Do I Need HDMI 2.1 For 4K?(Explained)

Do I Need HDMI 2.1 For 4K?

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Do I Need HDMI 2.1 For 4K?

You only need HDMI 2.1 when you want to HDMI with 4K over 60Hz, a new feature introduced by the HDMI 2.1 standard. This means that you need to buy an HDMI 2.1 compatible device or TV to use this 4K feature, but you don’t need a 4K TV itself for this to work over 60Hz.

This applies to consoles such as the PS4, Xbox One, or home PCs using HDMI 2.1.

But, this does mean that you will have to have an HDMI 2.1 capable device or TV to use such a feature, as well as needing a 4K signal from your source device (PC/laptop/console).

The standard improves the current HDMI standard with higher resolutions, faster refresh rates, and 4K. High resolution means it will display more pixels (i.e., the picture will be sharper).

A faster refresh rate means the images will have more fluid motion, and the release of many screens now with this feature.

4K content is also getting released more frequently, and these consoles will take maximum advantage of this feature of the HDMI 2.1 standard.

Many still use the current HDMI standards, but new TVs and devices are now on sale to support the HDMI 2.1 standard.

The PS4 is one example of a device that can take advantage of this feature and even output 4K HDR10 and Dolby Vision formats so that game consoles can use as many features as possible from HDMI 2.1.

Does HDMI 1 Or 2 Make A Difference?

An HDMI is a type of cable that transmits a high-definition signal. It transmits video and audio with just one cable, which reduces clutter and makes it easier to set up.

An HDMI cable is the best way to use a device like an external hard drive with HDMI.

Yes! HDMI 2 is the standard for 4K gaming, offering higher speed signals than HDMI 1. It also supports HDCP 2.2, the most recent version of what you’ll probably be using for 4K HDR streaming or 4K Blu-ray movies.

You must update your TV or monitor to the latest firmware to support HDCP 2.2.

Do I Need HDMI 2.1 For 4K?

HDMI 2 is backward compatible with HDMI 1.3, and you will use HDMI 1.3 to support 4K Blu-ray movies or 4K HDR streaming.

That’s why the Audio Return Channel (ARC) is so crucial for performance, as it supports HDMI 1.3, and you will still use it for HDCP 2.2 on modern TVs and monitors that support it.

HDMI 2 is also backward compatible with HDMI 1.4, so you can use it for 4K 60Hz gaming on mid-range video cards.

HDMI 2 offers more bandwidth than the old 1.4 standard, which means better support for higher frame rates, including 120Hz and 144Hz in the latest standard.

In short: if you plan on using your HDMI port for 4K gaming, get yourself an HDMI 2 port on your GPUor display,

Or if you have a modern display that has both ports and you use them for DisplayPort 1.2, you might want to start thinking about upgrading to HDMI 2. You might see some benefits in HDR too.

Is There A Difference Between HDMI 1 And 2 Cables?

FactorHDMI 1HDMI 2
SpeedSlower, capable of up to 10.2 Gigabits per secondStandard is capable of higher speed with data rates up to 18 Gigabits per second
Backward compatibility (HDMI)Standard has backward compatibility with the previous versions of HDMI (1.0 and 1.1)Does not have backward compatibility with the previous versions of HDMI (1.0 and 1.1)
DistanceSupports displays that are up to 15m awayCables support displays that are up to 100m away
Connectors Limited to 480Mb/sEthernet cable supports up to 10 Gb/s.
SignalNot compatible with EARCSupports EARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel)
Video FormatsCables do not support all previous versions of HDMI but Are compatible with lower-resolution contentSupports all previous versions of HDMI and hence will be able to support a variety of video formats on any HDMI device
Audio FormatsSupports all audio formats up to 8 channel LPCM with sample rate up to 192/24Backward compatible but only supports audio up to 8 channels LPCM with a sample rate up to 96Khz/24bit.
Deep ColorSupports 8 bits per channel (24 bits per pixel) color depth and support for up to 36-bit deep color with the option of 120 Hz refresh rates.Supports 10 bits per channel color depth and 120hz refresh rates
1080p videoSupports 1080p video but only at a 30hz refresh rate.Supports 1080p video as well but can support 3D formats.

