HDMI Specification 2.1 Introduces 8K Video

HDMI, the High-Definition Media Interface, is a standard around media playback. The specification received an update to version 2.1, now supporting 8K video at 60 Hz and 4K at 120 Hz. The news was announced at CES.

The current trend in television sets is ultra-high definition, also known as 4K. A standard 4K display has a resolution of 3840×2160. It’s not technically 4K, but it’s pretty close. On a 50″ TV, your TV will be about 80 pixels per inch. If you stood right in front of it, you could see individual pixels. However, as you move farther away, each pixel will become indistinguishable.

With 8K, the resolution becomes 7680×4320, and the DPI becomes 176 DPI. This may make it harder to see those pixels, but it also allows TV sets to be built larger without sacrificing quality.

* Higher Video Resolutions support a range of higher resolutions and faster refresh rates including 8K60Hz and 4K120Hz for immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail.
* Dynamic HDR ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast, and wider color gamuts—on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis.
* 48G cables enable up to 48Gbps bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support including 8K video with HDR. The cable is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices.
* eARC supports the most advanced audio formats such as object-based audio, and enables advanced audio signal control capabilities including device auto-detect.
* Game Mode VRR features variable refresh rate, which enables a 3D graphics processor to display the image at the moment it is rendered for more fluid and better detailed gameplay, and for reducing or eliminating lag, stutter, and frame tearing.

The entire set of changes in the specification shows some focus being paid to improved gaming experiences as well. The new standard will work with cables that have a hefty bandwidth of 48 Gbps, certainly enough to push millions of bits.

This doesn’t mean that you’ll be seeing a lot of 8K video anytime soon. There aren’t too many videos shot in this resolution, and hardly any displays either. It’s an example of future-proofing the standard so once this does enter the mainstream the hardware will be prepared.

Nick Felker

Nick Felker

Nick Felker is a student Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Rowan University (C/O 2017) and the student IEEE webmaster. When he's not studying, he is a software developer for the web and Android (Felker Tech). He has several open source projects on GitHub (http://github.com/fleker) Devices: Moto G-2013 Moto G-2015, Moto 360, Google ADT-1, Nexus 7-2013 (x2), Lenovo Laptop, Custom Desktop. Although he was an intern at Google, the content of this blog is entirely independent and his own thoughts.

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