What You Should Know Before Taking a Step Too Far, Too Soon

HDMI 2.0 - Ready or Not, Here it Comes

Christine Park | PureLink

The HDMI Forum's announcement last September of version 2.0 has left consumers (and Pro-AV veterans alike) wondering what's next for them in A/V technology. What is HDMI 2.0? How will it handle current video content and devices? And how long until they become obsolete? 

Tossed together at almost the same time as the new HDMI standard, was the rollout of 4K/Ultra-HD televisions and displays. Though there are over two dozen Ultra HD/4K displays available on the market, there are only a select few TVs and projectors that are fully compatible with HDMI 2.0.

For system designs that are now in the works, this leaves us questioning - do Ultra-HD display manufacturers have a planned path for HDMI 2.0 upgradeability? A display with an HDMI 1.4 connection simply cannot support the future's high-bandwidth resolutions and frame rates. To remedy this issue, some companies are claiming they'll be able to provide a firmware upgrade to bring 1.4 products in the field up to 2.0. However, there is still much to prove and many factors to consider.


HDMI 2.0 has amazing potential, and the specs undoubtedly promise a new wave of technological advancements. The catch? There are very few devices on the market that support it. What good are the flashing lights of tomorrow-land when there is no way to get there?

What is HDMI 2.0? 

According to the HDMI Forum, HDMI 2.0, which is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specifications, significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds key enhancements to support continuing market requirements for enhancing the consumer video and audio experience.

HDMI Specification Comparison

 

HDMI Version

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

2.0

Date Initially Released

12/9/02

5/20/04

8/22/05

6/22/06

6/5/09

9/4/13

Maximum Resolution

1600x1200
p60

1600x1200
p60

1600x1200
p60

2048x1536
p75

4096x2160
p24

4096x2160
p60

Maximum Bandwidth (Gbps)

4.95

4.95

4.95

10.2

10.2

18

Maximum LPCM Audio Channels

8 Channels

8 Channels

8 Channels

8 Channels

8 Channels

32 Channels

Maximum Audio Sampling Rate

768kHz

768kHz

768kHz

768kHz

768kHz

1536kHz



1. No new HDMI cables or A/V receivers are required?
The HDMI Forum boldly states that version 2.0 does not define new cables or new connectors, and current High Speed (category 2) cables are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth.
However, what they fail to mention is the possibility of increased cable lengths that may be required to transmit 2.0 content. One of the most important factors in transmitting digital content is the signal's bandwidth which is supported by the speed of the cable.

What is bandwidth? Imagine you are building a plumbing system. Higher bandwidth means that bigger piping will be necessary in order transport more water. More water means more data will reach the end at one time, which translates into a sharper image, billions of colors, and crisp audio. HDMI bandwidth is measured in Gigabits Per Second (Gbps) with higher numbers meaning more data can stream across the cable at one time. The current version 1.4 has a bandwidth of 10.2 Gbps for audio, video, Ethernet, and 3D support. Version 2.0 can handle twice the size at 20 Gbps.  

While connecting the cable is typically a simple task, finding the right one may be a bit more complex. HDMI cables may all look similar to one another, but their specifications vary widely. It’s important to research the length of cable that will work with existing equipment, and the types and number of devices that are connected to the network.

2. Dual Video Stream

HDMI 2.0 supports dual video streams. It means that two full HD shows can be streamed on the same screen at the same time. How? The current HDMI 1.4 specification can support 4K resolutions at 24 frames per second, while HDMI 2.0 delivers same resolution at the double the speed of 60 frames per second. This higher frame rate is what makes dual video streaming a possibility.

There is also support for a 21:9 aspect ratio, which, well, what does this really mean for us anyway? 

HDMI Specifications

HDMI Version

1.0

1.1

1.2

1.3

1.4

2.0

CEC

X

X

X

X

X

X

DVD-Audio

 

X

X

X

X

X

SACD

 

 

X

X

X

X

Deep Color

 

 

 

X

X

X

Wider Color Gamut

 

 

 

X

X

X

Dolby TrueHD

 

 

 

X

X

X

DTS-HD Master Audio

 

 

 

X

X

X

Auto-Lip-Sync

 

 

 

X

X

X

Mini Connector

 

 

 

X

X

X

3D over HDMI

 

 

 

 

X

X

4K over HDMI

 

 

 

 

X

X

Micro Connector

 

 

 

 

X

X

Automotive Connector

 

 

 

 

X

X

HDMI Ethernet Channel

 

 

 

 

X

X

Audio Return Channel

 

 

 

 

X

X

4K@50/60

 

 

 

 

 

X

CEC Extension

 

 

 

 

 

X

Dual-View

 

 

 

 

 

X

Multi-Stream Audio

 

 

 

 

 

X

21:9 Aspect Ratio

 

 

 

 

 

X

Dynamic Auto
Lip-Sync

 

 

 

 

 

X


What's in it for Pro-AV?

We don't expect to see many HDMI 2.0 products in 2014. 

The spec comes first, and then the chip makers design and build chips. Once these chips can be sourced in volume, display and other A/V device manufacturers will build these chips into their products. In the Pro-AV market, and especially in matrix router development, the adoption of HDMI 2.0 will be the last stage in progress. 

PureLink was the first to develop HDMI distribution amplifiers back in 2006, and expanding new technology is just a matter of time. However, the gateway to implementing new technology opens after it has been proven to work.

 

 

About PureLink
From the beginning, PureLink has been dedicated to making the digital world a better place through their state-of-the-art digital connectivity products and solutions. PureLink’s technologies are deployed worldwide by public, private and governmental sectors. Vertical markets include government and military organizations, broad and post-production facilities, energy sector control rooms, scientific exploration, banking and brokerage, commercial IT, medical imaging, and home theater. Through innovative, reliable products and services, a talented team of thinkers and builders, valuable partnerships, and a responsible approach to business and global citizenship, PureLink is leading the world in imaginative new directions.

PureLink

PureLink

Focused on innovation and quality, PureLink is the leading provider of digital connectivity solutions to commercial audio/video and IT markets worldwide. PureLink offers a powerful line of matrix-switching, format conversion, signal distribution, and long-distance extension systems that are optimized to support any consumer or commercial application.

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4K/60 - The Inconvenient Truth
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