Differences Between Low and High-End HDMI Cables

FactorLow HDMI CablesHigh HDMI Cables
DurabilityNot able to withstand constant movement.

They are often more likely to break and start having many problems with the connection
Boast durable materials that can handle movement without breaking or causing signal loss
BandwidthNot able to provide the high enough bandwidth that is needed during any gaming.Provide users with a high bit rate, which is required for gaming and multiple audio/visual devices
MicrophonicsTend to pick up on sounds such as tapping your feet because their shielding is not very good.Boast better shielding that can reduce the microphonics effect.
Gold ConnectorsOnly have copper connectors and lack good-quality gold.Have gold plating on all their connectors to reduce corrosion and signal loss.
Look and FeelUsually made of cheap plastic and are very stiff, making them hard to work with.Made of better plastics, making them less stiff and easier to work with.
FlexibilityIncredibly stiff and do not bend well.Made of better plastics that allow them to bend and move more efficiently

Is HDMI 2.1 The Same as Ultra-High Speed?

No! HDMI 2.1 is not the same as Ultra-High-Speed HDMI. There are several reasons why But, even though they are not identical, they do have a lot of similarities.

The HDMI 2.1 specification is a set of amendments to the HDMI 2.0 standard to increase the speed of HDMI video and audio transmission and add new features such as virtual surround sound, 3D support, and high frame rate video (HFR).

The HDMI 2.1 standard supports 4K Ultra High Definition (UHD) television displays at up to 120 frames per second (fps) across multiple display devices over a single cable.

The requirements are defined to increase throughput while adopting existing HDCP specifications.

The specifications also define a new feature for HDMI 2.1 called “Dynamic HDR” that supports HDR10 and HLG content over HDMI.

Do I Need HDMI 2.1 For 4K?

The current HDMI 2.0 standard supports 8K video and limits to 30 Fps in UHD resolutions. The new standard will support higher frame rates and solutions, such as 4Kp120, 4Kp60, 5Kp60, and 8Kp60.

The new specification also supports up to 32 audio channels and immersive object-based audio, as well as support for the current compressed lossless formats Dolby Atmos and DTS: X.

The new spec will support Rec. 2020 color space, 16 times bigger than Rec. 709 used in most current UHDTVs, and requires HDMI cables to handle the bandwidth of 18Gbps.

It also supports a wide color gamut (WCG), which allows sources to display colors that haven’t appeared on TV screens.

The spec will also enable 10b/10b encoding, which improves compression and reduces latency.

Do I Need an HDMI 2.1 Cable For 4K 120Hz?

Yes! If you want to get the total 4K 120Hz experience without any compromises, you will need an HDMI 2.1 cable.

This is the only way to guarantee that your TV and gaming console communicate with each other as quickly and efficiently as possible, giving you the best video quality.

Additionally, HDMI 2.1 cables also support 4K80p, which is the upcoming standard for 4K resolution.

Because these two devices are becoming more and more common, it’s also essential to get a cable that supports HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.0a if you want to avoid any compatibility problems in the future.

HDMI 2.1 also supports ARC (Audio Return Channel), and it’s the only way to guarantee that your TV will send sound through your soundbar or other speakers.

This can be a big deal if you want to use a sound bar with a TV, but it’s good to know that you don’t have to settle for HDCP 2.2 compatibility for the sake of your TV audio system.

If you’re also running a 4K Blu-ray player, it’s important to note that this new cable standard is the only way to guarantee that they will output video at the highest possible quality.

What HDMI Cable Do PlayStation And Xbox Need?

Play StationCable
Premium HDMI cable60Hz with HDR
HDMI 2.060Hz with HDR
PS4/ Xbox One/ Xbox One S4K 30Hz
PS5/ Xbox Series X|SUltra-high-speed HDMI port
PS4 Pro/ Xbox One X4K 120Hz

PS4 HDMI Cable: Which Is the Best?

HDMI High Speed with EthernetTransmits high-definition video and audio signals at speeds up to 10.2 Gbps.

