The phones and tablets are about to start falling from the sky like rain at the IFA trade show in Berlin, but before we get to the juicy mobile hardware let's talk about something really exciting: cables. It's finally time for HDMI to get a major revision after the 1.4 spec from 2009, and the 2.0 release of HDMI adds some necessary enhancements to its bullet list.

Most notable among the new additions is support for 4K or "UltraHD" at up to 60hz. The 1.4 spec supported 4K, but only up to 24hz, which is the standard for movies and television; 60hz should be much more comfy for extended game sessions. That's a lot of extra data zipping around behind your incredibly expensive television, so the bandwidth for the new standard has been bumped up to a massive 18 gigabits per second. Other goodies include delivery of dual video channels, quad-stream audio, 21:9 wide-angle support for some exotic TVs, and dynamic synchronization.

But the most appealing thing about the new spec is that you might not need to buy expensive new cables with your expensive new TV and/or computer. According to the press release, HDMI 2.0 ports will work just fine with current cables, so long as you paid a little extra for the speedier Category 2 versions. All these features are built on top of the current standard, and include everything from 1.4 and earlier. Of course, it's going to take months for HDMI 2.0 to make it into new televisions, and even longer to get into mobile devices and the separate MHL standard, which allows you to output HDMI through a USB port.

Source: HDMI.org

BERLIN, Germany - September 4, 2013 – IFA 2013 – HDMI Forum, Inc., a non-profit, mutual benefit corporation, today announced the release of Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification.  This latest HDMI Specification, the first to be developed by the HDMI Forum, offers a significant increase in bandwidth (up to 18Gbps) to support new features such as 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution; 32 audio channels; as well as dynamic auto lip-sync and extensions to CEC.  The complete Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification is available to Adopters on the HDMI Adopter Extranet.  HDMI Licensing, LLC will host a press conference to discuss the new features of the HDMI 2.0 Specification at IFA 2013 in Berlin on Friday, September 6 at 12:00pm in the TecWatch Forum area of Hall 11.1.

Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification, which is backward compatible with earlier versions of the Specification, was developed by the HDMI Forum’s Technical Working Group whose members represent some of the world’s leading manufacturers of consumer electronics, personal computers, mobile devices, cables and components.  The HDMI Forum currently has a membership of 88 companies.

“The introduction of the HDMI 2.0 Specification represents a major milestone for the HDMI Forum,” said Robert Blanchard of Sony Corporation, president of the HDMI Forum.  “Our members collaborated closely to take the highly successful HDMI Specification to the next level by expanding audio and video features for consumer electronics applications.”

The HDMI Forum has chosen HDMI Licensing, LLC to be the Agent to license Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification.  In this role, HDMI Licensing, LLC will provide marketing, promotional, licensing and administrative services, as well as education on the benefits of the HDMI Specification to adopters, retailers, and consumers.

“We are pleased to continue our work in supporting the HDMI Adopter base as well as the entire HDMI ecosystem,” said Steve Venuti, president of HDMI Licensing, LLC.  “Adopters can now continue to develop new product functionality over the HDMI interface as well as look to HDMI Licensing, LLC as their single contact for all their licensing and administrative needs.”

Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification does not define new cables or new connectors.  Current High Speed cables (category 2 cables) are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth.

The HDMI 2.0 Compliance Test Specification (CTS) is expected to be released before the end of 2013.

For more information about Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification please visit http://www.hdmi.org.

Jeremiah Rice
Jeremiah is a US-based blogger who bought a Nexus One the day it came out and never looked back. In his spare time he watches Star Trek, cooks eggs, and completely fails to write novels.
  • http://widescreen.org OAR_John

    Oooh, get ready for the $200 Monster HDMI 2.0 4K Ultra-speed 3D-enhanced cables, coming soon to Best Buy!

    • VoiceofSky

      So cheap

      • Josh Legoza

        Its a steal really. You're losing money by not paying Best Buy right now!

  • obarthelemy

    Doesn't HDMI also support USB and Ethernet ? That would make for a handy docking solution.

  • Kree Terry

    did anyone expect anything less?

  • Arve Svendsen

    How about power? Will it provide power, like usb? I don't compare the two, but it would be mega awesome if we could connect android sticks without the need of external power

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson


  • brainimpact

    4k resolution pointless for Standard TV sizes majority have in the average household

    • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

      How is it pointless? If you stand a foot away you can clearly see pixels especially on text with a 1080p TV. Hell, on a 5" phone you can see pixels at 720p which has a much higher pixel density.

      • Jose Torres

        There are those who can notice and appreciate every detail on the screen, then there are those who can't tell between 4K and CRT.

      • akellar

        Why are you watching your TV from a foot away?

        • http://twitter.com/geoff5093 Geoff Johnson

          Point being it can be made better. Even at 4' away I can see pixels.

      • http://www.youtube.com/crisr82 Kristian Ivanov

        You know, with 90% of the world TV channels being 720p or lower, console games running (currently) in less than 720p and Blu-Ray movies being 1080p, yeah, 4k is kind'a useless for now, there's nothing to use it with...I believe that's what he meant.

        No matter what cable or screen you have, if what you're seeing is lower resolution, it'll be upscaled...which is not really a definition of better quality (try component video cables on a PS2, on a 1080p TV, you'll see what I mean).

    • Scott

      You can keep your good enough 720p and I'll have my 4k movies.

  • Mike Harris

    It's probably a good idea to point out that just because the specs have been released for a new standard, that doesn't mean there's necessarily anything out there yet capable of achieving it. These specs are often made public long before anything using them ever comes to market. The Secure Digital extended Capacity (SDXC) format supports cards up to 2TB, but I'm still waiting for someone to produce a 128GB version.

  • Jose Torres

    "Other goodies include delivery of dual video channels"


    • Chris

      3D Sucks

  • Colin Kealty

    I wonder if it'll be able to do 1080p at 120hz

    • EmeraldFLame

      In theory it should have enough bandwidth to do 1080p at 240hz

      Very seriously the 4k resolution is simply like having 4 1080p panels, the total resolution comes out to 3840x2160. If you can do 4k at 60hz, you would only need half that bandwidth to run 1080p at 120hz.

      So theoretically the bandwidth is there. I still just stick to displayport myself.

  • Patrick Bateman

    1440p @ 144hz would be my sweet spot!!!

  • John

    For everyone saying 4K is pointless. PC gaming runs looks better than anything you've ever seen on a 4K display. Other native content will eventually come out as well. Stop hating on advances in technology. You might as well be the people who argued HD TVs were pointless.