What Improvements Does HDMI 2.1 Bring and What Are the Advantages for Me?

Audio equipment

What Improvements Does HDMI 2.1 Bring and What Are the Advantages for Me?

You recently read information here about what HDMI 2.1 is and what it is for. Do you want to find out everything and have a more detailed view on this current topic for home cinema lovers like you? Let’s take an in-depth look at the improvements offered by HDMI 2.1.

Unbeatable image resolution and high frame rate (HFR)

HDMI 2.1 supports higher resolutions, such as 8K, as well as higher frame rates, up to 120 frames per second (fps). The resolution improves the clarity and sharpness of the image, which means one can see more details and get closer to the screen or have a larger screen without noticing any pixels. Higher refresh rates provide smoother, higher-quality images in fast-moving games or movies. The movie “Gemini” is a good example of this: it was recorded at 120 fps (frames per second) and the Ultra HD Blu-ray was one of the first with 60 fps (instead of the usual 24 fps) that supported the impressive action scenes from this movie. HDMI 2.1 now supports 4K resolution at up to 120 fps, and for 8K, it supports up to 60 Hz.


Dynamic HDR for maximum quality contrast and colors

HDMI 2.1 adds new high dynamic range (HDR) formats, introducing, in particular, dynamic metadata. While static HDR such as the well-known HDR10 (from UHD Blu-ray discs, Netflix or other streaming services) or HLG allow you to adjust the maximum and minimum luminance of an entire broadcast or movie, dynamic metadata allows you to do it frame by frame or scene by scene. This results in more gradations between the darkest and lightest colors of a film. Previously available through Dolby Vision, HDMI 2.1 now officially adds support for other formats such as HDR10+ and a Technicolor HDR format.

Get the best possible sound quality from your TV apps and TV-connected devices with Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC).)

Audio Return Channel (ARC) appeared with HDMI 1.4 and allows you to send sound from the TV back to the AVR over the same HDMI cable that sends the image from the AVR to the TV. However, the bandwidth of this channel is limited, so only audio can be sent in compressed and reduced format or in stereo format. Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) now allows you to send uncompressed, full-resolution audio over HDMI 2.1 connections. Thanks to this, you can enjoy Dolby Atmos sound from integrated TV applications or listen to unaltered 3D or high definition sound with all devices that are connected to the TV via HDMI. Lastly, lip sync correction is now mandatory, so image and sound are perfectly synchronized.

More viewing time, less waiting time. Thanks to Quick Media Switching (QMS), no more blank screens)

Are you tired of a blank screen when selecting a movie? Depending on the equipment you have, it may take up to 15 seconds to re-sync the source to the TV just because the frame rate of the content has changed. QMS, when running on source and destination, allows seamless switching between content with different frame rates. No more blank screens.

In addition to improvements that optimize picture and sound quality and functionality, HDMI 2.1 also includes a number of features that gamers have been waiting for for some time.

Variable refresh rate (VRR) reduces tearing and improves clarity:

HDMI 2.1 not only supports higher frame rates ensuring smoother video playback, it also allows for variable frame rates. Modern PC and console games do not use the same frame rate throughout the game. This speed varies, sometimes quite a bit, depending on the complexity of the scene and the power of the gaming device’s GPU (graphics processing unit). If the GPU’s processing speed varies, there is a mismatch between what the game delivers and what the TV is configured to display. With the new HDMI 2.1 feature, the display speed is synchronized with the GPU image output to avoid image tearing or lag issues, allowing you to enjoy a smooth and flawless gaming experience.

Jump into the competition with Quick Frame Transport (QFT):

This feature reduces the time it takes for an image frame to go from a source (such as a PC or game console) to a display (a TV or virtual reality headset). If both the source and display support this feature, images will always be output at a high frame rate regardless of GPU speed or display speed, allowing immediate output from the GPU when a picture is ready. Gaming fans will notice much less lag, especially with fast-paced first-person action games. Virtual reality will benefit from a similarly reduced time between movements and the world presented through the glasses.

Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM):

ALLM mode allows a television or other display to know when a game is being played. When this is the case, the display and the AVR or sound bar automatically disable any unnecessary image processing that may introduce latency or delay time to the image. You no longer have to manually select game mode on your TV.

This year’s new Denon AVRs are the first AV receivers on the market to be 8K ready. They allow you to design an advanced 4K home theater, with 8K specifications available when it’s time to upgrade.

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Simon Müller

Simon Müller is the driving force behind UMusic, embodying a lifelong passion for all things melodious. Born and raised in New York, his love for music took form at an early age and fueled his journey from an avid music enthusiast to the founder of a leading music-centered website. Simon's diverse musical tastes and intrinsic understanding of acoustic elements offer a unique perspective to the UMusic community. Sporting a dedicated commitment to aural enrichment and hearing health, his vision extends beyond just delivering news - he aspires to create a network of informed, appreciative music lovers. Spend a moment in Mueller's company, and you'd find his passion infectious – music isn’t simply his job, it’s his heartbeat.