What is the difference between HDMI 2.1 8K and HDMI 2.0 4K?

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What is the difference between HDMI 2.1 8K and HDMI 2.0 4K?

As we all known, HDMI2.1 was used on market more and more widely. Such as used in TV, CCTV monitoring, gaming, and other monitors. Since HDMI forum announced the standard of HDMI2.1 in 2017, some equipment manufacturers launched HDMI2.1 equipments in 2019. It support HDMI2.1 8K@60Hz, 4K@120Hz, 10K, HDR, EARC, Auto Low Latency, etc. What is HDMI 2.1 features? What is the difference between HDMI2.1 and HDMI 2.0? What you need to do if you want to use HDMI2.1 equipment or device? How do you distinguish HDMI 2.1 cable?  Let us analyze it step by step.

What’s HDMI 2.1 8K features?

The biggest difference for HDMI 2.1 and HDMI2.0, Let us check the following table.
Data rate (max.)14.4 GB / s38.4 GB / s
Resolutions3840x2160p 60Hz
1920x1080p 48Hz 3D
7680x4320p 60Hz
3840x2160p 120Hz
Audio formats32-channel audio
sampling rate 1536kHz
32-channel audio
sampling rate 1536kHz
New color formatsColor space
ITU-R BT.2020
RGB with 14 bits each with
color subsampling
YCbCr 4: 2: 0
video compression DSC 1.2


What does HDMI 2.1 8K 60Hz bring in terms of picture quality and sound?

HDMI 2.0b interfaces are sufficient for everything that is currently available in terms of image and sound material via the usual channels such as television, streaming and discs. Even for dynamic HDR with Dolby Vision or HDR 10+ (although that’s actually an HDMI 2.1 feature). The specific benefit you get from a TV with HDMI 2.1 largely depends on what you want to see, hear or play. These are the most important scenarios:

For home cinema , HDMI 2.1 8K digital to analog converter brings the more powerful audio return channel eARC between the TV set and the surround system. For technically upgraded gaming PCs or the new generation of game consoles  , the dynamic adjustment of the frame rate (VRR) and the automatic optimization of the response time (ALLM) are interesting HDMI 2.1 functions. We’ll explain what this is all about in the following sections.


What does a TV with HDMI 2.1 have to be able to do?

The new HDMI standard 2.1 includes 15 possible features, which we have listed below as a table. A TV manufacturer can use these to put together its HDMI 2.1 set.

Basically, no device (television, Ultra HD player, AV receiver, HDMI switch, HDMI extender, HDMI splitter, HDMI audio extractor, digital to analog converter, etc.) really has to master all HDMI 2.1 technologies . With the HDMI interfaces in their products , manufacturers have always been able to decide which of the HDMI features are technically implemented in a particular model . For example, Panasonic OLED televisions have been offering HDMI 2.1 technology with automatically accelerated image reproduction for gaming (ALLM) and eARC since 2018 . However, these models do not (yet) support 4K with 120 frames per second. HDMI inputs for 8K resolution or UHD with 120 Hertz frame rate, on the other hand, are more likely to be found in the top-of-the-range TV models from LG or Samsung.

The HDMI 2.1 specification is therefore no guarantee for the technical all-round package for every device, but rather defines the rules of the game for the modular principle of the HDMI features. As a specification, HDMI 2.1 (8K HDMI 2.1 switch, 8K HDMI KVM extender, etc) is therefore more of a market for technical possibilities, of which 8K video or 120 Hertz image frequency represent only a part.


What do I need to be able to use the new HDMI 2.1 functions?

More and more manufacturers are equipping their new devices with HDMI 2.1 features. These include, for example, Panasonic Viera Smart TVs from 2019 – even from the GXW804 LCD model series. Of course, all 2019 Panasonic OLED devices with Auto Low Latency Mode, dynamic HDR playback and eARC have HDMI 2.1 features. In addition, LG’s Nanocell and OLED models from 2019 and 2020 are among the devices that support HDMI 2.1, even with 4K 120 Hertz inputs. And don’t forget: Samsung’s 8K TV.


What is the special features for HDMI 2.1?

Let us reading the details from HDMI official of hdmi.org.
HDMI® 2.1 Specification

HDMI® Specification 2.1 is the most recent update of the HDMI® specification and supports a range of higher video resolutions and refresh rates including 8K60 and 4K120, and resolutions up to 10K. Dynamic HDR formats are also supported, and bandwidth capability is increased up to 48Gbps.

Supporting the 48Gbps bandwidth is the new Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable. The cable ensures ultra high-bandwidth dependent features are delivered including uncompressed 8K video with HDR. It features exceptionally low EMI (electro-magnetic interference) which reduces interference with nearby wireless devices. The cable is backwards compatible and can be used with the existing installed base of HDMI devices.

