Networking & Cables

Beware the Latest HDMI Claims Surrounding Rev 2.1

Do all sheep lie? That is the question as integrators are once again installing lower quality 4K/60 products incapable of handling 18Gbps, after the announcement of HDMI 2.1.

Beware the Latest HDMI Claims Surrounding Rev 2.1
It’s imperative to ask the right questions when it comes to HDMI Rev 2.1. Don’t be shy, just ask. Not all sheep lie.

Jeff Boccaccio · April 25, 2017

Do all sheep lie? For those of you familiar with this phrase, kudos — this means you attended one of our presentations and remembered this funny comparison between what is real and what isn’t. So let’s discuss some additional examples of claims that enter into the “Sheep Lie” Hall of Fame. As we move deeper into 4K and 4K/60, plus HDMI expansion of Revision [email protected], the need to reliably carry high data rates through long transmission lines is bringing in new creative ideas.

One of the great things about free market competition is incentivizing designers to reach out to the edge and start creating products that can solve problems while at the same time do it for less money. But we need to be careful and scrutinize potentially dubious Hall of Fame claims from manufacturers.

Some of these fiber products are fantasitc and can go many meters in length — just be sure what you are installing. We are beginning to see 48Gbps transmission line products pop up in copper too.

Many unproven claims in our industry result from a lack of updated information and data. A perfect example happened with HDMI Rev 2.0.

This revision came out in September 2013, announcing 4K/60 with a bandwidth increase from 10.2Gbps to a whopping 18Gbps. Except not many recognized that its initial deployment was to start by eliminating other technological gains made years earlier; the color department in particular. Color sampling was reduced to 4:2:0 and color depth was limited to just 8 bits, a huge contrast from what was marketed so heavily in earlier revisions.

Any new announcement like this always brings on a feeding frenzy from the manufacturing community; in this case with a race to be first to market with 4K/60. But due to limited information on the subject, much of what was produced was not 4K/60 and was not the Deep Color to which we had grown accustomed.

It was also not 18Gbps. Most suppliers did not realize it until long after, when HDR (high dynamic range) was announced the following year. So integrators were selling to their end users a new 4K/60 product, not realizing that they were operating at legacy Rev1.4 levels. Just a little bit more knowledge and this could have been avoided.

Now, the phones are kicking up again because those integrators who did not fully understand ended up installing transmission lines incapable of handling the entire 18Gbps service envelope; they were not told they were selling and installing lower quality 4K/60 products.

Yes, sheep do lie and it is “baaaaaaaad” for you.

HDMI, Fiber and Copper Products

As an independent testing agency, we get to see all kinds of products that enter into our field, some really good and others that should be used as paper weights. And as you would guess, many products claimed they were transmitting 4K/60 but were really fiddling around 10.2Gbps and not 18Gbps. Others, however, were very successful when making that long reach out to 18Gbps.

Our friends in the active copper business continue to build for 18Gbps, and now there are some new players that again “claim” they can handle the entire bandwidth to support cable distances that are longer than what passive cables can achieve.

Some are doing a darn good job, while others can’t make it over the critical HDMI 5-volt power limit. This goes right into the Sheep Lie Hall of Fame. They send these products out knowing full well they breach the voltage limit.


DPL Labs: HDMI Rev 2.1 Has Phones Ringing Off the Hook


You also have the new fiber products entering the field. Some of these fiber products are fantastic and can go many meters in length — just be sure what you are installing.

Besides fiber, we are beginning to see 48Gbps transmission line products pop up in copper, too. That’s right, copper. We will be watching this very closely and will report in as we get more data, especially on sheep that are claiming to reach 48Gbps.  

We have shifted to some newer test equipment and software to analyze these high data rates better, and are finding that some of these products are looking very good under current test criteria. That isn’t to say they can’t be even better supporting higher data rates, because we are confident there will be even more corrective EQ implemented in sink (display) devices aiding 48Gbps products even more; only time will tell.

It’s imperative to ask the right questions when using these products. Don’t be shy, just ask. Not all sheep lie.



  About the Author

Jeff Boccaccio is president of DPL Labs. Jeff can be reached at [email protected] Have a suggestion or a topic you want to read more about? Email Jeff at [email protected]

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View Jeff Boccaccio's complete profile.



  Article Topics


Networking & Cables · HDMI · Networking · Structured Wiring · News · 4K · Fiber · All Topics
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Comments

Posted by NickJ on April 26, 2017

Jeff,

You do a great job of exposing details many people might otherwise miss.  Keep up the good work!

