What You Need To Know About HDMI Cables
Introduction Similar to USB cables and their position in the PC peripheral world, HDMI cables have become the gold standard for connecting multimedia devices. They have been around for quite some time now, and we are starting to take them for granted, without ever wondering what is behind that technology and what makes it so unique and so widely applicable. This article will tell you more about exactly that. We will inspect HDMI cables, giving you more information about this interface and the reasons behind its popularity. You will also learn more about different features and HDMI cable types, as well as HDMI 4K capabilities that will let you enjoy movies and video games in the highest resolutions available. Let's dive in a bit deeper into the world of HDMI! What Are HDMI Cables And What Makes Tham So Popular? High Definition Multimedia Interface, or HDMI, is the standard modern connection solution for almost all kinds of audio-visual devices. You can find HDMI connectors on TVs, computer monitors, gaming consoles, set-top boxes, media streamers, soundbars. In fact, HDMI is so popularized that you can often find it as the only connection option available. If that is the case, you will need to purchase adapters, such as USB to HDMI, and connect your device that way. The feature that made HDMI so popular is that it allows both HD video and audio transfer through the same cable, which is a major plus compared to some older cable interfaces (such as VGA, for example, which was video-only). Only one cable simplifies cable management without compromising video and audio quality. The signal in HDMI cables is entirely digital, which is also unlike some older interfaces. Furthermore, in most cases, HDMI is the only interface that is available for High Definition connection, making them an automatic choice for all modern systems - 480i standard definition will no longer do. HDMI Offers So Much More Than Audio/Video Transfer Although HDMI cables became synonymous for High Definition multimedia transfer, they offer more unique benefits: ● Many supported formats - HDMI cables are famous for supporting HD videos, but they also support Ultra HD and standard video signals, as well as surround sound and stereo audio formats, both compressed and uncompressed. This variety allows you to play almost any kind of audio/video via HDMI ports and cables. What's more, HDMI cables are even capable of carrying 3D video signal, which again makes them unique. ● HDMI can carry power, internet, two-way control, and identification information too - besides audio and video signals, HDMI cables can transfer low voltage power, and more modern versions can be used to carry the Internet signal and for identification and control purposes. ● HDMI helps authentication - HDCP, or High-bandwidth digital content protection, can be found on many HDMI devices, and it helps content owners to protect their rights, especially preventing piracy. HDMI Cable Types - An Ever-Changing Interface HDMI interfaces are present for quite some time now, but they are not the same as they were in the beginning. The standard keeps evolving, and modern HDMI offers so much more than the first versions. The good news is that all versions are backward compatible, which will mean that you will be able to use old interfaces with new devices, and vice versa, but with limited functionalities, of course. It will work on the version that both "ends" mutually support. For example, if you have a 1.4 HDMI TV that connects to a more modern 2.1 HDMI console, the whole system will work like both were a 1.4 HDMI standard. There are currently 9+ versions of HDMI cables, starting with 1.0 and ending with 2.1. With each version, the list of supported resolutions and features grew bigger. What's also good with HDMI is that the cable/devices either works or doesn't. That's because the interface is digital, and it has far fewer fluctuations as the older system had. You will hardly ever experience picture quality loss only because the cable slightly moved. Can A Regular HDMI Cable Be Used For 4K? If you want the highest resolution video, you will need HDMI 2.1, the newest version of the interface. HDMI 2.1 is capable of transferring 4K but also 5K, 8K, and even 10K, all up to 120Hz, making this standard the most powerful one. However, you can also watch 4K using HDMI 1.3 and 1.4 versions, but at a lower frequency, up to 30 Hz. HDMI 2.0 will allow you to enjoy 4K and 5K footage but only up to 60 Hz for 4K and 30 Hz for 5K video. HDMI 2.0 enables you to stream HDR video, but you won't be able to view 4K. As for the question if regular HDMI cables can handle 4K video - it depends. Some older cables are good enough and will transfer 60Hz 4K signal, but on shorter distances. If you need to do it on more than three meters, it is probably the best idea to use an "active" HDMI cable that will enhance the signal, making sure it doesn't weaken as it travels through the cable. Conclusion As you can see, there is a lot more to learn about HDMI than it first seemed. This unique standard is continually evolving and therefore withstanding the test of time successfully. Currently, it is the best solution we have for connecting multimedia devices, and considering how powerful HDMI 2.1 is, we think it will stay the #1 connection solution for years to come. If you ask us, it deserved its throne, as no other standard is coming close to the versatility HDMI has, and it seems like it will stay that for a long time.