HDMI 2.0: NEXT GENERATION
In 2013, HDMI LLC released NEW specifications for the HDMI version 2.0 standards. This new specification provides for the following additional functionality:
- Increased bandwidth to 18Gbps for HDMI Cables designated, and passing ATC testing as a “High Speed HDMI Cable”
- 4K@50/60 Cycles (2160P), which is 4 times the clarity of previous 1080P/60 cycle resolution
- Up to 32 audio channels for true multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
- Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency support
- Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (up to 4)
- Support for wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
- Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
- CEC (signal coding) extensions
HDMI 2.0: DO I NEED NEW CABLES? DO I NEED HDMI 2.0?
Fortunately for MOST consumers, existing HIGH SPEED HDMI cables that were manufactured, certified, and tested to the version 1.4x specification will meet HDMI 2.0 standards. So how does a version 1.4x cable – previously tested and certified to 10.2Gbps (for example) now meet the version 2.0 specification which states support to 18Gbps? A version 1.4x HDMI cable has 19 connector points – and up to 19 wires.
In version 1.4x, only 6 wires (1 each for Red, Green, and Blue plus ground) are used for the 3.4Gbps (times 3 = 10.2Gbps). The HDMI 2.0 specification makes uses of the other connectors and wires to “spill-over” data to achieve the 18Gbps. For example, the wire controlling CEC information only was used to send a very tiny data stream of codes back and forth between HDMI devices. HDMI 2.0 protocols (for devices supporting HDMI 2.0), the additional bandwidth needed uses a more efficient signaling method as well as the additional wires to achieve this newer 18Gbps. Both the SOURCE DEVICE (such as a 4K Media Player) and the DISPLAY DEVICE (such as a 4Kx2K Ultra HDTV) must support these specific HDMI 2.0 features in order to make use of these new capabilities.
Most HDMI cables that passed testing certification for v1.4 specifications will be suitable for MOST 4K UHTV, with one possible exception – support for 4K@60Hz. Support at 60Hz requires that the cable meet or exceed 18Gbps. As version 1.4 cables were only TESTED to meet 10.2Gbps, it is possible that certion v1.4 cables will NOT have the ability to reach the required 18Gbps bandwidth required for such support. Some newer model TVs will support 4K@60Hz – however there is not cinema content beyond 30Hz to support such frame/cycles – nor is there expected to be any content at 60Hz for the foreseeable furture.
DO I NEED “ETHERNET HDMI”?
For most home theatre and computer applications, the answer is “no”. A small number of advanced 3D Blu-ray players and Home Theatre receivers are now finally providing support for HDMI v1.4 (aka “HDMI with Ethernet” or “HEC”), but still even FEWER devices are actually making use of this specific feature. Nearly all our current HDMI cable stock is now “HDMI with Ethernet”. Any device needing an HDMI cable can use HDMI with Ethernet cable as it is fully backwards compatible. This cable feature allows your internet-ready entertainment devices, from gaming consoles to Blu-ray Disc players and more, to share an internet connection without any need for a separate Ethernet cable. Devices connected by the HDMI Ethernet Channel will be able to exchange digital content in its native format, enabling recording, storage, and playback options across a connected system, with no need for a separate Ethernet cable. The HDMI Ethernet Channel accommodates current and future IP-based networking solutions for consumer electronics, such as UPnP, LiquidHD, and DLNA. HDMI with Ethernet is the ideal one-cable solution for connecting devices in these advanced home-networking environments using network protocols TCP/IP, UPnP, DLNA, LiquidHD, and so forth.
DO I NEED “AUDIO RETURN CHANNEL” OR “ARC”?
ARC was an added feature to the version 1.4 standard. A typical use for ARC allowed for the audio produced by a TV (attached using an off-air antena, for example) to be fed back to a receiver for in-bound processing. “Return” then refers to the audio stream being returned upstream to the A/V receiver using the same HDMI cable that is normally used from the receiver to “send” a video and audio signal to the TV. Previous to this feature being implemented, one would need a seperate audio cable (a legacy left and right RCA cable, or newer Toslink audio cable) that would then OUTPUT from the TV and feed back into the receiver. Back to the question then. Do you NEED this feature? This can be useful if you have an off-air antena attached to your TV to receive free TV channels, or if you have a TV that is supporting newer streamed media services (such as NetFlix, or Amazon Video On Demand). In order for this feature to work, your TV MUST support “HDMI ARC”, your receiver must support “HDMI ARC”, and you must have a newer HDMI cable made using the newer version 1.4 standards – or look for an HDMI cable advertised as “HDMI with Ethernet”.
WHAT IS CL-2 AND CL-3?
CL-2 is an abbreviation for “Class 2” as it refers to the wiring code in the USA. Many states require low voltage cables to be “CL-2” rated in order for them to be installed inside the wall. A CL-2 rated cable has a slightly different outer insulation with a different fire rating. A CL-2 rated cable can also be used outside the wall. Class 3 is a rating for cables over 300 volts. As HDMI cables only have 5 volts, a 5 volt HDMI Class-2 cable actually meets Class-3 specifications – but will still be called and labeled a CLASS 2 cable.
WHAT IS AWG?
AWG is an abbreviation for American Wire Gauge. The SMALLER the number, the thicker the copper wire. A 22 AWG HDMI cable is almost twice as thick as a 24 AWG. A copper wire’s thickness for a longer length HDMI cable helps reduce the resistance. Longer HDMI cables tend to be made from thicker copper wire. Other factors – such as a silver tinned coating on copper wire add to a cables conductivity.
DO I NEED A STANDARD SPEED OR HIGH SPEED HDMI CABLE?
Nearly ALL HDMI devices need only standard speed support. “Standard Speed” means that the cable can sustain data speeds of at least 4.92Gbps as tested by HDMI LLC. Some newer Blu-ray players, and nearly ALL 3D Blu-ray players need a HIGH SPEED HDMI cable. They sustain speeds of at least 10.2Gbps due to the higher volume of video and audio data it must transfer. Some of our HDMI cables have been lab-tested to reach speeds of up to 15.2Gbps. However, as of the v1.4A specification, cables are only certified and tested to meet either 4.92Gbps (standard speed), or 10.2Gbps (high speed).
Think of a cable that can reach speeds of 15.2Gbps as an over-sized garden hose: As the faucet can only output a maximum amount of gallons per minute, putting an over-sized hose on the tap will not get the lawn any wetter! Some of our NEWER HDMI cables (our ELITE HDMI cable line, for example) can now reach tested speeds up to 20.7Gbps. Currently, there are no devices making use of such incredible bandwidth capabilties – however, devices in the future may start to call for this expanded bandwidth. Buying a cable with beyond 10.2Gbps can somewhat “future-proof” your purchase.
WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A DIRECT HDMI CONNECTION AND A MULTI-SEGMENT HDMI? HOW DOES THIS AFFECT MY CABLE SELECTION?
A multi-segment HDMI cable connection uses MORE than one HDMI cable to connect from the original SOURCE equipment (such as a Blu-Ray Player) and a TV. Intermediate equipment – such as an A/V receiver, HDMI Switch, or HDMI Splitter may be placed in-between the source equipment and TV. When you use more than one HDMI cable to ultimately connect from the source equipment to the TV, a significant amount of added electrical resistence as added to the circuit compared to a “direct HDMI connection”. A direct HDMI connection would use a single HDMI cable connected to the SOURCE equipment and be attached directly to the end TV.