I realize you accept the standards and don’t usually criticize them but as we talk about “sheep” do you ever back up and consider the biggest lie of all?

We’ve allowed Intel and Microsoft (and a few other giants) to create “standards” that are absurd!

Our job as engineers (I’m a 70 year old engineer) is “supposed to be” making the best decisions for consumers of our products. In my opinion we are not supposed to just sit back and accept the marketing hype those GIANT sheep use to transform our industry into a carbon copy of the computer industry.

4K is a perfect example but 8K is totally absurd and taxing these products with 48 Gbs requirements benefits NO ONE. (Except the GIANT sheep - certainly not consumers.)

It’s easy to prove no human can detect a difference in 4K and 1080 at 8 feet on a 60” screen. (But of course it looks better at 2 feet and 8K will look even better at 2 feet.

When I did the calculation proving that two dots of 4K resolution fall in the same maximum resolution spot of our retinas as 1 dot of 1080 resolution at 8 feet on a 60” screen I wondered if I might be overlooking some phenomenon.  I bought a 4K TV and overlapped it with our 1080 and my wife and I watched and compared them until I confirmed no difference at a normal viewing distance of 8 feet.

But it can’t hurt anything by having too much resolution can it?  That’s what a non-engineer might think.

But as engineers we are “supposed to” make decisions to benefit our customers not “deprive” them.

And by accepting “standards” (like HDMI 2.0 and especially 2.1) that tax the technology for no consumer benefit we are doing exactly that.

Actually I shouldn’t say HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 but should say “4k and 8K resolution” since there are some other benefits to the evolved HDMI standard if it simply didn’t require the ridiculous resolutions and hence absurd data rates.

I’d like to see an article from an expert like you explaining how 4K (and 8K on the horizon) will benefit viewers. (VIEWERS - not companies selling TV’s)

If there is one viewer in a million who benefits from 4K - much less 8K - I’d like to understand how.

Above I said “deprive” viewers and I will give you a perfect example of how pushing resolution ( and required data rates which are driven by resolution) beyond any human’s ability to detect the difference can not only waste consumer’s money but can eliminate other products that could benefit consumers.

My company has been producing lip-sync correction products for consumers since 2004.  Our products give the user the ability to delay s/pdif audio (optical and coax digital) while watching and many still do this even though they use HDMI for video.  By 2014 we had developed an HDMI 1.4 version limited to 1080p but after manufacturing 300 we decided not to introduce a product consumers would feel already obsolete since HDMI 2.0 and 4K were already being hyped.

3 years later we are still waiting on the 4K HDMI 2.0 transceivers to make a new version possible and “hope” to see them by the end of the year.

In the interim we’ve seen more cases of audio being delayed which of course is the opposite of the usual lip-sync problem where these huge images are delayed allowing audio to arrive first.  Speaker systems like Devialet delay audio 150 ms and even Sonos can delay audio 30 ms or more.

To correct for delayed audio we need to delay video so we decided to incorporate a video delay into our new 4K HDMI 2.0 product.  After getting into the design we discovered the absurd [email protected] will require a 16 lane wide bus with each pin transferring 1200 Mbs of video data. Twelve hundred million bits per second!

FPGA’s to handle that data rate are over $100 and of course you know a $100 component will reflect to $300 to $500 in the retail product and that doesn’t count the 8 Gb memory we need for the video delay buffer.  We don’t believe there is a market at that increased cost so our 4K product will just delay audio which will handle over 90% of the cases we think but If 1080p were the expectation (again, all anyone can see at normal viewing distances) the data rate would fall to 300 Mbs and memory to 2 Gb and we could do this with a Spartan 6 in the $16 range and probably could have incorporated video delay into our standard product.

So, in conclusion these “absurd” standards to me are the bigger lie and vendors scrambling to produce products to meet them should instead unify and revolt against this nonsense instead of stretching the truth pretending they can meet them when the technology simply isn’t there yet.

My former company, CompuSystems, (not my current lip-sync correction company) is the CompuSystems listed in all the books about Microsoft as one of the first MSDos licensees and I see all the same things happening again in this industry now that it’s controlled by the same organizations.

Posted by jrainey411 on April 26, 2017

Jeff….really good stuff as usual. I think most of us (and certainly me) did not even know what questions to ask suppliers before going to one of your presentations. Thank you so much for all you do for our industry.

Posted by jhamill1 on April 25, 2017

And darn you, Jeff! Every time one of our reps has paid us a visit lately, I have to muffle my laughter because I keep hearing “Sheep lie” in my head!