HDMI Specification 2.1 feature highlights include:

  • Higher video resolutions support a range of high resolutions and faster refresh rates including 8K60Hz and 4K120Hz for immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail. Resolutions up to 10K are also supported for commercial AV, and industrial and specialty usages.
  • Dynamic HDR support 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.
  • The Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable supports the 48G bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support. The cable also features very low EMI emission and is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices.
  • eARC simplifies connectivity, provides greater ease of use, and supports the most advanced audio formats and highest audio quality. It ensures full compatibility between audio devices and upcoming HDMI 2.1 products.
  • Enhanced gaming features ensure an added level of smooth and seamless motion and transitions for gaming, movies and video.
  • Quick Media Switching (QMS) for movies and video eliminates the delay that can result in blank screens before content is displayed.
  • HDMI Cable Power enables active HDMI Cables to be powered directly from the HDMI Connector, without attaching a separate power cable. This makes attaching and using active HDMI Cables as easy as using passive, wired HDMI Cables.

Version 2.1 of the HDMI Specification is backward compatible with earlier versions of the Specification and is available to all HDMI 2.0 Adopters.

In resolution, HDMI 2.1 has the ultra high definition image. HDMI 2.1 give you a better visual experience than HDMI 2.0 4K, HDMI 1.4 4K 1080P.  How do you identify HDM 2.1 cable? How about the function in auto low latency mode, eARC, HDR. How HDM2.1 enhanced gaming features.

What does HDMI 2.1 bring in terms of picture quality and sound?

– Reading the following descriptions from hdmi.org.

1.  HDMI® 8K@60 / 4K@120

HDMI® Specification 2.1 supports end-to-end 8K/4K resolutions and higher refresh rate solutions with a single upgraded cable for seamless integration with the HDMI eco-system.

8K delivers a super-immersive viewing experience with 2x the horizontal and vertical resolution of 4K, and 4 times as many pixels; and combined with 60Hz refresh rate enables smooth and sharp viewing of content with high-speed action. 4K@120Hz enables ultra-fast motion UHD images to be crisp and razor sharp; and sports, action movies, high-performance gaming and VR benefit significantly.

In addition to 4K and 8K, a range of other resolutions are supported including 5K and 10K for commercial AV, industrial and specialty usages. Also supported are the latest color spaces such as BT.2020 with 10 or more bits per color and at higher frame rates.

2. HDMI® Dynamic HDR

The HDMI 2.1 Specification supports multiple static and dynamic HDR solutions. HDR enhances video images with an extended dark to bright contrast range for deeper blacks and brighter whites, greater detail in both the dark and bright parts in the same image, and greater detail within an extended color space.

Dynamic HDR enables a noticeable progression in overall video image quality from SDR to static HDR, and now static HDR to dynamic HDR. Dynamic HDR support 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. HDR-enhanced content is available for movies, videos, TV shows, video and PC games and VR.

How to indentify HDMI 2.1 ultra high speed HDMI cable?

3. Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cable Certification Program

The HDMI 2.1 Specification includes a new cable – the Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cable. It’s the only cable that complies with stringent specifications designed to ensure support for all HDMI 2.1 features including uncompressed 8k@60 and 4K@120. The cable’s increased bandwidth capability supports up to 48Gbps.

The Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Program is a mandatory certification program for all Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables; and ensures quality Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables reach the market and support 4K and 8K video, HDR, VRR, eARC, and all other HDMI 2.1 features. Cables are also required to be tested and certified to ensure low EMI to reduce the possibility of interference with wireless networks, streaming media players, Bluetooth devices and mobile phones.

All certified cables of any length must pass certification testing at an HDMI Forum Authorized Testing Center (Forum ATC). Once certified, cables will be required to affix an Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Label to each package or unit of sale enabling consumers to verify the certification status of the product.

To identify the cable, make sure the packaging displays the required Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Label shown above. Please note the label includes the official Cable Name Logo printed on it. The name is also required to appear on the outer cable jacket itself. To verify the cable has been tested and certified in compliance with the HDMI 2.1 Specification, the label can be scanned by the HDMI Cable Certification app available on the Apple App Store, Google Play Store and other Android app stores.

eARC simplifies connectivity, provides greater ease of use, and supports the most advanced audio formats and highest audio quality. It ensures full compatibility between audio devices and upcoming HDMI 2.1 products.

4.  HDMI® Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)

HDMI 2.1 features Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) which is an advancement over the previous Audio Return Channel (ARC). eARC simplifies connectivity and provides greater ease of use for multiple components discovery and audio optimization. It supports the latest high-bitrate audio formats up to192kHz, 24-bit, and uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1, and 32-channel uncompressed audio. It also supports DTS-HD Master Audio™, DTS:X®, Dolby® TrueHD, Dolby Atmos®. Now it’s easier than ever to experience movie theater quality sound in a living room for an immersive multi-dimensional experience and enhanced audio detail and depth.

eARC enables the audio to a TV that originates from cable, satellite, streaming or source devices to be sent to an AVR or sound bar through a single HDMI cable. This ensures the simplicity of connectivity and that the original audio can be experienced.

