Writing in the September issue of Widescreen Review, video guru Joe Kane bemoans the “incrementalization” of the HDMI v2.0 spec in an article called Evolution in UHD. Since its intro last year, HDMI has added new features twice, resulting in last spring’s update to v2.0a and last summer’s evolution to v2.0b, the current standard. Any of you who adopted UHD 4K early will find your HDMI v2.0 spec is obsolete already. Features like Dolby Atmos, HDR, and Dolby Vision have pushed the spec to v2.0b now. Before you buy a 4K Blu-ray player or new 4K display, be sure to check the version of its HDMI connections.
I’ve been warning everybody for months about this, look before you leap. Read the Joe Kane article on the state of UHD and why its a good idea to postpone it for now if you want to avoid getting burned.
According to Joe, the manufacturers are still developing features for v2.0 that will continue to raise the spec, like a moving target. It will be several years before it reaches its full potential. Several new forms of HDR are already on the horizon.
From the HDMI.org website, all you need to know about the new features of v2.0b as of today:
HDMI 2.0b, which is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specification, is the most recent update of the HDMI specification. It also enables key enhancements to support market requirements for enhancing the consumer video and audio experience.
What are the key advanced features enabled by HDMI 2.0b?
- Enables transmission of High Dynamic Range (HDR) video
- Bandwidth up to 18Gbps
- 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
- Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
- Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
- Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
- Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (Up to 4)
- Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
- Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
- CEC extensions provide more expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point
HDMI 2.0b does not define new cables or new connectors. Current High Speed cables (Category 2 cables) are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth.