So what is HDMI 2.1? Although this standard for HDMI connectors was proposed way back in 2017, the trickle-down effect to the masses took time to take off. Today with the advent of 8K resolution screens, the age of faster gaming and scene-by-scene high definition resolutions are finally here.
This evolution marks a huge step forward for the audio/visual (AV) industry at a time when customers want to get the most out of their home theatres, televisions, and gaming consoles.
Before jumping in to look at HDMI 2.1 and its enhancements, let’s look at the concept of HDMI. High Definition Multimedia Interface – or HDMI – is a cable that you can plug into your TV or home theatre to view videos in high definition. Before its introduction, you needed bulky connectors and video cables that needed professional expertise to set up. HDMI replaced all that with just one connector that is slightly larger than your standard USB plug.
Since then, improvements have been made to keep up with evolving television sets and home theatre systems. HDMI 2.1 is the next evolution in this process.
There are three ways the new HDMI 2.1 build will enhance your home theatre room experience.
Faster refresh rates with better video resolution
These brand new HDMI cables have the ability to allow even faster refresh rates than the earlier versions. You can view both 8K and 4K resolutions as these cables allow 60 frames per second (FPS) and 120 FPS respectively. The HDMI 2.1 also goes one step further by supporting even 10K resolutions at 120Hz. You might not notice the difference immediately, but if you compare print resolutions you will notice the quality enhancement. However, if you are gaming on your home theatre, you will immediately notice the differences throughout the gameplay.
Introduction of Dynamic HDR to videos and games
With HDMI 2.0 and its several iterations, you do get to view high definition resolution (HDR) videos, but the enhancement is applied across the entire reel. An average value of the metadata is taken that enhances what you see. With HDMI 2.1 however, the metadata is applied scene-by-scene which does a much better job. Colour gamuts, brightness, and contrasts are all given a boost that add a whole new dimension to detail.
Take your audio capabilities to the next level
HDMI 2.1’s eARC or Audio Return Channel simplifies the connections between your AV devices. Supporting the most advanced audio formats like object-based audio, the eARC allows you advanced audio signal capabilities including auto-detection of new devices. You can say goodbye to potential lip-sync problems as you now get uncompressed, full-resolution audio. This improvement also has the potential to reduce the complexity of your home theatre system setup. You can now connect everything to it and run just one HDMI 2.1 cable to the receiver. Less of a mess with enhanced sound.
HDMI 2.1 opens up a whole new world of possibilities across the board. Now it’s up to the manufacturers as they have to decide how to take advantage of these new specs and re-define how you view movies or play games on your home theatre.