5.  HDMI® Enhanced Gaming Features

Enhanced gaming and media features ensure an added level of smooth and seamless motion and transitions for gaming, movies and video. Many of these features are already available in TVs and game consoles in the market today and will become more common as HDMI 2.1-enabled devices continue to be released. These features are not just ideal for game consoles but also for streaming content to a enabled TVs.


They include:

1.HDMI® Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)

One of the highlights from the HDMI 2.1 specification’s multiple gaming and media features is Variable Refresh Rate. VRR reduces or eliminates lag, judder and frame tearing for more fluid and better detailed gameplay. VRR enables a gaming source such as a console or computer to deliver video frames as fast as it can, which in many cases is slower than the normal static refresh rate.

Graphics processors require different absolute periods to render each frame, and this time is dependent upon the complexity of the scene, the horsepower of the GPU, the resolution selected and the frame rate. When the GPU is taxed by the other three factors and does not finish rendering the next frame by the time it needs to be displayed, the source must either repeat the current frame or display the partially-rendered next frame, which causes judder and tearing.

By waiting until the next frame is ready to transport it, a smoother gaming experience can be provided to the user.


2.Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)

Auto Low Latency Mode enables the ideal latency setting to automatically be set allowing for smooth, lag-free and uninterrupted viewing and interactivity. In many cases this is referred to as game mode, and it usually has to be set manually which involves going through menus and settings and then switching back again for normal viewing.

ALLM lets a game console, PC or other device send a signal to the display which will cause it to automatically switch to a low-latency, low-lag mode for gaming. This could benefit other uses, such as karaoke and video conferencing too.

But a low latency setting may not be ideal for other types of viewing since some processing features on a TV may be stopped in order to reduce latency. So with ALLM when the source no longer requires this mode—for example, when switching to a movie stream—the source disables the signal and the display reverts back to its previous mode for optimal picture.


3.HDMI® Cable Power

HDMI 2.1, Amendment 1 adds a new feature: HDMI Cable Power. With this feature, active HDMI® Cables can now be powered directly from the HDMI Connector, without attaching a separate power cable. This makes attaching and using active HDMI Cables as easy as using passive, wired HDMI Cables. To use the HDMI Cable Power feature, it is necessary to have an HDMI Cable which supports the HDMI Cable Power feature, and also an HDMI Source device which supports the HDMI Cable Power feature. This combination ensures that the active HDMI Cable can safely draw sufficient current from the HDMI Connector to power its internal circuitry.

In the case of the Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cable, performance requirements are so high, it is likely that the only way to meet the Ultra High Speed HDMI requirements in cables longer than a few meters is through powered, active HDMI Cables. Therefore, HDMI Cable Power was added to help support the HDMI 2.1 specification’s higher speeds by providing power to those active cables which may need it to function correctly. While active HDMI Cables have previously been used extensively in professional markets, their use will now increase in the home whenever consumers need longer-length Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables.

Connection is the same as attaching an ordinary, “wired” HDMI Cable, except that active cables can only be attached in one direction: One end of the cable is specifically labeled for attachment to the HDMI Source (transmitting) device, and the other end of the cable must be attached to the HDMI Sink (receiving) device. If the cable is attached in reverse, no damage will occur, but the connection will not work.

HDMI Cables with HDMI Cable Power include a separate power connector for use with source devices that do not support the HDMI Cable Power feature. Typically, these connectors will be USB Micro-B or USB Type-C®, but different power connector types may be used. As more and more source devices add support for HDMI Cable Power, these longer cables will deliver convenience in the living room along with reliable, high performance home theater audio video.

What is HDMI 2.0 features?

 HDMI 2.0, referred to by some manufacturers as HDMI UHD, was released on September 4, 2013.

HDMI 2.0 increases the maximum bandwidth to 18.0 Gbit/s. HDMI 2.0 uses TMDS encoding for video transmission like previous versions, giving it a maximum video bandwidth of 14.4 Gbit/s. This enables HDMI 2.0 to carry 4K video at 60 Hz with 24 bit/px color depth. Other features of HDMI 2.0 include support for the Rec. 2020 color space, up to 32 audio channels(hdmi switch 4k audio out, hdmi 7.1 audio extractor), up to 1536 kHz audio sample frequency, dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen, up to four audio streams, 4:2:0 chroma subsampling, 25 fps 3D formats, support for the 21:9 aspect ratio, dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams, the HE-AAC and DRA audio standards, improved 3D capability, and additional CEC functions( Digital to analog audio converter and HDMI audio extractor have CEC function).

HDMI 2.0a was released on April 8, 2015, and added support for High Dynamic Range (HDR) video with static metadata.

HDMI 2.0b was released March, 2016. HDMI 2.0b initially supported the same HDR10 standard as HDMI 2.0a as specified in the CTA-861.3 specification. In December 2016 additional support for HDR Video transport was added to HDMI 2.0b in the recently released CTA-861-G specification, which extends the static metadata signaling to include Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG).

Some HDMI 2.0 devices: 4k hdmi extender over cat6, 4k HDMI kvm extender, 4k 120m hdmi extender cascade connection, kvm extender over ip, hdmi 2.0 switch 4k 60hz, 8×8 hdmi matrix 4k, 8×8 hdmi matrix 4k, 4k hdmi kvm switch 4 port, 8 port hdmi kvm switch, vga kvm switch.

What is main differences for HDMI 2.1?

The main difference is that HDMI 2.1 increases your maximum signal bandwidth from 18Gbps (HDMI 2.0) to 48Gbps(hdmi 2.1 switch 120hz), which enables video resolutions of up to 10K and frame rates as high as 120fps—numbers that seem grossly unnecessary given current hardware realities, but impressive nonetheless. And future-proofed, so you (hopefully) won’t have to upgrade your cables or connectors for some time.

HDMI 2.1 also brings a number of other A/V features and enhancements, including:

  • Dynamic HDR, which is capable of changing HDR settings on a frame-by-frame basis.
  • Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC), which enables the use of object-based surround sound formats, such as Dolby Atmos.
  • Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)Quick Frame Transport (QFT) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which are helpful for video games since they reduce input lag, latency, and refresh rate for smoother, more accurate gameplay.
  • Quick Media Switching (QMS), which removes the delay when switching between resolutions and frame rates.

 At this moment, Is there a 100% HDMI 2.1?

Technically, TV manufacturers can legally advertise that their TVs feature HDMI 2.1 ports, even if they don’t support the super-high resolutions or frame rates that HDMI 2.1 enables. The TVs just have to support some HDMI 2.1 features, and manufacturers have to be open about what their sets have and don’t have—which is precisely what you’ll be seeing from the first wave of “HDMI 2.1”-supported TVs.

Sure, having a truncated version of HDMI 2.1 makes sense for some TVs—you might not care if your brand-new TV can’t output in 120fps, given that there’s barely any content you can watch right now—but you’re going to want to be diligent about HDMI 2.1 marketing when you’re shopping for new TVs going forward. (That said, you probably shouldn’t buy an 8K TV in 2019, anyway.)

Do you need to buy a 8K TV?

The jump to 8K Full Ultra High Def (FUHD) screens and HDMI 2.1 won’t make your current TV obsolete, since HDMI 2.0 and 4K UHD content/device are going to remain relevant for quite some time.

8K might sound like another exciting leap in visual fidelity, and many of the AV enhancements from HDMI 2.1 will likely be awesome, but there just isn’t enough 8K content justify the astronomical expense of an 8K TV, and there likely won’t be for quite some time. Yes, it’s the same argument everyone said about 4K TVs, but think about it: 4K content is still something of a novelty for most people, and 4K TVs are in some ways still unnecessary for many people, depending on their home setups.

That’s not to say that there isn’t any 8K content out there, but it’s paltry, with only a handful of movies and YouTube videos available. 8K Blu-rays and 8K Blu-ray players don’t yet exist, nor do 8K cable boxes or streaming devices. And even when they do, the first generation of 8K TVs likely won’t be compatible, since the initial models hitting in 2019 will probably have incomplete HDMI 2.1 support. Plus, HDMI 2.0 is capable of 8K video at 24 and 30 fps, which are the frame rates most movies and TV shows are shot in right now.

The only consumers who have a legitimate reason to upgrade to HDMI 2.1 sooner than others are gamers and hardcore home theater aficionados. Even then, most console gamers are going to have to wait for the big reveals from Microsoft and Sony—likely in 2020—which should give TV manufacturers plenty of time to pack in as many HDMI 2.1 features (and resolutions) as possible.

In other words, buying an 8K TV now and waiting for everything else to catch up would be a little silly; buy an 8K TV when you’re ready for an 8K TV, because you’ll have much better products to pick from then compared to now. Maybe the TVs will be a little more reasonably sized, too.

As of 2022, there are more and more 8K televisions that offer HDMI 2.1 for gaming with 8K, 60 fps, 4K 120fps and VRR.

If you own one of the TVs from the newer model series, it is important to know which HDMI 2.1 features it promises in detail. For example, if you want to use VRR with the new generation of consoles or if you want to save an audio cable between the AV receiver and TV with eARC, both devices must support the feature.

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