Posted by jhamill1 on April 25, 2017

And darn you, Jeff! Every time one of our reps has paid us a visit lately, I have to muffle my laughter because I keep hearing “Sheep lie” in my head!

Posted by jrainey411 on April 26, 2017

Jeff….really good stuff as usual. I think most of us (and certainly me) did not even know what questions to ask suppliers before going to one of your presentations. Thank you so much for all you do for our industry.

Posted by NickJ on April 26, 2017

Jeff,

You do a great job of exposing details many people might otherwise miss.  Keep up the good work!

I realize you accept the standards and don’t usually criticize them but as we talk about “sheep” do you ever back up and consider the biggest lie of all?

We’ve allowed Intel and Microsoft (and a few other giants) to create “standards” that are absurd!

Our job as engineers (I’m a 70 year old engineer) is “supposed to be” making the best decisions for consumers of our products. In my opinion we are not supposed to just sit back and accept the marketing hype those GIANT sheep use to transform our industry into a carbon copy of the computer industry.

4K is a perfect example but 8K is totally absurd and taxing these products with 48 Gbs requirements benefits NO ONE. (Except the GIANT sheep - certainly not consumers.)

It’s easy to prove no human can detect a difference in 4K and 1080 at 8 feet on a 60” screen. (But of course it looks better at 2 feet and 8K will look even better at 2 feet.

When I did the calculation proving that two dots of 4K resolution fall in the same maximum resolution spot of our retinas as 1 dot of 1080 resolution at 8 feet on a 60” screen I wondered if I might be overlooking some phenomenon.  I bought a 4K TV and overlapped it with our 1080 and my wife and I watched and compared them until I confirmed no difference at a normal viewing distance of 8 feet.

But it can’t hurt anything by having too much resolution can it?  That’s what a non-engineer might think.

But as engineers we are “supposed to” make decisions to benefit our customers not “deprive” them.

And by accepting “standards” (like HDMI 2.0 and especially 2.1) that tax the technology for no consumer benefit we are doing exactly that.

Actually I shouldn’t say HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 but should say “4k and 8K resolution” since there are some other benefits to the evolved HDMI standard if it simply didn’t require the ridiculous resolutions and hence absurd data rates.

I’d like to see an article from an expert like you explaining how 4K (and 8K on the horizon) will benefit viewers. (VIEWERS - not companies selling TV’s)

If there is one viewer in a million who benefits from 4K - much less 8K - I’d like to understand how.

Above I said “deprive” viewers and I will give you a perfect example of how pushing resolution ( and required data rates which are driven by resolution) beyond any human’s ability to detect the difference can not only waste consumer’s money but can eliminate other products that could benefit consumers.

My company has been producing lip-sync correction products for consumers since 2004.  Our products give the user the ability to delay s/pdif audio (optical and coax digital) while watching and many still do this even though they use HDMI for video.  By 2014 we had developed an HDMI 1.4 version limited to 1080p but after manufacturing 300 we decided not to introduce a product consumers would feel already obsolete since HDMI 2.0 and 4K were already being hyped.

3 years later we are still waiting on the 4K HDMI 2.0 transceivers to make a new version possible and “hope” to see them by the end of the year.

In the interim we’ve seen more cases of audio being delayed which of course is the opposite of the usual lip-sync problem where these huge images are delayed allowing audio to arrive first.  Speaker systems like Devialet delay audio 150 ms and even Sonos can delay audio 30 ms or more.

To correct for delayed audio we need to delay video so we decided to incorporate a video delay into our new 4K HDMI 2.0 product.  After getting into the design we discovered the absurd [email protected] will require a 16 lane wide bus with each pin transferring 1200 Mbs of video data. Twelve hundred million bits per second!

FPGA’s to handle that data rate are over $100 and of course you know a $100 component will reflect to $300 to $500 in the retail product and that doesn’t count the 8 Gb memory we need for the video delay buffer.  We don’t believe there is a market at that increased cost so our 4K product will just delay audio which will handle over 90% of the cases we think but If 1080p were the expectation (again, all anyone can see at normal viewing distances) the data rate would fall to 300 Mbs and memory to 2 Gb and we could do this with a Spartan 6 in the $16 range and probably could have incorporated video delay into our standard product.

So, in conclusion these “absurd” standards to me are the bigger lie and vendors scrambling to produce products to meet them should instead unify and revolt against this nonsense instead of stretching the truth pretending they can meet them when the technology simply isn’t there yet.

My former company, CompuSystems, (not my current lip-sync correction company) is the CompuSystems listed in all the books about Microsoft as one of the first MSDos licensees and I see all the same things happening again in this industry now that it’s controlled by the same organizations.