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Developed by the HDMI Forum, HDMI 2.0 is one of the most popular HDMI standards in the industry because it allows users to play 4K resolution videos at 60Hz. It is due to the arrival of HDMI 2.0 that many manufacturers of TVs, monitors, and video source devices started adopting 4K resolution in their products. There are also many specifications of HDMI cables on the market.
Previously with HDMI 1.4, the TVs and monitors could only display up to 3820 X 2160 at 30fps or 4096 X 2160 at 24fps. But the introduction of HDMI 2.0 made the breakthrough by achieving 60 frames per second and also adopting many new advanced features like BT.2020 colorimetry with 10-bit color depth and Audio Return Channel.
Moreover, with 4:4:4 resolution and a 21:9 aspect ratio, it also makes sure you get a cinematic experience on your wide monitor or TV. It has allowed manufacturers to bring out realistic video output and intense contrast that weren’t possible with old ports.
However, the main feature that attracted everyone’s attention is the support for full resolution 4K 3D, it allowed users to have an immersive view.
HDMI 2.0 was introduced in the year 2013, and within a few months, it brought a revolution in the market. It helped in increasing the bandwidth up to 18 Gbps with the simultaneous movement of four audio signals and two video signals.
Most importantly, it is able to support audio channels up to 32, and it has allowed audio output to reach the next level.
The support of up to 1536 kHz audio sample also makes sure you can hear each and every detail of the sound and don’t miss out on anything. What’s more, HDMI 2.0 is fully compatible with previous HDMI connectors; thus, you won’t have any problem connecting an HDMI 2.0 cable to HDMI 1.4 connectors.
But you will be compromising on certain features and specifications that are not supported by HDMI 1.4. With this new HDMI standard, you can utilize a single point of control to control the connected appliance.
What New Features Will You Get In HDMI 2.0?
As we have already discussed, HDMI 2.0 has brought many new features that have made it a rage among manufacturers and users in the market. It was a major improvement from the previous standard, and it opened a whole new world of cinematic experience. Let’s check out all those new features;
#1 – 18 Gbps High Bandwidth
The HDMI 1.4 couldn’t provide a bandwidth of 10.2 Gbps which limited the frame rate of 4K resolution, audio sampling, and color depth. But with HDMI 2.0, the bandwidth increased to 18 Gbps, and it allowed manufacturers to produce 4K at 60fps.
Not only that, but the bandwidth also allowed the display to produce a higher refresh rate with better color output and more detailed than the previous HDMI 1.4. The high bandwidth of HDMI 2.0 also made sure the high-resolution video output is supported by the advanced audio output.
#2 – 4:4:4 Chroma Subsampling
The arrival of HDMI 2.0 brought up many revolutionary features, and one of them is 4:4:4 chroma subsampling. With these features, HDMI 2.0 specifications were able to display uncompressed color in full resolution.
The compatibility with 4:4:4 color subsampling allowed PCs and laptops to display color to their full potential.
It expands the wide color range option and allows the display to produce each and every subtle color on the screen. Previous HDMI specifications could only offer 4:2:2 or 4:2:0, and it limited the color details.
#3 – High Refresh Rate
Watching 4K videos at a 30Hz refresh rate is one thing, but experiencing in 60Hz high refresh rate is a whole different thing. HDMI 2.0 brought up a 60Hz refresh rate that enhanced the visual quality by reducing lag and motion blur.
The combination of high bandwidth and refresh rate allowed more detailing in the visual and made sure you see every bit, even in fast-paced scenes. With a 60Hz high refresh rate, you won’t get any jitter, and most of the frames will look buttery smooth in every situation.
#4 – The addition of High Dynamic Range
HDMI 2.0 was the first specification in the HDMI standard that brought up HDR or high dynamic range. The amalgamation of 4K and HDR enhances the video, brings out more details, and creates a crisp 4K output.
It helps you enjoy a high level of detailing in both dark and bright scenes. Many modern displays come with HDR support, and it is perfectly aligned with the requirement.
#5 – High Color Depth
The shift from the previous HDMI 1.4’s 8-bit color to HDMI 2.0’s 12-bit color depth is noticeable in every way. With the new specification, you get an unbelievable color output that mesmerizes the 4K output even more.
