HDMI has always been a popular connection choice for connecting monitors and TV to a visual source. Once HDMI 2.0 was a glorious choice for most gaming and entertainment enthusiasts as it brought forward the support for 4K 60fps resolution.
Many monitors and TV brands started utilizing the capability of HDMI 2.0 and made 4K HDMI 2.0 a mainstream choice. But with time, 4K was getting normal, and the brand was evaluating the capabilities of 8K resolution. Many USB cable manufacturers have also begun to launch various types of HDMI cables, you can click here to wholesale high-quality HDMI cables.
Thus, HDMI Forum introduced 8K HDMI 2.1 in the market, and with its arrival, HDMI made a giant leap. Not only it allowed brands to explore 4K 120fps in their devices, but it also introduced 8K 60fps capabilities.
Many modern consoles like PS5, TVs, and monitors started adopting HDMI 2.1 and made sure consumers could have the best visual experience. Even though 8K HDMI 2.1 has become the future, it still has a long way to go, as there are a handful of 8K contents and games are available.
So if you’re looking to get the best visual experience while watching or playing games but are confused with 4K HDMI 2.1 vs. 8K HDMI 2.1, then check out this article.
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Difference Between 4K HDMI 2.0 and 8K HDMI 2.1
8K HDMI 2.1 came out as a massive improvement from 4K HDMI 2.0 as it was able to improve the resolution support up and bandwidth by a large margin. Whether it is gaming or entertainment, it made sure gamers and display manufacturers were able to benefit the most.
Although 8K HDMI 2.1 serves as the future-proof standard, still 4K HDMI 2.0 serves as a convenient option for most as it is still used by mid-range displays and many mainstream devices. To help you choose, we will take a look at a 4K HDMI 2.0 vs. 8k HDMI 2.1 comparison, and it will help you understand which will be ideal for you;
Difference In Resolution and Bandwidth
Undoubtedly, 4K HDMI 2.0 made a common resolution at most displays and devices as it was able to deliver 4K resolution at 60fps.
Even though HDMI 2.0 came many years ago, it is still a relevant resolution choice for consumers, and many budget displays and devices still utilize them. Moreover, 4K 60fps contents are widely available, and it is still considered as one of the top resolutions for most displays and content.
However, if you are looking for a future-proof gaming or entertainment setup, 8K HDMI 2.1 comes as a relevant choice. Sooner or later, 8K resolution will become mainstream, and HDMI 2.1 will be ideal as it can deliver uncompressed 8K 60fps.
Not only that, you can enjoy 4K resolution at 120fps which is highly needed for modern games and movies. Specifically, top-end single-player games and multiplayer games need high fps support as they can offer a seamless gaming experience.
So you just need a supporting monitor or TV to enjoy 4K 120Hz or 8K 60fps gaming from your PS5, Xbox Series X, or gaming PC.
Another area where 8K HDMI 2.1 gets an edge over 4K HDMI 2.0 is the impressive bandwidth coverage. 4K HDMI 2.0 came up with 18 Gbps bandwidth coverage so that it can deliver uncompressed 4K signals at a decent refresh rate.
But 4K HDMI 2.0 came up with some limitations as it wasn’t able to achieve a high frame rate due to limited bandwidth. 8K HDMI 2.1 broke that boundary, and it almost tripled the bandwidth capacity up to 48 Gbps.
The increased bandwidth capacity not only allowed HDMI 2.1 to deliver uncompressed 8K signals but also accommodated up to 8 audio channels for better audio output. It can accommodate more traffic and allow you to experience visuals without any compression.
Difference In Refresh Rate
With resolution and bandwidth differences, there is a significant difference in refresh rate also. 4K HDMI 2.0 can only offer a maximum of 4K at 60Hz, but 8K HDMI 2.1 is able to support up to 120Hz with 4K resolution and 60Hz for 8K resolution.
The high refresh rate not only ensures a smooth video output but also lets you enjoy visuals at higher detailing and sharpness. With 4K HDMI 2.0, you can enjoy multiple players games and fast-action movie scenes at specific detailing, but you will also have to face motion blur.
However, 8K HDMI 2.1 negates this issue by offering a high refresh rate of up to 120Hz for 4K resolution and allowing movies to enjoy top-notch detailing. Moreover, you will be able to play multiplayer games with ease.
The addition of DSC 1.2 support for this new HDMI specification has made things much more beneficial. It allows HDMI 2.1 to handle 8K resolution at up to 120Hz refresh rate and also enables the display to produce 4K at up to 240Hz refresh rate.
Difference In HDR
Another aspect where 8K HDMI 2.1 differs from 4K HDMI 2.0 is the high dynamic range of both HDMI standards. Both HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.0 come with high dynamic range or HDR support, and they get all the vital features of HDR specification.
But 4K HDMI 2.0 can only offer static, whereas 8K HDMI 2.1 comes with supports dynamic HDR. The job of HDR is to enhance the light and colour output of the video so that you can get a better visual experience.
Static HDR in HDMI 2.0 gives you high detailing in highlights and shadows of the frame and allows you to enjoy a great view of 4K resolution. But the area where it lagged behind is that static light level it brings out, and it can only use one piece of information to define the light level of the entire frame.
Based on the highest light level of one frame in the video source, it will define the light level of the other frame accordingly. Even though it enhances the overall picture quality, the static light level throughout the video signal destroys the whole scene.