It also includes an Ethernet channel, which allows devices to share an Internet connection and communicate with each other without the need for a separate Ethernet cable.
HDMI Premium CertifiedCertified by the HDMI Licensing Administrator to meet the highest performance standards for HDMI cables.

It supports ultra-high definition (UHD) video and audio signals, including 4K resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) content.
HDMI Ultra High SpeedSupports the highest performance standards for HDMI, including 8K resolution and HDR content.

It can transmit video and audio signals at speeds up to 48 Gbps, making it suitable for the most demanding applications.
HDMI with Audio Return Channel (ARC)Includes an audio return channel that allows audio signals to be transmitted in both directions between devices.

This is useful for connecting a TV to a soundbar or other audio system, as it will enable the TV to send audio signals to the sound system and receive audio signals from it.
HDMI with CECIncludes a Consumer Electronics Control (CEC) feature, which allows devices to communicate and control each other’s functions.

For example, you can set a CEC-enabled TV and DVD player so that the TV automatically turns on when you turn the DVD player.

The TV’s volume gets automatically adjusted to the correct level.
HDMI with Ethernet and CECCombines the features of HDMI High Speed with Ethernet and HDMI with CEC cables, offering high-speed transmission of video and audio signals,

An Ethernet channel for device communication, and CEC support for device control.

Does HDMI 2.1 Do Anything for PS4?

Yes! The new HDMI 2.1 brings a new level of 4K, HDR, and gaming that might make the PS4 Pro and Xbox One X obsolete.

The latest HDMI 2.1 also brings 60fps 4K video and a new standard of HDR10+ that you can see on devices with support like the LG OLED TV.

Additionally, HDMI 2.1 is backward compatible with all previous versions of HDMI.

Meaning that all current PS4 Pro and Xbox One X owners can upgrade to a future system without buying a brand-new console or gaming accessory.

However, HDMI 2.1 brings something new: support for the latest form of 4:4:4 color space, 10-bit color (not 10b), and dynamic HDR.

The older HDMI 2.0 uses an 8-bit color space with a maximum of 65k colors. It also supports 10-bit color (10b) but only up to 32.768k colors.

The older HDMI 2.1 uses a new 10-bit color space which is still compatible with the previous 8-bit space and can pass back to an 8-bit space; however, it does support the more unique 10b color format not found in earlier HDMI versions.

The new 10b space, HDR systems, and 4K streams all use a new way to display colors called 4:4:4 color space.

This color space uses similar bits for each of the three primary colors in the RGB color spectrum. This results in increased detail in the picture and sharpness.

All HDMI 2.1 systems also support the 4:2:2 color space used on many current standard-definition and high-definition content.

This allows all HDMI 2.1 connections to be backward compatible with all previous HDMI versions regarding video quality.

Does HDMI 2.0 support 1440p at 120 Fps?

HDMI 2.0 only supports a maximum refresh rate of 120Hz at 1080p or 1440p resolution, so if you want a higher framerate like 240Hz or 480Hz.

You will need HDMI 2.1 and an HDMI 2.1 port on your TV or monitor instead of using an HDMI cable with the newer version connector (Type C) that HDMI 2.0 supports.

For 4K resolution at 60Hz, you can only use the HDMI 2.0 standard with a refresh rate of 30Hz if your TV or monitor has HDMI 2.0 ports (labeled as “3”, “4”, “5,” or “6”).

Do I Need HDMI 2.1 For 4K?

If you want to run a 120Hz refresh rate at 1440p resolution, you will need to buy a new TV with an HDMI 2.1 port and use an HDMI 2.1 cable or adapter (Type C) to connect it to the PC.

Some TVs that support HDMI 2.0 ports have the HDMI 2.1 port hidden inside along with other ports, but not all of them.

For example, a Vizio M-Series 2016 TV supports HDMI 2.0 and has the HDMI 2.1 port alongside the other ports on its back panel, while a 2013 LG OLED TV only supports HDMI 2.0 and doesn’t have an HDMI 2.1 port at all.


Generally, HDMI cables vary in almost every way. This article helps answer all your questions about which HDMI cable works best for gaming.


Hi! I' am Tyron. I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. After learning all the things about these products as a manager the hard way, I decided to start a blog and help other people.

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