HDMI NEW June 2018 copy

HDMI Cable Versions

By ORION WP HT forum:

HDMI cables pass high speed serial data. VRR isn’t a feature of the cable, it is a feature of the hardware that the cable is attached to. 4K60Hz etc are again not features of the HDMI cable, they are features of the HDMI devices.

The relationship this has with the HDMI cable is simply to do with data transmission speed (data rate). This is why listing features like VRR, 4:4:4 etc are meaningless to the cable as the cable isn’t responsible for any of that directly, new cables do not unlock new features – though a long time ago with Ethernet & ARC being added in the 1.4 specification, Pin 14 on the HDMI connector was now used where previously it wasn’t used for anything. Since then, however, all 19 pins are given a job in subsequent specifications. If you see anything further being added in a specification, it exists on the same 19 pin connector as what you are using now. Aside from that, nothing new is being unlocked by the physical HDMI cable.

Part of the reason why HDMI LA announced they were removing version numbering was to avoid such confusion, same 19 pin HDMI cable, new HDMI specification features. That went a bit pear-shaped but it wasn’t because different HDMI cables unlocked different HDMI specification features – it was related to data transmission instead of features.

Aside from pin assignments, HDMI cables are a type of serial data cable and as such the other thing that is changing is the transmission speed of data. Though we are keeping the same 19 pin configuration, the construction of the cable is what may change in the form of twist rate of the TMDS pairs, better shielding, thicker copper conductor etc … but this is all in response to achieving successful signal transfer at higher transmission speeds (data rate). This isn’t about features.

The faster the transmission speed, the shorter the signal can propagate on a given HDMi cable, this is why thicker copper conductor is used in longer passive HDMI cables and better shielding, then they started using active equalization technologies using the 5V to power the HMDI display EEPROM to also power an IC in the HMDI display-end shell, then we see optic fibre construction in HDMI cables in the market place. This explains why fewer failures come from shorter HDMI cables, the shorter the passive copper HDMI cable is the higher the data rate you can transmit before the signal fails.

“High Speed” certification was originally given to cables that could pass an aggregated data rate of 10.2Gbps, the reality is that most of us just used Foxtel (2.225Gbps) a Bluray (up to 4.455Gbps) or perhaps as good as a Sony PS3 with deep colour support (6.68Gbps) but you get the picture … not 10.2Gbps. How did we know the cables we bought actually did get tested to pass data rates up to 10.2Gbps when we weren’t using devices that output data rates that high ? Well, we really didn’t have any way of knowing until years later.

Even the HDMI LA “High Speed” certification scheme failed us as due to a modelling issue, HDMI LA found that the High Speed certification program was allowing High Speed HDMI cables to pass that could not meet the demands for the new spec where we now send 18.2Gbps through the HDMI cable. The problem here is that a well made High Speed HDMI cable will pass but a less well made High Speed HDMI cable would fail. How poor an HDMI cable could be is where the issue with the High Speed certification modelling was.

Confusing ? yep.

To make matters worse, the labeling scheme was prone to counterfeit labeling and some companies simply just sell their HDMI cables with a self appraisal and/or independent testing. All of which could possibly meet the requirements but the problem was that there was no way to be confident this was the case.

So then a new certification program was made called Premium High Speed. This comes with unique labeling that is harder to counterfeit and a revised testing procedure. This was about assurance that the cable had been tested to pass 18.2Gbps … again other companies just sell their cables with self appraisal and use the terms like “premium or certified” in their product description but it is not related to the HDMI LA certification program. These cables potentially still meet the requirements but we don’t know without trial and error testing.

So getting an HDMI LA certified Premium High Speed HDMI cable means that it will work for all of your 4K needs right ? … well … sort of … no not really.

Both the High Speed and Premium High Speed certification programs test for data rates up to 18.2Gbps, there’s no promise they will pass even faster data rates than that but they could potentially. Even some 4K formats surpass that 18.2Gbps data rate. These can reach 20.05Gbps and 24.06Gbps … uh oh, good thing there’s a new certification program coming for HDMI cables.

So here we are, waiting for the new Ultra High Speed HDMI cables to hit the market, tested to pass data rates up to 48Gbps … and here we are again, with other companies offering their self assessed HDMI cables that could possibly meet the requirements of new specification but again we aren’t going to know until years later when we are all using consumer capable of data rates near 48Gbps.

Boy this situation sounds familiar!

Editor: As said there is no such thing as 2.0b cable etc, this is reserved for the devices and displays, reason many become confused when buying HDMI cables, current 4k version is “High Speed”. While EZYHD HDMI cables have been and have been compliant for many years and the past 3 includes world leader Ruipro HDMI Fibre Optic 4k cables in longer lengths to 100m and as of Nov. 2019 a 4k/8k version too 50m. Our HDMI Copper cables to 5m also comply with 4k specifications.


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