HDMI 2.0 Versus 2.1: Is There a Significant Impact of HDMI 2.1?

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HDMI 2.0 Versus 2.1: seemingly similar cables with distinct capabilities. While HDMI 2.0 represents the current peak, HDMI 2.1 is positioned as the next-generation standard. However, many of the features offered by HDMI 2.1 cannot be fully utilized until compatible devices become more widespread.

So, what are the major distinctions?

What if I were to explain that HDMI 2.1 features enhanced VRR and its bandwidth is doubled?

Feeling perplexed?

No need to worry, I will start from the beginning.

HDMI 2.0 Vs 2.1: A Comprehensive Look

Pixels are the smallest units of an image. When millions of pixels are densely packed together, they form an image. The higher the pixel density on the screen, the better the overall image quality.
Interested in seeing pixels up close?
Simply grab your smartphone, activate the camera, and position it in front of a digital screen. Now, observe your screen's display through your smartphone. You'll notice tiny dots, which collectively form the resolution. The advanced iteration of HDMI supports higher resolutions.

HDMI 2.0 Vs 2.1: Which Offers Superior Video Quality

  • HDMI 2.0 supports 4k video at 60 FPS (even though most movies are filmed at 24 FPS).
  • The standout feature of HDMI 2.1 is its support for massive 8k resolutions.
Interestingly, there's currently a lack of 8K video content, even high-budget movies do not fully support 8k video. So, what's the benefit of 8K?

Up to now, gamers are the primary beneficiaries of 8K. If you seek an 8k video experience, HDMI 2.1 is necessary. To achieve this, you'll need the latest gaming consoles.

Optimizing Your 8K TV Experience

To maximize the potential of your current 8K TV, using a 2.1 cable is essential. However, the challenge lies in the scarcity of 8K videos, while 4K content is more readily available. But how can you upscale 4K to 8K?

The straightforward solution is to invest in the latest TV models. For instance, Samsung's latest models feature AI technology, which enhances image quality and can upscale 4K video.

Additionally, most TVs come with default settings, so it's important to ensure you're using the appropriate mode.

Here are the typical modes found in most TVs:
  • Standard: Ideal for viewing in any environment
  • Dynamic: Perfect for bright environments
  • Natural: Adds visual comfort and reduces eye strain
  • Movie: Suitable for viewing in a dark room
Note: If you own a TV other than an 8K TV, you should verify that your TV supports 2.1 and this information is available in the TV's specifications. If not, sticking with 2.0 is recommended, as purchasing 2.1 cables would be a waste of money.

Frames Per Second (FPS)
It represents the total number of images displayed on the screen. FPS has an inverse relationship with distraction.

The lower the FPS, the higher the distraction will be. Conversely, the higher the FPS, the lower the distraction.
Did You Know?
Vision is the most potent human sensory ability. The human body possesses around 11 million sensory receptors, with half of them dedicated to vision.

Another intriguing fact is that the human eye cannot perceive beyond 60Hz. You might be curious about the purpose of 240Hz monitors. The brain, rather than the eye, is actually responsible for processing what is seen.

Refresh Rate (Transitioning Images into Video)

Just as millions of pixels come together to form a stunning image, hundreds and thousands of images combine to create the illusion of motion or video.

Therefore, your display's refresh rate determines how many new images it can display per second, measured in Hz. For instance, if your monitor has a refresh rate of 240 Hz, it means it refreshes 240 images every second. To better understand, refer to the visuals below.

You can observe that the car's movement appears smooth at 240 Hz compared to its movement at 60 Hz. At 240 Hz, the video flows seamlessly, while at 60 Hz, the video appears choppy.

HDMI 2.0 can easily support a refresh rate of 4K@60 Hz (Hertz). However, HDMI 2.1 is more robust, supporting up to 8k@60 Hz or 4k@120 Hz. Achieving these results requires the use of a high-quality HDMI cable.

VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) - A notable feature of HDMI 2.1

The primary role of VRR is to eliminate screen tearing during gameplay. Screen tearing occurs when your TV's image refresh rate is out of sync with the frame delivery rate of your PC or console's graphics card.

Tearing becomes more noticeable when using a 60Hz TV and the game's FPS fluctuates between 60 and 40 FPS. The presence of VRR results in smoother video and enhanced gameplay.

This leads to another question.

Do you require HDMI 2.0 or 2.1 for 120 FPS?

With an HDMI 2.1 connection, you can achieve 120 fps at 4K. However, as the resolution increases to 8K, the fps decreases to 60 FPS. On the other hand, HDMI 2.0 supports 120fps, but only at 1080p or 1440p.

Is there a distinction between VRR and FPS?

While FPS represents the total number of images, VRR denotes the rate at which they refresh.

VRR acts like a monitor, regulating how frequently the screen refreshes in comparison to the frame rate produced by the console, PC, laptop, or any other source you are using. In addition to HDMI, DisplayPort provides a distinct mechanism for enhancing display.

HDMI 2.0 Vs 2.1: Other Notable Differences.

  • Bandwidth: HDMI 2.0 offers a bandwidth of 18 Gbps, whereas HDMI 2.1 boasts a bandwidth of 48 Gbps, marking a substantial increase.

  • eARC: The eARC feature of HDMI 2.1 has rendered it compatible with the most advanced audio formats.

  • Dynamic HDR: While HDMI 2.0 lacks support for Dynamic HDR, HDMI 2.1 fully supports it. Dynamic HDR ensures that each on-screen motion carries vivid color gamuts, brightness, and sharpness.
When Should You Consider HDMI 2.1?
Birthday Party:
When you're hosting friends for a day of gaming and movie watching, and you want to ensure the best visual experience. 

Fun All Night:
When you're planning to enjoy your favorite music through Sound Bars using the eARC feature of HDMI 2.1.

When you aim to impress your neighbors with stunning displays in the TV lounge.

If you want to create lasting memories with your kids while watching movies on a Home Theatre, HDMI 2.1 is the way to go.

The Verdict: HDMI 2.0 Vs 2.1

One of the advantages of HDMI and its various versions is that, despite there being over 7 versions, the connector remains the same. As a result, many HDMI versions remain relevant, albeit with certain limitations.

HDMI 2.1 offers remarkable features such as exceptional bandwidth and support for resolutions up to 8k. Additionally, it includes eARC and Dynamic HDR, which are absent in HDMI 2.0. Ultimately, when comparing HDMI 2.0 Vs 2.1, HDMI 2.1 has proven to be the latest standard.

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