You will agree to the fact that HDMI cable serves as a vital accessory when it comes to connecting your TV to a home theater or similar devices. Whether you want to connect your PC or laptop to a monitor or gaming console to the TV, an HDMI cable is one of the practical choices.
To cater to different displays and requirements, the HDMI organization has come up with numerous cable types, and each has its own set of specifications. Some cables are capable of delivering 8K videos, while some are limited to 4K videos at a lower refresh rate. Due to the varied specifications of different cable types, it gets tricky for many users to understand which one to use.
Moreover, not everyone knows about each HDMI cable type available in the industry, so it becomes confusing. So in this article, ByteCable will talk about different HDMI cable types and help you find the right cable type.
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Different HDMI Cable Type
Like other cable types, HDMI cables also come with different types, and each has its own capabilities. There is no one HDMI cable for all HDMI connections, and you will have to understand the cable type along with its capabilities. Here are the HDMI cable types we are talking about;
Standard HDMI Cable
The standard HDMI cable is the most common HDMI cable choice in the market as it is widely used by users to connect older devices. It was a common choice for users to use this cable type to connect TVs or monitors to cable boxes, satellite, media streamers, projectors, or HDTV broadcasts.
This cable type has the capability to offer support for 720p and 1080i native resolution and cater to a maximum bandwidth of up to 5Gbps. However, it is only capable of offering a refresh rate of 30 Hz, which is sufficient for a resolution of 720p and 1080i.
It was designed to cater to HDMI versions 1.0 to 1.2, and it was this cable that made HDMI a mainstream choice for most display and streaming devices.
Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet
Standard HDMI cables with Ethernet are the same as the standard HDMI cable and offer the same baseline performance. The main difference it has with standard HDMI cable is that it comes with a dedicated data channel so that you can utilize it for connecting devices to the internet.
The additional data channel is known as HDMI Ethernet Channel or HEC, and it allows connected HDMI devices to use a single internet connection through broadband. However, this functionality is only available when the connected devices are HEC enabled.
Standard Automotive HDMI Cable
The standard automotive HDMI cable was designed to cater to HD infotainment systems for vehicles. Like standard HDMI cable, it also possesses the same specification, but it can only be used for connecting in-car DVD players or similar devices to in-car video displays.
Since automobiles come with numerous wiring, it comes with extra shielding to send higher signal strength and suppress any interference. In general, these cables get vibration and dust-resistant connectors with a locking tab.
High-Speed HDMI Cable
As the requirement for higher resolution output was increasing, so standard HDMI wasn’t able to cater to that requirement. That is why the HDMI forum came up with a High-Speed HDMI cable that can handle a high video resolution of 1080p and 4K.
However, the refresh rate is capped at 30Hz refresh rate. Another significant improvement this cable brought is the support of up to 10.2 Gbps bandwidth which ensures a seamless 4K display.
It is this HDMI cable type that brought support for 3D visuals and made 4K 3D a mainstream choice for many. Not only that, but it also introduced a Deep Color feature so that if your display supports this feature, you will be treated with jaw-dropping color output.
It is optimized for HDMI version 1.3 to 1.4a, so you can use it with any modern TV. Many Blu-Ray players and streaming devices still utilize this cable type to display 1080p or 4K visuals.
High-Speed HDMI Cable With Ethernet
To ensure connectivity of the internet through multiple modern HDMI-connected devices, a high-speed HDMI cable with ethernet was introduced. Like the high-speed HDMI cable, it carries the exact specification and technology but with added HDMI Ethernet channel
HEC-enabled devices are compatible with this cable, and they can use a single broadband ethernet channel.
It is mainly used with devices that support Ethernet streaming channels. The internet bandwidth of these cables also increased by a good margin from the previous generation, so many modern devices benefited a lot.
High-Speed Automotive HDMI Cable
The high-speed automotive HDMI cable was brought to the market to cater to the automotive environment that was coming with the modern infotainment system. It is the same as other high-speed HDMI cables, but it gets extra shielding so that it can send strong signals in the presence of other cables.
Not only do they come with specialized dust and vibration shielding on the connector, but they are designed in such a way that they can withstand high temperatures.
Many modern cars still use this high-speed automotive HDMI cable in their infotainment because it can support a high bandwidth of 10 Gbps and high resolution.
Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable
Premium high-speed HDMI cable was introduced in the market to support displays and devices that were manufactured with HDMI 2.0, 2.0a, and 2.0b. It is meant for most modern devices as it ensures reliable delivery of ultra HD 4K resolution, and that too at a 60Hz refresh rate.
This cable type comes equipped with a high bandwidth coverage of 18 Gbps which is more than sufficient to relay high-resolution videos for most modern displays from high-end devices. It also comes equipped with support for HDR and 4:4:4 Chroma Sampling and the vast color space of BT.2020; thus, it is suitable with most high-end displays and monitors.
Unlike other cables, it really has low electromagnetic interference, so you can send strong signals without getting interfered with. It is available for both HDMI Type A and Type D connectors, so it has broad range compatibility with different devices. Importantly, this cable type gets special certification so you can check the labels for verification.