With 12-bit color depth, you also get 4096 shades per channel, so you can stay assured that you can view every color shade possible (depending upon the display you use). Due to high depth, the color gradient gets smoother, and it allows for better immersive visuals.
#6 – Cinematic Audio Experience
Not only HDMI 2.0 allows simultaneous transmission of four audio signals and support for 32 audio channels, but it also provides many advanced audio features. The notable audio features it gets are Dolby ATMOS and Dolby TrueHD, which are not only known for offering superior audio experience but also impressive clarity.
It also comes with DTS-HD, which is also known to enhance audio quality and create a crisp output. When you play a movie that supports the advanced audio feature, the audio output will completely immerse you in the visuals.
HDMI 2.0 Introducing 2.0a and 2.0b
HDMI 2.0 is a great HDMI specification, but it needed enhancement with dynamic ranges, and that is why the HDMI forum came up with 2.0a and 2.0b counterparts. Although HDMI 2.0 introduced HDR, modern visuals needed advanced HDR formats as the visual quality was much more realistic.
The HDMI forum came up with HDMI 2.0a that introduced HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR 10+, and these advanced technologies enhanced the detailing by a large margin. To extend the HDR support and cater to modern TVs and monitors for better detailing, the HDM forum came up with HDMI 2.0b.
It carries all the features of HDMI 2.0a and also comes with support for HLG or Hybrid Log-gamma. It made a significant improvement to HDMI 2.0 specification and allowed users to get the clearest detailing.
Moreover, it also allowed HDMI 2.0 to increase the refresh rate to 120Hz and 144Hz refresh but at a lower video resolution. In real-life tests, many users have said that it lacked smoothness at a high refresh rate and had stuttering issues.
HDMI 2.0 For Gaming
HDMI 2.0 opened the world for 4K gaming to most gaming enthusiasts as they are able to enjoy the game at high resolution. Although HDMI 2.0 didn’t benefit multiplier gamers much, it benefited single players gamers who wanted to play games at 4K 60fps.
It increased the bandwidth, so gamers were able to enjoy games at a high frame rate which resulted in a jaw-dropping gaming experience. It may not be able to tap into the craze of 8K resolution or VRR still it is able to make 4K gaming mainstream for most gamers.
With the added enhancement in the form of HDMI 2.0a and b, multiplayer games also benefited a lot because they can enjoy games at 120Hz or 144Hz high refresh rate.
Does HDMI 2.0 Provide Support for HDCP Content?
HDMI 2.0 was a significant improvement from the previous generation, and it added many key enhancements, which included support for HDCP content. With the previous HDMI standard, it wasn’t possible to play HDCP content, but HDMI 2.0 broke that barrier.
HDMI 2.0 included support for high bandwidth digital content protection, which is an encrypted protocol for video content. There are many video content sources that have HDCP content in their channel, and to play them on your display, you would need the support for HDMI 2.0 cable.
Do You Require New HDMI Cable To Utilize HDMI 2.0 Version?
It might seem you will need to upgrade to an expensive HDMI cable to utilize the HDMI 2.0 version, but in reality, you don’t. According to the HDMI governing body, you won’t need any new cable; you just need a high-speed category 2 HDMI cable to utilize the HDMI 2.0 specification.
HDMI 2.0 is entirely a hardware change, and as it is compatible with backward specifications, you can comfortably use the old high-speed HDMI cable. However, your HDMI cable won’t work if it isn’t a High-Speed spec compatible cable, then you might face sparkles or disruption in the connection.
HDMI 2.0 has made a significant breakthrough in the HDMI lineup as it allowed users to increase frame rate, get advanced audio support, high color depth, and 4K resolution. Most importantly, they don’t need to change their old high-speed HDMI cable to utilize the HDMI 2.0 specification.
It is this HDMI specification that helped 4K 60fps to become a mainstream choice option for most displays as people were getting acquainted with HDMI 2.0. Most importantly, it added many advanced features that were lacking in other HDMI specifications and allowed users to have an immersive 4K experience.