Tuesday, September 17, 2013
The long-awaited HDMI 2.0 is here: What you need to know
HDMI 2.0: What you need to know
The long-awaited HDMI 2.0 is here, with more 4K support, higher frame rate potential, NO NEW CABLES, and more.
CNET - The HDMI Forum, the nonprofit body that oversees the HDMI specification, recently announced version 2.0. There were numerous changes, not least support for higher frame rates than are possible with the current 1.4 specification.
Do you need to upgrade? Will your cables still work? What does this mean for the future of TVs? Do you care? Answers for all these questions (except maybe the last one) below...
First, here's where we are now. The until-now most recent version of the HDMI specification was version 1.4. It specified a number of things, like 4,096x2,160-pixel resolution up to 24 frames per second, or 3,820x2,160 up to 30fps. If you've bought any gear with an HDMI connector in the past few years, it's probably version 1.4. It carried over all the features and support from previous versions, plus added 3D, Audio Return Channel, and so on.
2.0 for 4K
With the TV industry moving inexorably toward Ultra HD "4K," it was clear there needed to be more bandwidth in the connection to handle the future's higher resolutions and frame rates. On that front, HDMI 2.0 delivers, supporting "4K" (2160p by the Forum's explanation) up to 60fps. This allows for full-resolution 4K 3D, along with higher-frame-rate 2D content, like (potentially) home videos and computer games (PC, not PS4/Xbox One). Since almost all movies are shot at 24fps, this increase is less important for feature films or scripted TV shows.
Check out What is refresh rate? for more on refresh and frame rates.
All about the bandwidth
The most important thing to understand about HDMI 2.0 is the increase of the size of the "pipe" transmitting data from the source (like a future native 4K Blu-ray player or PC) to display. This makes possible the increased frame rates at high resolutions. It also allows even more interesting lower-resolution images. For example, HDMI 2.0 supports dual video streams, so you can get two full HD shows on the same screen at the same time. Seem weird? Well, Samsung and LG already have versions of this either in current or future displays, like MultiView on Samsung's KN55S9C OLED TV. So you can watch "Dancing with the Stars" reruns on Netflix while your spouse frags noobs in "Call of Duty 9." More