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HDMI Forum Announces Version 2.1 Of the HDMI Specification

by January 04, 2017
8k comparison

8k comparison

Higher video resolutions and Dynamic HDR highlight
the new advanced features for the HDMI® eco-system

Las Vegas, Nevada – January 4, 2017 - HDMI Forum, Inc. today announced the upcoming release of Version 2.1 of the HDMI Specification.  This latest HDMI Specification supports a range of Higher Video Resolutions and refresh rates including 8K60 and 4K120, Dynamic HDR, and increased bandwidth with a new 48G cable. Version 2.1 of the HDMI Specification is backward compatible with earlier versions of the Specification, and was developed by the HDMI Forum’s Technical Working Group whose members represent some of the world’s leading manufacturers of consumer electronics, personal computers, mobile devices, cables and components.  

This new release of the Specification offers a broad range of advanced features for enhancing the consumer entertainment experience, as well as providing robust solutions to the commercial AV sector,” said Robert Blanchard of Sony Electronics, president of the HDMI Forum.  “This is part of the HDMI Forum’s continuing mission to develop specifications for the HDMI eco-system that meet the growing demand for compelling, high-performance and exciting features.

HDMI Specification 2.1 Features Include:

  • Higher Video Resolutions support a range of higher resolutions and faster refresh rates including 8K60Hz and 4K120Hz for immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail.
  • Dynamic HDR ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and wider color gamuts—on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis.
  • 48G cables enable up to 48Gbps bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support including 8K video with HDR. The cable is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices.
  • eARC supports the most advanced audio formats such as object-based audio, and enables advanced audio signal control capabilities including device auto-detect.
  • Game Mode VRR features variable refresh rate, which enables a 3D graphics processor to display the image at the moment it is rendered for more fluid and better detailed gameplay, and for reducing or eliminating lag, stutter, and frame tearing.
  • 48 Gbps compared to 18 Gbps for HDMI 2.0 and 10.2 Gbps HDMI 1.4
  • The new specification will be available to all HDMI 2.0 Adopters and they will be notified when it is released early in Q2 2017.

The HDMI Forum Reaches Out to Grow Global Membership

The HDMI Forum is an open trade association that guides the future direction of HDMI technology and develops new versions of the HDMI Specification. The HDMI Forum currently has a membership of 83 companies, and is actively inviting more companies to apply for membership and help shape the future of HDMI technology. There is also a focus to encourage more companies to participate as the global presence of HDMI-enabled products and solutions continues to grow.

“It is strategically important to take an active role in the development and innovation of technology which is central to global consumer entertainment and impacts the overall user experience. It is very important for our customers to enjoy video services on their PCs, mobile, and consumer electronics devices,” said Joseph Frank technical manager of video devices at Comcast Cable. “That’s why Comcast Cable joined, and I strongly encourage others to contact the HDMI Forum to find out about membership details.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION on the HDMI 2.1 Specification or becoming an HDMI Forum member visit the HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. booth at CES 2017, LVCC South Hall 1 booth 20930.

About the HDMI Forum, Inc. 
HDMI Forum, Inc., a non-profit, mutual benefit corporation, is comprised of the world’s leading manufacturers of consumer electronics, personal computers, mobile devices, cables and components.  An open trade association, The HDMI Forum’s mission is to foster broader industry participation in the development of future versions of the HDMI Specification and to further expand the ecosystem of interoperable, HDMI-enabled products. For more information please visit www.hdmiforum.org.

About HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. 
HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. (HDMI LA) is the agent appointed by the HDMI Forum to license Version 2.x of the HDMI Specification and is the agent appointed by the HDMI Founders to license all earlier HDMI Specifications. HDMI LA provides marketing, promotional, licensing and administrative services; as well as education on the benefits of the HDMI Specification to adopters, retailers, and consumers.  For more information please visit www.hdmi.org.

The terms HDMI, HDMI High-Definition Multimedia Interface, and the HDMI logo are trademarks or registered trademarks in the United States and/or other countries.

About the author:

Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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Recent Forum Posts:

Vimal posts on January 13, 2017 11:53
Gr8 idea Rich. In that case, another cable is a must for audio. And TV manufactures should assure about lossy and lossless audio including object based audio pass through by HDMI 1.4 ( in HDMI 2.1 by default we can get it).
If HDMI 1.4 promise us lossless audio and object based audio even in bit streams, it will definitely replace optical/coaxial SPDIF outputs everywhere.

I agree that eARC will require new everything. But don't we see the market, how quick it jumped DD and DTS to TrueHD an MasterAudio, and all the way to Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. And how quick it moved to HDMI 2.0b from HDMI 1.4. And year by year the change in tech has been very rapid.
If we see 2015 AVRs we had only HDMI 1.4 and No HDCP 2.2 and was no HDR Support. And by 2016, we got HDMI 2.0, 2.0a and even 2.0b version with HDR and HDCP 2.2. One year back so many people bought high end AVRs and Pre Processors that support only Dolby Atmos but not DTS:X at any cost.
But now DTS:X is seen everywhere along with Dolby Atmos.
Now my point is, It won't take much time for market and users to adopt HDMI 2.1 It simplifies the things.
I would want all future TVs and AVRs/PreProcessors and Blu-ray palyers from now on-wards, from the right minute on-wards, provide HDMI 2.1 ports with all its features enabled.

