HDMI 2.0 Explained

Why you shouldn't throw away your older HDMI cables!

The consumer electronics community is abuzz with HDMI Licensing’s announcement of the new HDMI 2.0 standard. Rest assured the HDMI cable itself will remain unaffected. Both the internal construction and connectors will be unchanged, but manufacturers will have the opportunity to include this new 2.0 standard on newer A/V equipment.

Here are the available features this new standard will offer manufacturers:

  • Up to 18Gbps bandwidth increase - This allows support for new features such as 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4x the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
  • 32 audio channels - For a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
  • 1536kHz audio sample frequency - To provide the highest audio fidelity
  • Simultaneous dual video streams - Streaming dual video to multiple users on the same screen
  • Multi-stream audio - For as many as 4 users at once
  • Support for 21:9 widescreen displays
  • Dynamic synchronization of video and audio stream
  • CEC extensions - Provides more expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point
Keep in mind that manufacturers can choose which of the listed features to implement and are not forced to use them all. In order to utilize one of these newer features, all connected devices will have to have the same feature installed. If you’re concerned you’ll have to replace all your HDMI cables, check out our learning article Why HDMI 1.4 cables don’t exist, which explains how HDMI cables are unaffected by HDMI port changes.

Like previous HDMI standard changes, older TVS and stereos will likely not be able to take advantage of these newer features. If a TV is built with a 1.4 connector, the manufacturer does not allow the end users to send their equipment in for an upgrade. As before, however, HDMI ports are backwards compatible so your older DVD players and equipment will still work when plugged into a newer HDMI 2.0 device.

Its likely consumers will not see newer 2.0 connectors on A/V equipment right away as testing wraps up. In the meantime, don’t trash your older HDMI cables as they will likely still work.