Premium high-speed HDMI cable also gets a separate cable type having HDMI Ethernet Channel. Like other cables with ethernet, it also supports a high bandwidth of data connection, so a lot of HEC-supported devices can work seamlessly.
Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cable
Ultra high-speed HDMI cable is the latest HDMI cable type that is designed to support signals of uncompressed 8K at 60Hz and 4K at 120Hz. It has a massive transfer bandwidth support of 48 Gbps, and it makes sure the cable can relay resolutions up to 10K.
It was introduced to support all the features that HDMI 2.1a has on offer, and it included support for 240Hz refresh rate and advanced HDR specifications. It is utilized chiefly for connecting high-end modern displays, streaming devices, and gaming consoles that require a cable that can support all advanced video features.
What’s more? This new cable type has brought support for new features like variable refresh rate and eARC so that you can have the best experience. It carries all the features of other HDMI cable types available in the market along with backward compatibility with earlier standards.
It doesn’t get much affected by electromagnetic interference, especially those that are caused by wireless devices.
Like premium high-speed HDMI cable, it also gets a QR code and certification label so that you can identify it while buying it. This is a highly expensive cable type, and only a handful of reputed brands manufacture them as they are only limited to high-end displays.
Ultra high-speed HDMI cable also gets a cable type having a dedicated HDMI ethernet channel. The HEC in ultra high-speed HDMI cables allows you to connect multiple HEC-supported devices to one router or broadband-connected device.
However, the internet bandwidth of an ultra high-speed HDMI cable with ethernet is the same as a premium high-speed HDMI cable.
Different HDMI Cables Based On Distance
You will be surprised to know that HDMI cables are also differentiated by length. You will have to measure the distance between your display and source device and then choose the cable type. There are three cable types that cater to different HDMI lengths, and they are;
Passive HDMI Cable
This is the most standard type, as most HDMI cables you will find in the market are passive. A passive HDMI cable type can be used to relay a stable signal up to 15 ft distance between the source and display and not more than that.
These are bi-directional cables so that you can hook any end to the source or display. The passive HDMI cable works in a simple way where they transfer signal from the source to the display or home theater without needing amplification.
Active HDMI Cable
Active HDMI cable is a different kind of HDMI cable that comes with a longer length than 15ft. Unlike passive HDMI cables, this cable type gets amplification circuitry on one of the connector heads, which boosts the signal to cover a longer distance.
In general, a high-quality active HDMI cable won’t require any external power and you just have to use it to connect two devices.
But there are some cables that will require power externally, and it will get a small cable that you will have to connect to a power source. Unlike passive cables, these cables are monodirectional, and they come with labeling regarding where you have to plug the connector.
Fiber Optics HDMI Cable
Besides passive and active HDMI cables, there are optical HDMI cables that transfer video and audio signals through fiber optic cables. The fiber optics HDMI have similar connectors to other HDMI cables, and they are primarily utilized in business spaces or campgrounds.
Like active HDMI cable, this cable type is also monodirectional, where the connectors are marked regarding where you need to connect it. The length of the fiber optics HDMI cables varies according to the requirement.
These cables are capable of sending signals over an extended length without losing strength and requiring external power. Some brands even offer thin fiber optics HDMI cable, but they come at an expensive price tag.
While understanding different HDMI cable types, it is also vital that you should be aware of all the connector types that are used in these cables.
Different Connectors Found in HDMI Cables
Like there are different HDMI cable types, there are also many connector types you will come across. Knowing the connector type is also important because it will help you choose the suitable HDMI cable;
HDMI Type A
HDMI Type A or standard HDMI is the most common connector that is widely used in laptops, TVs, video projectors, gaming consoles, and many others. They come in an oversized shape as they hold 19 pins.
HDMI Type B
Also known Dual-Link HDMI connector, this connector was mostly meant for high-resolution display but with modern connectors, it wasn’t needed anymore. Dual-Link was mainly used for high bandwidth but with the advancement of the HDMI standard, single-link connectors outperformed it.
HDMI Type C
HDMI Type C is a mini HDMI connector that may look small but comes with the full specification of a standard HDMI connector. It gets a 19-pin configuration, but it is pretty compact and slimmer than HDMI Type A.
HDMI Type D
The Type D HDMI connector is the micro version of Type A, along with all its functionality. As the demand for HDMI connection was increasing in portable devices was increasing, so HDMI Forum came up with this micro version.
HDMI Type E
HDMI Type E is a specialized HDMI connector that is only used in automotive environments. This connector carries all the functionalities of a standard HDMI connector, along with a locking tab and low EMI.
Now it boils down to the question;
Which HDMI Cable Type Do You Need To Choose?
The simple answer is it entirely depends on your requirement. HDMI cables are handy for day-to-day usage for connecting two devices for video and audio signal delivery.
Although there are many cable types in the market, most of the types are capable of delivering high-quality audio and video. A standard HDMI may not be helpful in the modern generation, but from high-speed to ultra-high-speed cable types, they can quickly get the job done.
In general, most consumers using standard 4K displays, modern gaming consoles, streaming, or any source device will work flawlessly with high-speed HDMI cables.
We have properly described each of the cables, so you won’t have a problem understanding which cable you will need. You can choose any of the cables from any reputable, and they are readily available in the market at an affordable rate.