New HDMI 2.1 features include 10K video, Game Mode VRR, and more

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The HDMI Forum has just outlined the major aspects of the upcoming HDMI Version 2.1 standard at CES 2017. By upgrading the video standard to 2.1, users expect HDMI to unlock the kind of throughput and features capable of delivering top-notch content with higher-resolution and faster-refresh screens for years to come.

The most attention-grabbing upgrades are:

  • A lot of extra pixels: HDMI version 2.1 compatible displays will be able to support a resolution as high as “10K”.
  • The introduction of a variable refresh rate titled “Game Mode VRR”. With this, gamers will go gaga as they can now toggle a “V-sync” mode in games, considered essential for stopping annoying screen-tearing artifacts.
  • Support for 8K (33 million) video with HDR at a 60Hz refresh rate.
  • Support for 4K (8.3 million pixels) video at a 120Hz refresh.
  • Support for BT2020 color spaces along with new features such as dynamic HDR.
  • eARC for audio device detection.
  • Object oriented audio (e.g. Dolby Atmos).

Even a quick look at this list can tell us that the specifications are created with the future in mind. Us tech lovers have just recently gotten used to 4K content and have a long way to go until 8k becomes the new standard. Excitingly, HDMI2.1 guarantees dynamic visual metadata for videos and will become a standard feature.

Moreover, HDMI 2.1 is still backward compatible with earlier specifications, cables, and devices built with the previous HDMI standards including Ethernet channel and inter-device communication. Despite that, existing devices will be able to use HDMI 2.1’s 48 Gbps cables but will not be forward compatible.

All this and more will be officially unveiled in early Q2 2017, followed by availability to all HDMI Adopters for testing.

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