The HDMI forum, the organization that standardizes HDMI cables, has officially revealed the next version of the popular video format: HDMI 2.1.
The standard was first announced at CES 2017, but the technology has now been finalized and manufacturers are beginning to integrate it into their devices, according to the HDMI Forum.
This new standard supports video output up to 10K resolution, which essentially doesn’t exist right now, along with 4K video at 120Hz (which is becoming increasingly common) and 8K video at 60Hz. In total, the cable supports data transfer of 48GB/s.
Other upgrades include an enhanced refresh rate called Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), which reduces and eliminates lag for smoother gameplay, while Quick Frame Transport (QFT) reduces latency. Another new feature called Quick Media Switching (QMS) reduces the amount of black-screen wait time while switching media. The final new feature is Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), which automatically sets the optimal latency.
This technology update embodies the definition of future-facing and likely won’t affect many current devices, especially considering 4K still isn’t even a common video resolution yet.
It’s worth pointing out that the new standard is backwards compatible with current HDMI devices, too. It will also likely be many years until we even begin to see the first devices that support 10K resolution content.
The HDMI Forum’s two most recent updates to the port format include HDMI 2.0a and HDMI 2.0b, specifications that enable the transmission of high dynamic range (HDR) content that utilizes HDR10 and Dolby Vision.
As a side note, I ran into HDMIa related issues when trying to get the 4K compatible Xbox One X to run through my relatively recent surround sound receiver.
Source: HDMI Forum