HDMI 2.0 becomes HDMI 2.1: Misleading information on PC monitors and smart TVs

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HDMI 2.1 is not just HDMI 2.1 – that much has been known since the specification was announced. In addition to the increased transfer rate from 18 to up to 48 Gbit / s, for example for Ultra HD resolutions at 144 Hertz, there are optional functions such as Variable Refresh Rates (HDMI VRR), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) for low input latencies when gaming and dynamic HDR formats.

So far, display manufacturers have used the HDMI 2.1 marking as long as at least one new function is included. One of Xiaomi in China vorgestellter Gaming-Monitor But now it goes one step further: The model has a pure HDMI 2.0 connection, which is advertised as HDMI 2.1. Only in the footnotes is it stated that it is actually HDMI 2.0.

TFT Central took the Xiaomi monitor as an occasionto consult the certification authority HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. about the situation. The answer:

  • HDMI 2.0 no longer exists – manufacturers have to specify their devices according to the latest version and should no longer refer to HDMI 2.0.
  • The capabilities of HDMI 2.0 are now a subset of HDMI 2.1. All capabilities and functions of the HDMI 2.1 specification are optional for labeling.
  • Manufacturers should at least indicate which HDMI 2.1 functions a device can handle.

In response to a request from heise online, industry contacts confirmed the statements made by the manufacturer. Simply specifying HDMI 2.1 is therefore no longer worth anything.

The situation is reminiscent of the chaos with current USB names since the 3.0 generation: USB 3.0 with a transmission speed of 5 Gbit / s was initially renamed USB 3.1 Gen 1 and later USB 3.2 Gen 1. USB 3.2 can therefore mean transfer rates of 5, 10 or 20 Gbit / s. You only know what you are getting if the manufacturer explicitly states the generation or transfer rate. Functions such as charging connected devices or outputting images are optional. USB 4 continues the confusion.

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The approach of the HDMI Forum can be misleading, especially with PC monitors that display around 3840 × 2160 pixels (Ultra HD) at 144 Hertz via DisplayPort 1.4, but only display 60 Hertz or a highly compressed image via HDMI 2.0. If a manufacturer advertises HDMI 2.1, one would rather expect that the monitor would also provide the full range of functions via HDMI. After all, companies don’t have to point out when functions are missing. The rude awakening comes when you connect a Playstation 5 or Xbox Series X that don’t have DisplayPorts.

In Germany, the practice of promoting HDMI 2.0 as HDMI 2.1 has not yet arrived. c’t and heise online have always stated in tests which HDMI 2.1 functions a monitor or television supports. We will pay more attention to the topic in news reports on new announcements.


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