Networking & Cables

New HDMI 2.1 Specification Transmits 48Gbps to Handle 8K60Hz with HDR, 4K120Hz

HDMI Forum has unveiled the new backwards-compatible HDMI 2.1 specification that will transmit up to 48Gbps bandwidth to support not only 4K @ 60Hz with HDR, plus 8K @60Hz and 4K @ 120Hz.

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12 Comments
Posted by John Nemesh on January 4, 2017

Fun!  We are struggling to find cables that handle “only” 18Gbps right now in lengths over 20 ft…now they want us to use cables that handle 48!  I am guessing that all HDMI cables will have to abandon copper completely at some point and go pure fiber to handle that kind of bandwidth. Either that or be limited to 6 ft cables…

Posted by qubit88 on January 4, 2017

I’d like to see this cable, I wonder how thick it will be if copper is to be used. If so, then I would reckon that the length is limited to under 2-3 meters at best. Longer lengths will definitely be fiber because at 48gbps fiber is the smart choice anyways.

Posted by kipoca on January 4, 2017

Shielded cables up to 4 meters, fiber above.

Posted by Eyal Kattan on January 4, 2017

Just wondering when this industry will catch up with fiber.  It’s 1/5 of the thickness,  can transfer 100 times more data,  to much longer distances -  which means it can support even 50k when it becomes available…. And The specs and wires don’t have to be changed that often.

Posted by kipoca on January 4, 2017

Eyal, the problem is not the cable (though there is a problem there), the problem is the electronics required to transmit and receive. The Aurora cables from Tributaries are fiber, but the connections are much larger than normal, and requires 5V power at both ends. Pre-terminated cables are also tough to use in structured wiring situations, which means terminating fiber (expensive install kits) and using fiber transmission kits, which is also expensive.

The cable part of it is bend radius. Can’t just hire some guy to pull wires through a house, they have to know the tolerances of fiber.

Posted by Eyal Kattan on January 4, 2017

Kipoca,  we’ve been using fiber in networking for many years.  The equipment is not expensive at all.

HDBaseT is already running on CAT6 and Fiber is used to connect 2 or more switches.  We only use Hdmi in the last 3 ft but we shouldn’t really, if the manufacturers will start implementing different interface,  I. e RJ45 or Fiber

Posted by kipoca on January 5, 2017

Fiber for networking is cheap, fiber hdbaset is not.

Posted by jbrown on January 7, 2017

At what point do we as an industry file a class action lawsuit against the MPAA, the HDMI consortium and TV manufacturers?

The compressed data stored on a UHD 4K Blu-ray disc with HDR has a maximum spec of 128Mbps. Theorectically, when uncompressed, the data on that Blu-ray disc could max out an 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 connection (That’s over 18,000Mbps for the mathematically challenged). That is a factor of 140x.

If Hollywood would allow us to transmit the original compressed data around our houses, plain old unshielded 20-year-old Cat-5 would have enough bandwidth for one stream easily. Cat-5e would be able to do 3 or 4 streams, and a single Cat-6A would be able to carry 20+ streams. And these are 4K HDR streams that are way better than anything available on YouTube, Vudu, or Netflix. Full 4k Blu-ray quality.

Instead they make us transmit HDMI because it’s impractical to record. That’s all it is. Copy protection. Because they can’t figure out how to write a sufficient encryption method to protect their content they burden us and our customers with expensive cables that max out at 20-50 feet, equipment that becomes obsolete overnight, and onerous requirements to be able to watch a move in another room, or even in a large room if you have a projector.

This is out of control and it has to be stopped.

Posted by judds on January 9, 2017

I agree with Eyal Kattn; It’s time to adopt FO as a standard cabling. One time cable running in the walls will satisfy the bandwidth requirement for many years to come, not to mention other significant attributes. One may have to deal with different kind of termination over the time, but that isn’t much of a problem. You may also end up with the convenience of the latest “Bluetooth” technology for short distance transmissions.

Posted by jbrown on January 9, 2017

@judds, and others ... how much do you know about fiber optics? Do you know that getting a really good connection requires a $15-20k core alignment fusion splicer? Did you know that if you were “ahead of the curve” and ran 62.5/125 multimode fiber 10-15 years ago that it is basically useless now? Did you know that if you ran 50/125 OM2 multimode fiber 5 years ago that it is also just about useless now? Fiber is no different than copper when it comes to obsolescence. It’s just more expensive, more fragile, less flexible, and harder to terminate.

We have run hundreds of thousands of feet of fiber at my office and let me tell you, it is NOT a cure all. Currently Crestron doesn’t even have a DM solution for 4K over fiber. So if you have Crestron DM fiber system in your house you’re waiting for a new product and hoping your integrator ran OM3 or better even though the original spec only needed OM2. And most 4K fiber HDMI cables cannot be field-terminated. The ones that can be terminated cost over $1200+ for ends plus the cost of the fiber. And that’s for the 18Gbps spec, not this 48Gbps nonsense.

I don’t know who told @Eyal that fiber can support 50K (assuming he means 50K pixels wide) but even OM4 multimode will be lucky to get beyond 8K on a long run with this 48Gbps spec. Realistically OM4 will support about 100Gbps at 100-150 meters. And running single mode fiber in a home is a whole other cost layer for hardware that is just not realistic for the residential space.

Posted by Robert Archer on January 10, 2017

If you would like to learn more about how to address the growing bandwidth requirements of copper, fiber and IP, check out the story CE Pro ran this past fall:
http://www.cepro.com/article/the_ugly_truth_about_ultra_hd_and_what_dealers_need_to_do_about_it

Posted by David Meyer on February 28, 2017

A word on copy protection - Blu-ray is protected on the disc by AACS, UHD Blu-ray by AACS2. HDCP is then used to protect the data during transmission, which could be applied to compressed or uncompressed data equally. All due respect but copy protection is not the issue.

HDMI have always focused on uncompressed transmission to ensure maximum quality and genuine real-time ZERO latency. A simple example is lip-sync between AVR and display. HEVC, as used on UHD Blu-ray, is onerous in its inherent latency. Sure we could just push out what’s on the disc (compressed), but it has to be decoded at the receiving side. Some vendors are claiming ‘low latency’ HEVC encoding/decoding, but if you read the fine print they say things like ‘sub-second’. 500ms would be considered very good.

And then there’s natively uncompressed sources like computer graphics & gaming. Subjecting them to compression encode-decode would slow things to unusable. Gamers cannot tolerate anything more than mere microseconds of latency.

I think the answer lies in exactly what HDMI are doing - stay uncompressed for the mission critical install layers like high end home theater and gaming. Then for distributed AV where performance is not as critical, plugging in to solutions like IP multicasting which do apply compression (eg; DSC, on-the-fly HEVC, JPEG2000 or the coming JPEG-XS), such as that proposed by the SDVoE, can provide an elegant compromise.

As for fiber, sure some cable can handle huge bandwidth and standards do change too often (I’ve long stated that “future-proof” means it should last until Christmas), but if you can handle the terminations there still remains the big issue of the serializer chips and opto-electric couplers. They’re expensive and not without their interoperability challenges.

We all wish there was an easy answer. But then if there was then consumers could do a lot of it themselves! Embrace it.

12 Comments
Posted by David Meyer on February 28, 2017

A word on copy protection - Blu-ray is protected on the disc by AACS, UHD Blu-ray by AACS2. HDCP is then used to protect the data during transmission, which could be applied to compressed or uncompressed data equally. All due respect but copy protection is not the issue.

HDMI have always focused on uncompressed transmission to ensure maximum quality and genuine real-time ZERO latency. A simple example is lip-sync between AVR and display. HEVC, as used on UHD Blu-ray, is onerous in its inherent latency. Sure we could just push out what’s on the disc (compressed), but it has to be decoded at the receiving side. Some vendors are claiming ‘low latency’ HEVC encoding/decoding, but if you read the fine print they say things like ‘sub-second’. 500ms would be considered very good.

And then there’s natively uncompressed sources like computer graphics & gaming. Subjecting them to compression encode-decode would slow things to unusable. Gamers cannot tolerate anything more than mere microseconds of latency.

I think the answer lies in exactly what HDMI are doing - stay uncompressed for the mission critical install layers like high end home theater and gaming. Then for distributed AV where performance is not as critical, plugging in to solutions like IP multicasting which do apply compression (eg; DSC, on-the-fly HEVC, JPEG2000 or the coming JPEG-XS), such as that proposed by the SDVoE, can provide an elegant compromise.

As for fiber, sure some cable can handle huge bandwidth and standards do change too often (I’ve long stated that “future-proof” means it should last until Christmas), but if you can handle the terminations there still remains the big issue of the serializer chips and opto-electric couplers. They’re expensive and not without their interoperability challenges.

We all wish there was an easy answer. But then if there was then consumers could do a lot of it themselves! Embrace it.

Posted by Robert Archer on January 10, 2017

If you would like to learn more about how to address the growing bandwidth requirements of copper, fiber and IP, check out the story CE Pro ran this past fall:
http://www.cepro.com/article/the_ugly_truth_about_ultra_hd_and_what_dealers_need_to_do_about_it

Posted by jbrown on January 9, 2017

@judds, and others ... how much do you know about fiber optics? Do you know that getting a really good connection requires a $15-20k core alignment fusion splicer? Did you know that if you were “ahead of the curve” and ran 62.5/125 multimode fiber 10-15 years ago that it is basically useless now? Did you know that if you ran 50/125 OM2 multimode fiber 5 years ago that it is also just about useless now? Fiber is no different than copper when it comes to obsolescence. It’s just more expensive, more fragile, less flexible, and harder to terminate.

