The standards for the latest HDMI version, 2.1, have now been released by the HDMI Forum, a governing organization that handles specifications for HDMI. They were first announced at CES 2017 this January but have now been finalized and deployed to companies, which means they may now start integrating the standards into their respective devices.
HDMI 2.1: A Focus On Video
HDMI 2.1 supports a bevy of new video outputs, including 4K and 8K video at a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Surprisingly, it also supports up to 10K in resolution at a 120 Hz refresh rate, which is, on paper, incredible. But good luck finding devices that support 10K playback especially as the world has barely fully transitioned to 4K. Meanwhile, 8K displays and videos exist, sure, but they're not as ubiquitous as 4K or 1080p. The world has a lot of catching up to do, then.
Because of this, HDMI 2.1 seems more of a future-proofing set of standards than something that will affect current devices, seeing as people are still starting to jump into the 4K bandwagon. It'll likely take an even longer time before 8K becomes a widespread thing, let alone 10K.
HDMI 2.1 is backward compatible with previous specifications as well, which means it'll work with existing HDMI devices.
In addition to the resolutions mentioned above, it also supports Dynamic HDR, Variable Refresh Rate, Quick Frame Transport, and Quick Media Switching. It also introduces Auto Low Latency Mode, which automatically sets the ideal latency to give the smoothest viewing experience possible.
Perhaps one day technology advances enough to a point where 8K videos are commonplace and even average graphics cards support its playback. Right now, that seems to be a future far from here, but it's reassuring that that's the direction video is hurtling toward. By that time, people can finally take full advantage of HDMI 2.1.
HDMI Version Comparison
For those still unclear what HDMI 2.1 brings to the table, below is a handy chart that shows the progression of HDMI's standards and features it has gotten after every jump to a new generation. Other comparison charts and useful information can be found on the HDMI website. Make sure to hit the link to know more about HDMI 2.1.
Thoughts on HDMI 2.1? Do you think 10K resolution is still far from being commonplace? As always, feel free to sound off in the comments section below!