HDMI 2.0 – what’s it all about?

HDMI 2.0 – what’s it all about?

News of HDMI 2.0 recently hit the industry – but what impact will this have on current and legacy products?

praxinoscope-002Screen manufacturers –  lead predominantly by Sony, Panasonic and Samsung, are announcing 4K compatible screens.  What’s 4k?  Well, the current resolution of an HD screen is 1920 x 1080 pixels and the new 4k screens have 4096 x 2160 pixels, which is four times the resolution of standard HD.

So where does that leave our HDMI cables?   A 4K video signal is considerably larger and harder to process, requiring a higher speed and more bandwidth to transfer the image from the source to screen via a cable.  Only sources and screens/projectors that are 4K compatible will be able to support this higher level of resolution.  The basic HDMI cable and connector have not been changed and any HDMI cable certified as high speed will be able to support the required speed to display a 4K signal.   Our latest HDMI Advance and HDMI Active Resolution cables already support the speed required for 4K video, so from our point of view, very little will change.

We have not tested our older HDMI cables such as SilverPlus, SuperShield and Lo-Pro,  but the Chord Active HDMI qualified as a high speed cable, so in theory should be fine.  As for the older HDMI cables, in the pursuit of performance they were to some extent over-specified and we know of customers who are using these to carry 3D signals.  We certainly couldn’t guarantee the performance of our early HDMI cables but it is probably worth trying them.

If you have recently purchased a new 4K compatible screen without an HDMI 2.0 connection, do not worry.  Most of the press are suggesting that “early adopters” of this technology will not miss out now that HDMI 2.0 is becoming standard on new sets.  Software and on a few products, hardware upgrades may be possible to make them compatible with HDMI 2.0.


Mutoscope-001The main questions that we are expecting to hear regarding HDMI 2.0 are:

What is HDMI 2.0?  HDMI 2.0 significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds key enhancements to support market requirements for enhancing the consumer video and audio experience. It is backwards compatible with all earlier HDMI spec’.

Is HDMI 2.0 backwards compatible with older HDMI versions?  Yes, all HDMI versions are fully backward compatible with previous versions.

Does HDMI 2.0 require new connectors?  No, HDMI 2.0 uses the existing connectors.

Does HDMI 2.0 require new cables?  No, HDMI 2.0 features will work with existing HDMI cables providing they are certified as high-speed cables.

 What other opportunities could HDMI 2.0 open?  Early reports suggest that the bandwidth required for HDMI 2.0 could offer 32 audio channels for movies which will totally eclipse conventional 5.1 or 7.1 systems.

What else can we expect?  There are suggestions that we could also see a new type of screen being developed which will offer the capability of delivering two video streams to the same screen or even one split view stream to multiple screens.

One example of where this could be useful is in the gaming world where players would be immersed in the scenario they are playing in with an ‘ambient’ display that will be an extension of your screen.   Imagine this in your living room (courtesy of Microsoft IllumiRoom)

The advance with 4k and HDMI 2.0 is certainly very exciting and obviously generates more interest within the audio visual industry.  We hope that this progression in technology is supported by content – be it movie, documentary or gaming.




Technical Advice and general hi-fi tips


4k active resolution advance Chord Company hdmi 2.0


4 comments on this post

  1. Is the Chord HDMI Advance HDMI 2.0 compatible? Can I use mine for 4K/10-bit color @ 60FPS?

    Reply to Mike
    • Hello Mike

      Our HDMI cables (Advance & Active Resolution) are both hi-speed and therefore should be able to connect HDMI 2.0 equipment and process the 4K signal. However, its always good to check that the various bits of kit will talk to each other before installing an HDMI cable in a wall etc. If you need more in-depth tech advice – or recommendations for a specific system, please contact The Cable Doctor

      Best regards


      Reply to Paul
      • I know they can both transfer 4K content, but also at 60FPS?

        I have a gaming PC capable of displaying a resolution of 4K, at 60FPS with a 4:4:4 chroma sampling. Will the Advance do this? Or is it just 4K, witha bottleneck of 30 frame per second (aka a low frame rate)?

        I may as well use a Displayport cable from Apple if your cable cannot achieve such bandwidth.

      • Hello Mike

        This sounds like a job for our technical dept. I will pass this question on and let them get back to you.

        If you need an answer urgently, please call us on +44 (0)1980 625700 or email cabledoctor@chord.co.uk

        Best regards


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