Dynamic HDR in HDMI 2.1 solves the issue of static light level and takes the visual quality to a whole new level. What dynamic HDR does is that it analyses the light level frame by frame and makes sure you get the ideal light condition to cater to 8K resolution.
Suppose one of the scenes is too dark; it will elevate the light level of only that scene and give you an immersive experience.
Dynamic HDR creates beautiful visual output and ensures you have the best visual experience while watching 4K or 8K content. However, besides having 8K HDMI 2.1, your monitor or TV must also support HDR 10+ or Dolby Vision to utilize dynamic HDR.
Difference In Audio
With 8K support at 60Hz, 8K HDMI 2.1 enables you to have an outstanding audio output that perfectly complements the 8K visuals. Although both 8K HDMI 2.1 and 4K HDMI 2.0 get an audio return channel feature or ARC, HDMI 2.1 comes with eARC or enhanced audio return channel.
The main task of ARC is to enable the HDMI cable to send and receive audio signals through a single cable. ARC allows the device to produce audio from multiple channels and gives you a surrounding sound output.
However, the main issue with ARC in 4K HDMI 2.0 is that you will get a compressed surround sound while playing your favorite game. With eARC in 8K HDMI 2.1, things change as it offers uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 surround audio to maximize your entertainment and gaming experience.
eARC has a higher channel capacity, and it can support up to 100 audio channels. The high-bandwidth capacity of 8K HDMI 2.1 also allows the standard to support top surround audio formats like Dolby TrueHD, DTS Master, Dolby Atmos 3D, and DTS: X.
A large number of channels unleashes a jaw-dropping audio quality and helps you hear sound from every corner, which is helpful for multiplayer games.
The difference in Availability of VRR And ALM
When you are going to get a PS5, Xbox Series X, or high-end gaming PC, you will obviously expect seamless and fluidic gameplay with zero stuttering and lag. 4K HDMI 2.0 helps you to achieve it, but up to a certain extent, as it has the bandwidth and feature limitations.
If you connect your PS5 or gaming PC to a gaming monitor or TV, you won’t get the immersive experience you expect, as HDMI 2.0 doesn’t support modern features.
On the other hand, 8K HDMI 2.1 can help you have the ultimate gaming experience as it comes with advanced features like VRR and ALLM. VRR, or variable refresh rate, is a modern display feature that comes inbuilt into HDMI 2.1, and it allows the monitor to match with the frame rate of your game.
Whether you are playing games at 8K 60fps or 4K 120fps, you won’t face any screen tearing or distracting effects. It is beneficial for multiplayer gamers because you will have to spot enemies at a distance and react in real time.
If your monitor has G-Sync or Free-Sync technology, you will be able to utilize VRR technology. Although you can utilize a 4K HDMI 2.0 cable to utilize the FreeSync technology of your display, for G-Sync, you will need a certified HDMI 2.1 cable.
ALLM is another advanced feature that is available in HDMI 2.1 that lets you play games at the highest resolution with minimal lag and high response time. ALLM, or auto low latency mode, reduces latency by activating the lowest latency specification of your display and reducing all kinds of lag.
It makes the games much more responsive and helps you enact faster in multiplayer. The high responsive time with high bandwidth coverage allows the display to render the image quality and give you an advantage over other players.
Difference In Application
Both 8K HDMI 2.1 and 4K HDMI 2.0 have similar applications in every segment, and it is just that HDMI 2.1 has better features and bandwidth than its predecessor. 4K HDMI 2.0 has been present in the market for a long time, and it is widely used by monitors and TVs.
Many gaming consoles like PS4 and Xbox 360, and entertainment sources like FireTV, DTH Box, Blu-Ray player, etc., utilized HDMI 2.0 ports. Even though HDMI 2.0 is old, it is still a relevant choice for showcasing movies through the projector, streaming videos through the Settop box, setting up multi-monitor office setup, etc.
A lot of gamers adopted HDMI 2.0 because it allowed them to play games at 4K resolution and also enjoy high refresh rate multiplayer games. However, 8K HDMI 2.1 expanded the application list, and most modern TVs and monitors utilize its capability of higher bandwidth and refresh rate.
Starting from AVR and high-end projectors to gaming monitors and premium TVs, 8K HDMI 2.1 has become a prominent addition in most of them due to its 8K 60Hz capability. 8K gaming is the future, and that is why gaming consoles Xbox Series X and PS5 utilize 8K HDMI 2.1 to offer the best gaming experience to all its users.
However, not much content is available in 8K, so HDMI 2.1 is yet to get popular as HDMI 2.0, which has a broader acceptance.
4K HDMI 2.0 vs. 8K HDMI 2.1: Which One Will Be Suitable?
If you are looking for the ultimate entertainment and gaming setup that is also future-proof, then there is no better option than 8K HDMI 2.1. It is totally worth it if you want to immerse yourself entirely in 8K games and movies.
However, 8K HDMI 2.1 is still yet to get mainstream as HDMI 2.0 as there are limited 8K contents and games in the market. For the current situation, 4K HDMI 2.0 is a good choice because it supports many displays and games.
Moreover, 4K contents and games are widely available, and HDMI 2.0-supported devices come with an affordable price tag. HDMI 2.0 cables are also cheaper, and you will get them from a lot of brands.
Although 4K HDMI 2.0 is quite popular, most modern soundbars, gaming monitors, and TVs don’t come with this native standard. So in comparison to 4K HDMI 2.0 vs. 8K HDMI 2.1, it entirely boils down to your requirement of which one you will choose. You will have to be diligent about choice as both of them have their pros and cons.