You may have just gotten used to HDMI 2.0, but HDMI 2.1 is already on its way, and it has all kinds of awesome new features. Here’s what you need to know about the substantial update.
Don’t be fooled by the seemingly small jump of going from 2.0 to only 2.1. As Linus Sebastian explains in this video from the Techquickie YouTube channel, HDMI 2.1 is bringing support for all kinds of cool stuff. Here are some of the new features:
The biggest news is that HDMI 2.1 will support content at resolutions up to 10K. It will also support frame rates at 120 Hertz at 10K resolution.
The 2.1 update adds a “Game Mode VRR” feature, which allows a source device, like a PC or game console, to synchronize its refresh rate with a connected display. This will ideally reduce screen tearing dramatically.
HDMI 2.1 will support HDR like 2.0 does , but will also bring dynamic metadata, which allows the exact range of luminance to be varied on a “per frame” basis like with Dolby Vision HDR. The kicker here, though, is that HDMI 2.1's dynamic metadata will work with the open standard HDR 10. That means better HDR picture for more, less-expensive devices.
Audio will get a boost too. Enhanced Audio Return Channel will enable object-based audio schemes similar to Dolby Atmos and DTS X. This makes positional audio more realistic, regardless of how many speakers your surround sound setup has.
Of course, to take advantage of all the cool new stuff HDMI 2.1 is bringing to the table, you’ll need new everything. New TV, new source devices, new copies of your movies and TV shows, and new HDMI 2.1 compatible cables. It’s probably not worth upgrading as soon as the update releases early this year, but it’s good to keep this information in mind as you think about your potential home theater setup in the future.