The end of the messy cable paths for home cinema fans may be on the horizon, after the modification of the new HDMI 2.1a standard that allows for a new way of sending power through lead.
So far, those running passive cables from their TVs or receivers over 3m/10ft often experience signal degradation or stability issues when viewing high-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 content.
The only options for those looking to watch content that needed the full 48Gbps of a high-speed cable — think movies showing Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in TrueHD or 8K content — were to supply an active HDMI 2.1 cable with power independent of the other connected cable.
That all changes with the new HDMI 2.1a Amendment 1 specification released yesterday by the HDMI Licensing certification body.
The review includes a feature called “Cable Power,” which will enable source devices such as game consoles and streaming boxes to provide additional power that allows longer HDMI cables to maintain a strong signal.
Both the source and cable devices will need Cable Power support to work, and you’ll also need to make sure the cable is connected the right way, as the feature works in only one direction.
For those concerned that their current devices won’t be able to take advantage of the feature, the good news is that Cable Power compatible cables are set up to offer optional USB Micro-B or Type-C connectors for source devices, allowing them to take advantage of the extra power that will be provided .
The bad news is that the feature appears to require special chipsets on the source hardware in order to work, which means your current hardware is unlikely to be compatible with a firmware update.
Analysis: Another big barrier dropped for 8K and 120Hz
From richer, uncompressed 4K Blu-Ray movies to faster picture frames and the sonic grandeur of Dolby Atmos in TrueHD, we’ve been highlighting The benefits of HDMI 2.1 are a game changer For a while on TechRadar.
Taking advantage of all this goodness was easy enough if you had a live TV or PC, but if your devices need to be placed far away from your screen—particularly for those using projectors—you’re unlikely to be able to fully immerse yourself in Yourself in the world where cables unlocked at 48 Gbps.
With 8K video and 4K 120Hz gaming now poised to enter the mainstream and more demands being placed on bandwidth, the new Power Cable is just right.
The only real downside to the news is the potential need for new hardware to reap the benefits that HDMI 2.1a and Cable Power bring, with the news likely to rave about next-gen console owners looking to experience higher frame rate gaming over the long-run of cable devices. But it may have been rumored for a long time PS5 Pro This feature will be included as standard.
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