The holiday season is upon us with many people starting to go out and purchase 4K tv’s as the technology is starting to become affordable for most of us. however just as this happens we now see the HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) Forum have looked into the future and give us 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.
A few 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 as well:
- 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 color gamuts—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, well in the pursuit of getting to a quality of what we see then yes, but currently will we see a difference, this is hard to tell without actually 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 we have seen the resolution of audio increase with technology from analogue audio to 14bit 44.1Khz CD players(Phillips original standard) and now today we have 24bit/192Khz and above resolution recordings and technology to pack this content, technologies such as MQA. so 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 discus 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.
So do we need it, well we might not but the tv manufacturing industry does to survive, it needs to continue developing tv technology from black and white CRT to flat screens to HD technology, ambient lights, 3D, curved and now 4K so we see these technologies make us all go out and by new TV’s so 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 the best around for picture quality and is still a very good TV, it will be replaced but it serves me very well and maybe I will hold off for one of those new 10k versions.