Virtually all audiovisual devices have an HDMI cable. It has become the standard form of connection for image and sound, both in players, televisions, consoles, computers, etc. Everyone has one at home because they need it because of their compatibilities. But you have to keep in mind that there are different types of HDMI itself.
That is why, when buying an HDMI you may have doubts about which option you should buy for each occasion. The HDMI cable stands out for the use of high definition digital video, as well as multichannel digital audio in a single cable since before, the audio was extracted by another source. We will delve into the different types of cable that exist and the functions offered by each and every one of them.
What is an HDMI cable?
The first thing to keep in mind is that the differences are not too significant for most uses. Although it has been adjusted over the years, the ideal is also that the length of the cable does not exceed two meters, since the longer the route, the better the image quality can be lost along the way. It can happen since it is digital data transmission. It is not usual, but it is unnecessary to acquire a long cable unless you have no other choice.
At this point, it is important to remember that it may be advisable to give preference to an HDMI cable with the gold connectors. This will ensure that, if the environment is humid, corrosion will not affect our accessory and the devices it is connected to. Of course, contrary to what many people believe, a cable dipped in gold does not improve the image quality.
The HDMI cable is designed to support high-definition video since it was conceived, allowing resolutions 480i, 480p, 576i, 576p, 720p, 1080i, 1080p, 1440p. And now it is also the means to achieve 4K and 8K resolutions.
How many types of HDMI cable are there?
The difference between HDMI cables (High Definition Multimedia Interface) is based on two aspects. We found three different types of connectors: standard, mini or micro. All of them have a male-male output (although they can be of different sizes of connectors) and the differences lie in the size of the mentioned inputs.
The standard connector, also known as type A, includes 19 pins and is the most commonly used, especially in TVs, game consoles or any other type of system. They usually, in fact, come included to facilitate the user’s life. The mini or C-type connector is designed to be used mainly in video cameras. As its name suggests, it is smaller. The micro or D type connector is the smallest and is also usually used in video or photo cameras. There is also an HDMI type E, although it is only designed for the automotive industry, which is created to avoid disconnections due to blows or vibrations inside the vehicle.
In the last months, a new type of HDMI cable has been defined, although for the moment its use has not been generalized. It is a connector called type B, which has 29 pins to carry an expanded video channel on high-quality screens, to be able to offer resolutions higher than 1080p. Probably, when the teles or consoles begin to arrive with 8K, during the next generation, this type of connectors will prevail.
Different versions of HDMI
Since 2002, when the first HDMI came on the market, which was basically joining DVI into a single audio connection, it began a legacy that has evolved over time. HDMI cables have had different versions with modifications to date. From the first, the HDMI 1.0, we have been going through several updates. We reviewed what each of them added.
- HDMI 1.0: With it came the HDMI, which stood out for combining audio/video formats in a single digital connection cable.
- HDMI 1.1: The only difference from version 1.0 is that it included support for DVD Audio.
- HDMI 1.2: The cable revision added support for One Bit Audio, used in Super Audio CD, with up to eight channels, allowing to select custom resolutions.
- HDMI 1.3: Bandwidth increased to 340 MHz. In addition, support was added for Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD, audio formats used in HD-DVD and Blu-ray Disc. Consoles such as PS3 were the first to benefit from this type of cables.
- HDMI 1.4: The resolution goes from FullHD to XHD allowing resolutions of 4096 × 2160 pixels (24 images per second) or 3840 × 2160 a (30 images per second). The update also offered improvements in the support of colors to give them a greater realism, as well as high definition video in a movement that allows maintaining the image quality. Another significant novelty is that it also allows sending and receiving data through an Ethernet connection incorporated in the cable itself, capable of speeds up to 100 Mb / s.
- HDMI 2.0: The new generation of HDMI cables offers an increase in bandwidth that reaches 18 Gbit / s. In addition, it includes 4K support, 21: 9 aspect ratio, 32 audio channels, simultaneous delivery of two streamings and CEC command extensions to control multiple devices from a single point.
- HDMI 2.1: The latest revision increases the bandwidth up to 48 GB / s and allows resolutions of up to 10K. In addition, dynamic HDR support is included at new rates of 60 Hz for 8K and 120 Hz for 4K.
HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1? What really do you need?
As you can see, there are different options on HDMI cables. Knowing what we are going to need is the key to knowing which one to buy. If we have a TV that does not reach resolutions in 4K or 8K, it would be absurd to buy the HDMI 2.1 model. It will work, yes. But we will make an unnecessary expense since they have a higher price due to the aforementioned functions related to the resolution, to which we are not going to take advantage. It can be acquired as a vision of the future, but with the rapidity that technology advances, we may never amortize it so much as to maintain it until acquiring a new TV.
If your teles, monitors, consoles or equipment are able to reach 4K with HDR, you should go direct to a cable 2.0 or 2.1, because without an HDMI cable of these characteristics, even if you have the best television in the world, you can not reach such resolutions or the other advantages offered, for example, cable 2.0 (aspect ratio 21: 9, 32 audio channels, simultaneous delivery of two streaming …).
The question between choosing between an HDMI 2.0 cable or a 2.1 is, at this moment, relatively simple. The 2.1 has support for dynamic HDR, adjusting the color and lighting frame by frame. It is capable of supporting resolutions of up to 10K, but for now, few televisions or equipment are capable of reaching such a figure.
The market trend is trying to capture that the 8K will be the standard resolution for the next few years. There are already televisions that offer this service, although their prices are somewhat prohibitive. Something that will be adjusted in the coming years, as soon as movies or videogames begin to be created in that resolution. For example, Sony has confirmed that its next PS5 will be able to reach 8K, although they do not specify whether natively or through a rescaling.
If you are one of the people who stick whims, maybe you want an HDMI 2.1 cable with a view to the devices of the future. Currently, there is not too much market for what it offers.