HDMI 2.1 is the most advanced version of one of the most widely used interfaces in the industry for connecting display screens and transporting video and audio content. Although it seems like a minor update over HDMI 2.0, the truth is that its advantages are appreciable as we will see below.
We bring up the question because some manufacturers are promoting HDMI 2.1 without meeting its specs. Or the specifications announced and that until now we thought had to be met. This is leading to a “False HDMI 2.1” that can confuse the consumer, if not mislead it, because it will not receive the advanced capabilities and features that it expects and that are promised by the same standard in its official specifications.
The alarm was given by TFT Central. It turns out that they have reviewed an advertised Xiaomi gaming monitor (very large) with two HDMI 2.1 ports, but with an asterisk that leads you to read the fine print (very small) that tells you that it uses HDMI 2.0 capabilities. The outlet contacted HDMI.org, the administrator of HDMI licenses and certifier of the same to receive explanations about the case.
HDMI 2.1 False and consensual abuses
We could suppose that this industrial organization -supposedly the guarantor that its own standards are met- has clarified the situation, but Nothing is further from reality. The answer:
- HDMI 2.0 no longer exists.
- HDMI 2.0 features are now a subset of 2.1.
- All the new capabilities and features associated with HDMI 2.1 are optional.
- If a device claims to be 2.1 compliant, it should also indicate what features the device supports so there is no confusion.
«So there is no confusion«. We do not remember a case where an industrial specification causes greater confusion and is also promoted / consented to by the same organization responsible for the standard. And the case should be crystal clear simply out of respect for consumers: if all the specifications of a standard are not met, no product should be promoted as such. Also, in this case, we are not talking about a minor update, as you will see in the following image:
Introduced at CES 2017, the latest version of the uncompressed encrypted digital video and audio standard that replaced the SCART at the beginning of this century, improved support for transmitting ultra-high resolution video up to 8K 60Hz (or 4K 120Hz). in what was a brutal increase in bandwidth to 48 Gbps.
Also, this version adds support for HDR with dynamic metadata in all supported resolutions and a “game mode” with the variable refresh rate VVR, a technology capable of adjusting the refresh rate depending on the connected device, which in practice means eliminating artifacts and reducing latency, especially when connecting consoles to televisions.
And more. HDMI 2.1 supports HDMI Alt, an interesting connection under USB Type-C that allows video output from a device to an external display screen, without the need for adapters and also supports the eARC audio return channel. Supposedly, HDMI 2.1 also needs special wiring to comply with the standard.
As you will see, there are multiple improvements as to allow equipment promoted as such and that do not meet these specifications. HDMI.org should clarify the matter. The other big one in screen interfaces, Display Port, is much clearer and guarantor of its own specifications.