine months, the HDMI Forum will release compliance tests, and only then would we expect to see it become available in shipping products.

The new spec supports 8K and even 10K resolutions, but those are better thought of as future-proofing or targeted towards commercial applications.

Dynamic HDR support ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and wider colour gamuts-on a scene-by-scene or a frame-by-frame basis.

The new standard has a hugely increased bandwidth of 48Gbps - more than doubling the ability of the previous (2.0) version, which allowed 18Gbps.

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You'll need a new high-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 cable to support the fresh features, but fear not: Those cables are also backwards-compatible with existing HDMI implementations.

eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) targets simplifying connectivity and supports the most advanced audio formats and highest audio quality.

Another big novelty for HDMI is support for Dynamic HDR as well as the Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) technology, which should reduce lag, frame stutter, skipping and freezing as well as deal with that pesky frame tearing. Quick media switching (QMS) should get rid of that brief black screen when switching content. Quick Frame Transport promises to reduce latency, important for fast-pace games and VR.

FOR MORE INFORMATION on the HDMI 2.1 Specification or becoming an HDMI Forum member visit the HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. booth at CES 2018, LVCC South Hall 1 booth 20542.

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