Do not buy an HDMI 2.1 TV before reading a small print

Sony TV

Photography: Wes Davis / Gizmodo

Just like USB, SD and other ports, not every HDMI input is the same, and using the right one could have a significant effect on things like picture quality, frame rate and latency.

If deciphering each version of HDMI wasn’t already tedious enough, we now know that the latest and greatest HDMI 2.1 standard isn’t exactly standardized. A TFTCentral The investigation revealed that the TV or monitor you buy with “HDMI 2.1” may not support any of the latest features.

TFTCentral sniffed out something suspicious when it saw that the Xiaomi monitor with HDMI 2.1 support meets the specifications for HDMI 2.0 only. Instead of 4K resolution, the panel was limited to 1080p. And the thing is, Xiaomi has technically done nothing wrong. It all comes down to semantics and some vague (and consumer hostile) guidelines set by the HDMI licensing administrator.

In this case, Xiaomi was harmonized in the eyes of the HDMI gods because it buried this little final note within the terms and conditions: “Due to the division of HDMI certification standards, HDMI 2.1 is divided into TMDS (bandwidth is equivalent to original HDMI 2.0 and FRL protocols) . The HDMI 2.1 interface of this product supports the TMDS protocol, the maximum supported resolution is 1920 × 1080, and the maximum refresh rate is 240Hz. ”

We are now getting into technical issues, but, in short, HDMI 2.0 is a subset of HDMI 2.1, which means that its specifications are located within the newer standard. The standards organization even said it would no longer certify for HDMI 2.0, telling TFTCentral that HDMI 2.0 “no longer exists” and that the features and capabilities of HDMI 2.1 are optional. As long as the monitor supports one of the newer standards, it can be called HDMI 2.1.

As you’d expect, HDMI 2.1 consists of many standards, so TV and monitor manufacturers could theoretically take the lowest hanging fruit, add it to their (earlier) HDMI 2.0 ports, and put the HDMI 2.1 label on the box.

This has even been confirmed by the body for HDMI standards The Verge that what Xiaomi does is perfectly within the rules and that we all depend on manufacturers to be honest about their products. The problem is that they rarely are.

History tells us that even reputable brands will do everything they can to use the latest words to launch products. We’ve seen mobile operators try to use pseudo 4G and 5G tags, TV brands that sell TVs with HD compatibility but no display resolution, and household monitors that claim to deliver HDR despite not supporting the official standard.

This is a frustrating scenario for consumers, to whom these standards bodies should give priority. Now that you see HDMI 2.1 listed in the TV specifications it doesn’t necessarily mean it supports resolutions up to 10K, 48Gbps bandwidth and Dynamic HDR. And while these have always been only theoretical characteristics, we have mistakenly assumed existence of a minimum threshold by which we could take comfort. Now the minimum includes HDMI 2.0 specifications and can mean a maximum supported resolution of just 1080p.

HDMI 2.1 has hit the headlines in recent months due to the capabilities it provides on next-generation consoles and gaming PCs – specifically, the ability to run 4K games at 120Hz. You miss those benefits if you don’t have the right connection and a fast HDMI cable. Now, even if you think you have the right setting, you may not.

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Naveen Kumar

Friendly communicator. Music maven. Explorer. Pop culture trailblazer. Social media practitioner.

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