HDMI 2.1 brings a considerable jump over previous HDMI specifications with support for uncompressed 8K (7680×4320) video feed at 60 Hz refresh rate. This is an expected move from the Forum as other competing technologies, such as DisplayPort, already support 8K UHD resolution.
The latest specifications also bump the refresh rate to 120Hz for 4K resolution. Earlier, it was limited to 60Hz. In a nutshell, the specification enhances the bandwidth to 48 gigabits per second and now offers support for a total 10K resolution @ 120Hz when multiple displays are connected and for commercial uses.
The Audio Return Channel is an HDMI feature that eliminates the need for a separate audio cable in case an audio device is connected. ARC has also been updated to support advanced audio technologies like Dolby Atmos, DTS:X for connected sound processing devices like home theaters and soundbars.
Talking about enhanced refresh rate features, QMS (Quick Media Switching) reduces timing of the black screen displayed before the content such as movies and videos is played. Further, HDMI 2.1 has Quick Frame Transport (QFT) to reduce latency during games and playback of VR content.
As known earlier, HDMI 2.1 brings support for dynamic metadata for HDR content. It means custom depth, brightness, contrast, wide-gamut, etc. levels can be set in a frame-by-frame fashion. Game Mode VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) adds to the list of salient features. It enables a GPU to display the image the moment it is rendered.
The new HDMI specification is also compatible with previous versions and working on the same HDMI connector currently in use. However, a new Ultra High-Speed HDMI 48G cable will be required to stream content in 8K resolution and to use other HDMI 2.1 features. It’s backward compatible and features low EMI (Electro-magnetic Interface) to reduce interference with wireless devices in the vicinity.
You can read more about HDMI 2.1 here.
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