At Electric String, we’re all about sharing our opinions on technological developments, new products and industry game changers via our regular ‘Technology Talks’ blog posts.
In our latest Technology Talks blog, Edd Stonham – Electric String’s Technical Services Manager – discusses the arrival of HDMI 2.1 with 10K and Dynamic HDR support.
Big-screen televisions historically top holiday wish lists and it’s becoming more and more affordable for many of us to snap up a 4K TV bargain.
But although we’re still a long way off from 4K becoming the definite display resolution standard, the HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Forum has given us even more to think about with a new standard of the HDMI standard, version HDMI 2.1.
The latest specification will allow up to 10K resolution with Dynamic HDR, an ultra high-speed HDMI cable specification with up to 48G bandwidth to allow uncompressed content.
Let’s take a look at some of the specifications from the HDMI forum to understand what is new in this version of HDMI.
Full resolution and frame rates include:
Feature highlights of the new specification include:
Higher video resolutions support a range of high resolutions and faster refresh rates, including 8K60Hz and 4K120Hz for immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail. Resolutions up to 10K are also supported for commercial AV and industrial and specialty usages.
Dynamic HDR support ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast and wider colour gamut (an increase in colour, eg: ‘redder’ reds, ‘greener’ greens, etc) — on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis.
The Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable supports the 48G bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support. The cable also features very low EMI emission and is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices.
eARC simplifies connectivity, provides greater ease of use, and supports the most advanced audio formats and highest audio quality. It ensures full compatibility between audio devices and upcoming HDMI 2.1 products.
Enhanced refresh rate features ensure an added level of smooth and seamless motion and transitions for gaming, movies and video. They include:
- Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) reduces or eliminates lag, stutter and frame tearing for more fluid and better detailed gameplay.
- Quick Media Switching (QMS) for movies and video eliminates the delay that can result in blank screens before content is displayed.
- Quick Frame Transport (QFT) reduces latency for smoother no-lag gaming, and real-time interactive virtual reality.
Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) allows the ideal latency setting to automatically be set allowing for smooth, lag-free and uninterrupted viewing and interactivity.
So, do we need this higher resolution? In the pursuit of getting to a quality of what we see, then yes, but it’s hard to tell if we will currently see a difference without seeing 10K content on a screen. But, assuming we saw the differences from 480/576 to 4K, I would expect the picture clarity to improve again.
Much like the audio world, where we have seen the resolution of audio increase with technology from analogue audio to 14bit 44.1Khz CD players (Phillips original standard) and today we now have 24bit/192Khz and above resolution recordings and technology to pack this content – technologies, such as MQA.
In the audio world, we have seen the evolution and I see this now happening with video. I have had many people over the years discuss that they cannot hear the difference between 16bit/44.1Khz recordings compared to 24bit/192Khz recordings and many people who can, so I expect I will hear similar conversations about the video and it will be up to the individual.
Do we need it? Well, we might not but the TV manufacturing industry certainly will to survive – it needs to continually develop TV technology from black & white CRT to flat screens to HD technology, ambient lights, 3D, curved and now 4K. Because when we see these technologies, we go out and buy new TVs to ensure we have the latest technology.
For me, I still have my 2007 model 42″ Pioneer Plasma Kuro (720p only) which cost around £1900 in 2007 but was, then, the best around for picture quality and is still a very good TV. Eventually, it will be replaced but it serves me very well and maybe I will hold off for one of those new 10k versions.
This content has also been shared on Edd’s personal blog.