We have run hundreds of thousands of feet of fiber at my office and let me tell you, it is NOT a cure all. Currently Crestron doesn’t even have a DM solution for 4K over fiber. So if you have Crestron DM fiber system in your house you’re waiting for a new product and hoping your integrator ran OM3 or better even though the original spec only needed OM2. And most 4K fiber HDMI cables cannot be field-terminated. The ones that can be terminated cost over $1200+ for ends plus the cost of the fiber. And that’s for the 18Gbps spec, not this 48Gbps nonsense.

I don’t know who told @Eyal that fiber can support 50K (assuming he means 50K pixels wide) but even OM4 multimode will be lucky to get beyond 8K on a long run with this 48Gbps spec. Realistically OM4 will support about 100Gbps at 100-150 meters. And running single mode fiber in a home is a whole other cost layer for hardware that is just not realistic for the residential space.

Posted by judds on January 9, 2017

I agree with Eyal Kattn; It’s time to adopt FO as a standard cabling. One time cable running in the walls will satisfy the bandwidth requirement for many years to come, not to mention other significant attributes. One may have to deal with different kind of termination over the time, but that isn’t much of a problem. You may also end up with the convenience of the latest “Bluetooth” technology for short distance transmissions.

Posted by jbrown on January 7, 2017

At what point do we as an industry file a class action lawsuit against the MPAA, the HDMI consortium and TV manufacturers?

The compressed data stored on a UHD 4K Blu-ray disc with HDR has a maximum spec of 128Mbps. Theorectically, when uncompressed, the data on that Blu-ray disc could max out an 18Gbps HDMI 2.0 connection (That’s over 18,000Mbps for the mathematically challenged). That is a factor of 140x.

If Hollywood would allow us to transmit the original compressed data around our houses, plain old unshielded 20-year-old Cat-5 would have enough bandwidth for one stream easily. Cat-5e would be able to do 3 or 4 streams, and a single Cat-6A would be able to carry 20+ streams. And these are 4K HDR streams that are way better than anything available on YouTube, Vudu, or Netflix. Full 4k Blu-ray quality.

Instead they make us transmit HDMI because it’s impractical to record. That’s all it is. Copy protection. Because they can’t figure out how to write a sufficient encryption method to protect their content they burden us and our customers with expensive cables that max out at 20-50 feet, equipment that becomes obsolete overnight, and onerous requirements to be able to watch a move in another room, or even in a large room if you have a projector.

This is out of control and it has to be stopped.

Posted by kipoca on January 5, 2017

Fiber for networking is cheap, fiber hdbaset is not.

Posted by Eyal Kattan on January 4, 2017

Kipoca,  we’ve been using fiber in networking for many years.  The equipment is not expensive at all.

HDBaseT is already running on CAT6 and Fiber is used to connect 2 or more switches.  We only use Hdmi in the last 3 ft but we shouldn’t really, if the manufacturers will start implementing different interface,  I. e RJ45 or Fiber

Posted by kipoca on January 4, 2017

Eyal, the problem is not the cable (though there is a problem there), the problem is the electronics required to transmit and receive. The Aurora cables from Tributaries are fiber, but the connections are much larger than normal, and requires 5V power at both ends. Pre-terminated cables are also tough to use in structured wiring situations, which means terminating fiber (expensive install kits) and using fiber transmission kits, which is also expensive.

The cable part of it is bend radius. Can’t just hire some guy to pull wires through a house, they have to know the tolerances of fiber.

Posted by Eyal Kattan on January 4, 2017

Just wondering when this industry will catch up with fiber.  It’s 1/5 of the thickness,  can transfer 100 times more data,  to much longer distances -  which means it can support even 50k when it becomes available…. And The specs and wires don’t have to be changed that often.

Posted by kipoca on January 4, 2017

Shielded cables up to 4 meters, fiber above.

Posted by qubit88 on January 4, 2017

I’d like to see this cable, I wonder how thick it will be if copper is to be used. If so, then I would reckon that the length is limited to under 2-3 meters at best. Longer lengths will definitely be fiber because at 48gbps fiber is the smart choice anyways.

Posted by John Nemesh on January 4, 2017

Fun!  We are struggling to find cables that handle “only” 18Gbps right now in lengths over 20 ft…now they want us to use cables that handle 48!  I am guessing that all HDMI cables will have to abandon copper completely at some point and go pure fiber to handle that kind of bandwidth. Either that or be limited to 6 ft cables…