HDMI 2.0 at #CES2014

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There are so many confusion and misinformation spread around the internet about the new standard of HDMI. So in order to debunk the myths and misinformation, I went straight to the source: the HDMI booth at #CES2014 and spent quite an amount of time to hear what they have to say. Essentially, after compiling all the information given about HDMI 2.0, I come up with the information below.

HDMI 2.0 is 100% backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specifications, yet significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds key enhancements to support the growing market requirements for enhancing the consumer video and audio experience. New functionality includes:

• 4K@50/60, (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
• Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
• Up to 1536 kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
• Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
• Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (up to 4)
• Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
• Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
• CEC extensions provides expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point

HDMI 2.0 does not define new cables or new connectors. Current High Speed cables (Category 2 cables) of good quality (rated at 18 Gbps and higher) are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth. Of course, the questionable $10 HDMI cables that tend to only have 10.2 Gbps bandwidth will have an extremely good chance of not being able to send the signal properly, causing sparkles, handshake issues or sometimes showing no picture and/or audio at all.

Also, HDMI 2.0 includes support for BT.2020 Colorimetry with 10 or more bits of color depth.

Video Formats defined in BT.2020 and supported by HDMI 2.0 specification:
– 2160p, 10/12 bits, 24/25/30Hz, RGB/4:2:2/4:4:4
– 2160p, 10/12 bits, 50/60Hz, 4:2:0/4:2:2

HDMI 2 Chart

Now that HDMI already have their compliance test in place, get ready for a barrage of HDMI 2.0 products coming relatively soon. As far as your current receiver and/or TV goes, some may be able to be upgraded to HDMI 2.0 via firmware upgrade (such as Sony 4K TVs), some will have the approach of modular hardware upgrade (such in the case of Samsung 4K TVs) but most with non-flashable HDMI hardware will not be able to be upgraded to HDMI 2.0 regardless the available bandwidth the HDMI chip they’re using.

I just wish that after all this time, HDMI mandates the use of locking HDMI connectors for a robust connection instead of the current cruddy and flimsy plug in system that tend to be lose their grip after a while especially when thicker gauge cables are being used.

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