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HDMI Cables Have Standards
- May 29, 2018 -

HDMI 1.4 also has to sub versions: 1.4a and 1.4b. The former allows the cable to work with 3D televisions in 1080p 24Hz, and the latter allows it to also handle 3D 1080p at 120Hz. Neither provides any noticeable improvement if you’re using one with a 2D television. As 3D TVs aren’t especially popular anymore, and there’s not a lot of content available, you don’t really need to think too much about these two—they’ll still work just like a vanilla version 1.4 cable.

 

What does provide an improvement is moving to Version 2.0. With this upgrade, the maximum bandwidth of the cable nearly doubles, from 10Gbps to 18Gbps. This means the cable can theoretically transmit a lot more data—like all the data needed to properly render a wider color gamut or HDR. Unfortunately, you’re still capped at 4K and 60Hz. So if you head into the big box store and they try to sell you on a fancy 4K TV capable of 120Hz,  don’t necessarily feel like you need to spend the money. You will not be able to get a 4K 120Hz picture transmitted over HDMI with version 2.0 or earlier.

 

This might be where you point to Version HDMI 2.1, which was announced back in November 2017. It doesn’t just double the bandwidth. At a theoretical max of 48Gbps, it’s almost three times faster than 2.0 and nearly five times faster than 1.4 or earlier. It can actually do 4K and 120Hz and wide color gamut and HDR all at the same time. However, because it was announced in November 2017, there are very, very few TVs with ports that support the standard, or cables made to the standard.