And I agree with you that there were so many problems/ issues about HDMI connectivity and ARC feature.
But I strongly hope all those will be resolved and communication between devices would be so smooth with HDMI 2.1.

The idea of yours is so cool too, to have ‘HDMI 1.4 audio only out’ just like the way few high end blu-ray players do have. But hello TV Manufacturers - are you listening to real time user opnions ?? :-)
RichB posts on January 13, 2017 11:15
Vimal, post: 1166497, member: 77815
I don't know why people are more fascinated about only 8K. ( I am not saying it is not the important topic to discuss) But, I think the most interesting part of HDMI 2.1 is eARC, which could change the digital audio signal communication between eARC abled TV and other AVR kind of items. Look, how beautiful it is to connect a USB/STB that plays Dolby Atmos or DTS:X and that is sent to an AVR by HDMI 2.1 eARC. I love that. I will be waiting for TVs with HDMI 2.1 eARC feature and AVR/PrePorcessors. Awesome spec of HDMI 2.1 gr8.

eARC sound great, but, it will required a players, new AVRs, and new cables (which no-one knows how to make at this time).

Whereas, TV makers could provide a an HDMI 1.4 out cable for audio only (blank video) the switching that:
  • does not add handshaking complication
  • is easier to automate (remote programing simple selects the input)
  • support all lossey and lossless formats
An input is used and an additional cable must be run, but this would be customer friendly. ARC is sometimes conflated with CEC which is another *feature* which causes lots of support calls.

- Rich
Vimal posts on January 13, 2017 11:08
I don't know why people are more fascinated about only 8K. ( I am not saying it is not the important topic to discuss) But, I think the most interesting part of HDMI 2.1 is eARC, which could change the digital audio signal communication between eARC abled TV and other AVR kind of items. Look, how beautiful it is to connect a USB/STB that plays Dolby Atmos or DTS:X and that is sent to an AVR by HDMI 2.1 eARC. I love that. I will be waiting for TVs with HDMI 2.1 eARC feature and AVR/PrePorcessors. Awesome spec of HDMI 2.1 gr8.
Hondo123 posts on January 11, 2017 13:02
Hey guys, this is getting a bit out of hand. People are already complaining that 4K is too “photo-realistic”, and now we're going to 8K? This is getting to be like the MegaPixel game in cameras - is the sky really the limit?

So this is where I have my heartburn. I can't afford to upgrade my AV receiver and $3K projector every three years as some specifications group comes out with new standards. And all the money I invested in media is going to waste at this point, and the spec groups are forcing the public to go “streaming” to view media instead of pay for home-ownership.

So what's wrong with that you say?

Well, not all the content I'd like to access is available for streaming in one spot, and in some cases, it might not be available at all. (Any of you tried to located a streaming version of the movie “Russian Ark”? How about, “My Dinner with Andre”?). Streaming services are less likely to carry some of the more obscure titles, even though some of these are very special in their own right. And I don't feel the need to sign on to an annual membership unless I'm watching movies every couple of days, so I guess that just locks out multiple titles. Sheeeees, at least when we had Blockbuster Video, you could put in an order for a title and get it if you were willing to wait. But now?

Yeah, yeah, greater color gamuts, smoother action and all that. My human eye and brain can only process so much information, so why continue to push things up the scale. This is nuts.
RichB posts on January 10, 2017 11:29
This looks good on paper but I can't help feel that this will generate another round of HDMI hardware change and compatibility problems. The latest round has been:

HDMI 2.0 1.4 for 4K
HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.0 for 4K BD
HDMI 2.0a and HDCP 2.0 for HDR10
HDMI 2.0b and HDCP 2.0 for HDR10 and HLG (Hybrid Log Gamma)

This is a massive amount of churn over the last few years. Consumer friendly, they are not.

For those who have not yet experienced UHD, I highly recommend Certified HDMI cables. There are numerous reports of 18Gbs cables that are failing handshakes and displaying “sparklies”. Monoprice active 18Gbs don't work, but Monoprice 18Gbs Certified (non-active) cables work perfectly. There are still no certified HDMI cables greater than 20 feet long, some work, some don't. The requirement for long HDMI cables was foreseeable.

Having dealt with ARC, it works but is unreliable and fraught with side-effects when CEC is engaged.

I wish to god, the LG displays had a dedicated HDMI out with blank video. It would eat an AVR input but support DD+ and full audio from TV based apps. WebOs apps are fast and work well so this is more important.

- Rich
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