The HDMI Forum has a new spec for its widely-used connector. HDMI 2.1 will support larger resolutions, new display formats, and allow for higher bandwidth.
The cable, which is backwards-compatible with other specs, allows for a massive bandwidth of 48 Gb/s. The previous spec, HDMI 2.0, had a significantly lower bandwidth at 18 Gb/s. HDMI 2.1 also allows for “dynamic HDR (high dynamic range),” which features the same high range of contrast and brightness in a scene-by-scene or even frame-by-frame basis.
In addition to the well-known 4K resolution, the new specification will work with higher resolutions such as 5K (5120x2160), 8K (7680x4320), and 10K (10240x4320). It can also work with higher refresh rates, specifically at 4K (120Hz) and 8K (60Hz).
HDMI 2.1 also has some new features to increase refresh rates on your TV or monitor. Variable Refresh Rate can reduce or even eliminate lag, screen tearing, and stuttering, and Quick Frame Transport helps with “smoother no-lag gaming and real-time interactive virtual reality.” There’s also Quick Media Switching, which is helpful for movies and video because it eliminates the delay (often displayed as a black screen) before content appears on the screen.
Even though the HDMI Forum released the new specification, adopters will need to conduct a compliant test to get the official nod from the group that their products work with HDMI 2.1. The group said the HDMI Compliant Test Specification, which includes minimum requirements and testing procedures for eligible products, will be available “in stages” between Q1 and Q3 of 2018.