Cables are boring, but if there's a cable that stands out from the crowd, it's HDMI. While many TV owners are simply familiar with the technology as the strange flat plug that makes the TV ready to plug in, HDMI is always on the move. The all-in-one digital connection has created a wealth of opportunities to make the hardware fit for the growing A / V world around us. This allows for innovations such as 4K Ultra HD and 8K resolution, with the latter being the next big thing in televisions, though for some time it will not be anything that resembles the norm. While HDMI is preparing for another leap for the time being, we are taking a half step forward with HDMI 2.0b.
The best news: As with previous jumps and unlike the upcoming HDMI 2.1
HDMI 2.0b builds on HDMI 2.0a, which incorporates some features of the previous HDMI 2.0, including a display technology called HDR. Designed to dramatically improve the contrast between light and dark images for a more realistic image, HDR has quickly become a must-have for a new TV commercial. In this article, we explain all the wonderful things you can do with your home theater thanks to HDMI 2.0, while at the same time taking advantage of HDMI 2.0b, which is very similar to HDMI 2.0a. In fact, the two are essentially identical except that HDMI 2.0b adds support for Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), a newer HDR technology for broadcast applications.
As previously mentioned The main reason for switching to HDMI 2.0 is that 4K Ultra HD televisions need much more bandwidth to reach their full potential. Because 4K Ultra HD has four times the resolution of 1080p, the former HD standard, higher throughput is required to handle additional data being transferred back and forth. Much more.
HDMI 1.4 supports 4K resolutions, but only at 24 or 30 frames per second (fps). This works well for movies, but is not useful for games and many TV programs that require 50 or 60 fps. In addition, HDMI 1.4 limited the 4K Ultra HD content to 8-bit colors, although 10 or 12-bit colors are possible. HDMI 2.0 fixes all this because it can handle up to 18 gigabits per second – enough to deliver 12-bit color and video at up to 60 frames per second.
Ultra HD was one thing, but the current TVs wanted to get started We think with even greater image realism by producing more intense white and black tones – it's like Tide for your TV, bringing everything alive to HDR. Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung and Vizio TVs all come with one or the other version of HDR technology. HDMI 2.0b extends the HDR menu by another variant: HLG, the preferred HDR version for live TV broadcasts.
Do not throw your HDMI cables away.
As mentioned above, HDMI 2.0b does not change the size, shape or cabling of HDMI cables. If you get devices that are HDMI 2.0a compliant, your existing cables will work properly. And because HDMI 2.0b is backwards compatible with older versions of HDMI, you can easily connect your old Blu-ray player and / or AV receiver to a brand new 4K Ultra HD TV with HDMI 2.0b features.
New features in HDMI 2.0b
Object-based surround sound
The update to HDMI 2.0 in 2013 enabled 32 channels of uncompressed audio. If that sounds like overkill, it could be for some. But do not say that to the surround sound gurus on Dolby or DTS. The latest Dolby Atmos surround format supports 64 surround channels in cinemas, which are broken down for your home theater to allow for 11.2-channel audio. It is referred to as object-based surround sound and allows individual objects to be mixed in such a way that they move autonomously across a hemispheric hemisphere with multiple speakers moving overhead or jumping from the ceiling to the floor for an epic explosion of immersive audio. There are several Marantz, Onkyo and Pioneer receivers that are compatible with Atmos, as well as specially designed Pioneer speakers and others that mount speakers over their cabinets to deliver sound from your ceiling. Wondering if your home theater supports Dolby Atmos? Read our full guide to great Dolby Atmos sound.
Not to be outdone, DTS also unveiled its own system for the future of object-based surround sound called DTS: X. The system is designed to work with many of the same components as Dolby Atmos, and currently offers a maximum of 11.2 channels. DTS: X, however, offers even more flexibility than Atmos, including the ability to use up to 32 different speaker configurations available. Is it a coincidence that the available speaker configurations for DTS: X are equal to the number of channels allowed under the current HDMI protocol? We do not think.
If you did not know that your remote control is magical.
Switching to HDMI 2.0 brought standards that required the inclusion of certain control functions for the standard language spoken by the devices, CEC (Consumer Electronics) control). That way, your remote control can probably control many other devices without having to read out an encyclopedia with four-digit remote control codes and enter a series of keyboard shortcuts. With CEC, connected devices can also send commands to your TV. For example, a connected Chromecast can tell your TV to turn on and switch to the right input by simply transferring content from your smartphone to the Chromecast without your remote control being required.
Another advancement in the protocol, the HDMI ARC connector greatly simplifies audio connections. In the past, if you wanted to send audio from your TV to your soundbar or A / V receiver, you needed an optical cable (in an ideal world) or at least a set of analog RCA cables. Through the HDMI ARC port of a TV, which is equipped with virtually all new TV sets, a single HDMI cable can receive audio and video from an external source and send audio back to this unit. That's why ARC stands for Audio Return Channel. This is especially useful if you have connected a streaming device to a secondary HDMI port or are using one of the built-in apps on your TV.
What else is there? It's important to know that the HDMI 2.0 update allowed simultaneous transmission of two video streams to multiple users on the same screen. Imagine what this could mean for video games. And although HDMI 2.0b is only a minor update, the update could feel much bigger due to the available image enhancements when HLG comes out in large quantities.
There you have it. We've been there for several years and HDMI is on the rise. The innovative design of the system will continue to allow us to rock with new technologies and the latest hardware while sticking to the old ones. HDMI 2.1 is just around the corner and will bring a whole host of new benefits, including 8K TV, but for now, HDMI 2.0b has everything to offer.