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HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1

hdmi 2 0 vs hdmi 2 1

For more than a decade, the basic HDMI cable has been one of the most common solutions for connecting various devices. However, it hasn’t witnessed tremendous jumps in performance in that period, at least not in a single generation.

This was changed with the introduction of HDMI 2.1, which saw HDMI technology undergo its most dramatic advancement to date, nearly doubling bandwidth and significantly broadening support for all types of visual devices.

That doesn’t imply your present HDMI connections, which are essentially obsolete, so you should update to HDMI 2.0 or 2.1. However, in a duel of HDMI 2.1 vs. 2.0, it’s not much of a match.

Let us begin this post by defining the terms HDMI, HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1. Then, we will compare HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 with the help of different features like bandwidth, video resolution, audio, refresh rate and gaming. Read on to find out!

What is HDMI?

HDMI is an abbreviation for High-Definition Multimedia Interface. It is a multimedia connectivity standard used to transport media from a source (such as a DVD player) to a screen. Since it can carry high video and audio via cable, the innovation outperforms prior standards.

HDMI was initially launched in 2002, and the most recent HDMI specification, HDMI 2.1, was issued in 2017. Nevertheless, the most prevalent specification is HDMI 2.0, which was launched in 2013.

As reported by the HDMI Forum, the technology is now used by over 8 billion gadgets. This is the body in charge of establishing new HDMI specifications and enhancing HDMI technology.

What is HDMI 2.0?

In multimedia applications, the capacity to transfer data faster from one system to the next is crucial. The connectivity between a gaming service and the screen has a significant impact on picture quality and lag times.

HDMI 2.0 cables were introduced in 2013 to accommodate new technologies. Greater television displays having HD capabilities were desired by consumers. Gaming platform advancements have also raised the demand for speedier data transport. The possible bandwidth throughput of the new HDMI technology has been boosted to 18Gbps.

What is HDMI 2.1?

HDMI 2.1 is the latest edition of the HDMI standard, and it applies to both HDMI ports and HDMI cables.

Some televisions, for example, are beginning to include HDMI 2.1-compliant connectors and ultra-high speed. The Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 also include HDMI 2.1.

The new HDMI interface will enable greater efficiency aims than the existing HDMI 2.0 interface (or 2.0b, to be more specific). In other terms, the interesting features of tomorrow, such as 120fps at 4K resolution, will depend on HDMI 2.1.

HDMI 2.0 vs HDMI 2.1

Although there may not appear to be much of a difference between HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1, this new technology introduces several important modifications to the audio/video interface. We’ve described both to help you determine whether changing your HDMI cables to the latest standard is worthwhile.


HDMI 2.0 improved color spectrum support, increased transmission and transfer speeds by more than 50% and doubled audio channel support. However, HDMI 2.1 flipped the protocol on its head.

HDMI 2.1 has the highest transmission data speed of 48 Gbps, as opposed to HDMI 2.0’s 18 Gbps. On peak effective data rate, HDMI 2.1 cables outperform HDMI 2.0 cables by up to 42.6 Gbps, whereas HDMI 2.0 only accomplishes 14.4 Gbps.

With all of that extra bandwidth, the HDMI standard can now support greater graphics and refresh rates compared to ever before, enabling it to be a legitimate rival to the high-end DisplayPort format.

Video Resolution

HDMI 2.1 can offer video resolutions of up to 10K or 8K uncompressed, but HDMI 2.0 can only enable 4K.

When you use an HDMI 2.1 connection, you will be capable of seeing even more detail, and pictures will be clearer, but only when the TV, audio, and video player are all suitable with greater resolution.

However, an HDMI 2.0 connection can only display 4K material at 60 frames per second, which is insufficient for some programs. If you have a 4K TV, you may still prefer to use an HDMI 2.1 cable.


Both HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.0 have an audio return channel (ARC) capability, which allows a single connection to transmit and receive audio data from the TV to a speaker or AV receiver.

HDMI 2.1, on the other hand, enables an enhanced audio return channel (eARC).

You can hear surround quality audio with ARC. However, it will be compressed. eARC, in contrast, side, has a larger bandwidth capacity and so enables uncompressed surround sound, such as DTS Master, Dolby TrueHD, DTS:X, and Dolby Atmos 3D sound system.

Refresh Rate

HDMI 2.1 can offer frame rates of up to 8K at 60 Hz or 4K at 120 Hz, but HDMI 2.0 can only support 4K at 60 Hz. The refresh rate of a display is the number of times the image is refreshed each second. A faster refresh rate contributes to smoother movements overall, particularly during gaming.

Your refresh rate should ideally be the same or greater than the frame rate of your video. Otherwise, you may notice image distortion and blurriness. HDMI 2.0 enables 1080p at 240 Hz and 1440p at 144 Hz, making it suitable for movies and gaming.

If you are using an 8K or 4K monitor or want the most performance from your gaming machine, you should invest in an HDMI 2.1 cable.


Gaming experience shows one of the most prominent differences between HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1.

Only HDMI 2.1 supports advanced capabilities such as variable refresh rate (VRR) to eliminate screen tearing and auto low latency mode (ALLM) to reduce lag.

VRR is incorporated into HDMI 2.1, allowing the refresh rate of the screen to match the refresh rate of your gameplay in true. Without such functionality, your display will occasionally attempt to present information from two frames at the same time. This results in screen tearing.


Unless you have a TV with HDMI 2.1-compliant ports, you generally don’t need to purchase new cables because your TV lacks the inputs needed to use those HDMI connections in the first place.

HDMI 2.1 is intended to change the way we view and consume content, whether it’s games, movies, or TV shows. Considering this, most tech users do not need to be concerned about HDMI 2.1 just yet.

All HDMI cables appear to be the same. So, if you’d like to get an HDMI 2.1 cable, search for the designation “Ultra-High-Speed HDMI.” An HDMI 2.0 cable on the contrast side will be designated as “Premium High Speed.”

About author

A finance major with a passion for all things tech, Uneeb loves to write about everything from hardware to games (his favorite genre being FPS). When not writing, he can be seen in his natural habitat reading, studying investments, or watching Formula 1.

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