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.
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.