What is HDMI 2.1 and why do I need it?

Audio equipment

What is HDMI 2.1 and why do I need it?

Today, HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is the most important connection method between sources such as Blu-ray players, game consoles or media players, and displays such as televisions or projectors. This all-digital standard quickly overhauled the popular SCART or other analog connections, starting in the early 2000s. It carries high-definition video and immersive audio, as well as various control signals. Additionally, it ensures that the content is copy protected. Today, everyone who has a flat TV, a modern game console, a pay TV set-top box, or a streaming device like FireTV or AppleTV, is using an HDMI connection between all devices. An AV receiver, like the Denon AVR-X2700H, is a type of HDMI switching device, repeater device, or hub, as it collects audio and video signals from all connected devices and forwards data, primarily video, to the display. It’s a vital part of a home theater dream.

Why a new version of HDMI?

Each version of the standard published by the HDMI Organization defines different features that may be supported by a compatible product. The development of audio and video technology is very rapid, and as new functions simply require more digital data, transmission technology needs to adapt. That’s why, in January 2017, the HDMI Organization announced a new standard called HDMI 2.1 that includes improvements for better video, better audio, but also for a better user experience and better games. The improvements cover so many areas that it should take until mid-2020 for the first AV receivers like the Denon AVC-X4700H to launch with all the key features of the new HDMI version.

The old HDMI 2.0b standard defined many amazing things like 4K image (also known as Ultra HD), HDR (High Dynamic Range) and Dolby Vision for better video, as well as up to 32 channels of audio and even sent immersive audio formats. from TV to AV receiver via ARC (Audio Return Channel), which is very useful for running media player apps like Netflix on TV. Talking about technology: a total of 18 Gbit/s was defined as the video transmission bandwidth which required good cables and the use of new cable technologies for long distances to transmit these high resolution and more vivid video signals and colorful without any interruption.

How HDMI 2.1 changes your viewing experience

Now, new video technologies like Dynamic HDR, HDR10+ and 8K are just around the corner. 8K resolution has four times more pixels than today’s 4K image. Additionally, the new standard defines frame rates higher than 120 frames per second (this means 120 individual images per second) which provides smoother and sharper motion for sports and games. Such resolution and frame rate require a larger amount of data (up to 40+ Gbit/s) to be sent between HDMI devices, which is simply not possible in older versions of HDMI. That is why a new standard had to be introduced that supports higher bandwidths.

Additionally, gamers really appreciate features like Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Automatic Low Latency Mode (ALLM), and Quick Frame Transport (QFT), to avoid lags, tearing, and stuttering when gaming. Until recently, this was just a dream for gamers, as HDMI 2.0 did not define these functionalities.

Now, with key features specified in HDMI 2.1 launching for the first time on Denon AV receivers in early summer 2020, it will all finally be possible. And even if 8K TVs and streaming devices are currently rare and very expensive, a new Denon AVR lets you build today’s most advanced 4K home theater and gaming system, with 8K specs available when you’re ready. update. .

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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.