With all eyes on 4K distribution and transport, manufacturers are now beginning to promise HDMI 2.0 support for complete 4K/60 connectivity. The truth or a reassuring lie?

4K/60 - The Inconvenient Truth

Contributed by | PureLink


The shift to HDMI 2.0 is a game changer as the bandwidth has nearly doubled from HDMI 1.4, allowing for up to 4K at 60 Hz video timing with a 4:4:4 color space. However, at the time of its release in September 2013, no chips or hardware actually supported the higher 18-Gbps/600MHz data transfer rate. What does this mean for early “HDMI 2.0 devices?”

The answer is in the color spacing. Rather than using the standard 4:4:4 or RGB sampling, color spacing is compressed within a video signal to 4:2:2 or 4:2:0 sub-sampling in order to save space. This reduces the color information by 75% which reduces the overall data rate by 50%. In other words, support for 4:2:0 allows 4K at 60 Hz to be transmitted within the same bandwidth as 4K at 30hz 4:4:4, or as supported by HDMI 1.4 specifications.

HDMI 2.0 or 4K over HDMI 1.4?

It is important to note that HDMI version numbers don’t accurately reflect the feature set of the products. Merely saying the product is HDMI 2.0 compliant in itself doesn’t hold much validity, since almost every feature within that standard is optional.

Without much headway on gear and content, 4K/60 scaling and distribution solutions currently available on the market are simply passing 4K at 60 Hz with compressed color spacing through an existing HDMI 1.4 interface. 

In order to properly reflect the feature set in the product, what really should be said is HDMI with 4K support or HDMI with 3D support or HDMI with 4K 60 4:2:0 support. In most cases when people are asking about HDMI 2.0 support, what they’re really asking is if the product supports 4K at 60Hz. 

HDMI 2.0 itself isn’t really about resolution, but about bandwidth. More bandwidth is what makes all of its new standards, possible. 


4K/60 by PureLink™

PureMedia™ Signal Management Solutions were the first to support 4K in 2013, offering complete 4K/60 Hz switching and scaling powered by Motore™

Together with its universal, cross-platform architecture up to 256x256, wall plate and rack mountable extension packages, and comprehensive options such as Quad View outputs, PureMedia™ truly covers all the bases in Ultra HD. Smart. Functional. Scalable. Ready.



The content & opinions in this article are the author’s and do not necessarily represent the views of HomeToys


PureLink is the leading provider of digital connectivity solutions to commercial audio/video and IT markets worldwide. PureLink has pioneered 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. Government, military, business, education, entertainment, and healthcare markets rely on PureLink's technology every day. PureLink goes Beyond 4K.

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