In an attempt to help integrators understand the requirements of HDMI 2.1 better, especially as it is related to cable selection, Metra Home Theater Group has released a short video and white paper that can be a helpful guide. The eight-page white paper, dubbed “All Cables Are Not the Same,” explains and defines:
- 4K Spectrum
- High Dynamic Range (HDR)
- Pixel Count
- Refresh Rate
- Bit Rate
- Color Information
The white paper then directly discusses cable length as related to the new HDMI 2.1 spec that calls for 48Gbps transmission speed.
“There is a myth that all HDMI cables are the same, from the $5 cables to the $500 cables. But that’s not the case. Since 4K pertains to a range rather than a single specification, this has left the door open for misleading claims. A manufacturer can claim that their cable is “4K”, even if it only supports the lower range of the 4K spectrum – even as low as 7Gbps! This means that cables labeled at 4K may not be capable of 18Gbps, some can’t even make it to 10.2Gbps. In fact, many copper HDMI cable claims are flat out lies,” says the white paper.
The white paper goes on to claim that some of the cheaper cables on the market are composed of inferior materials – a mixture of metals instead of pure copper – and don’t deliver full 18Gbps bandwidth.
“Many active cables do not have the right technology to allow for compatibility with many of the popular 4K TVs, projectors or Blu-ray players. While they may pass an initial HDMI certification test, they could still fail once plugged into specific home theater setups due to conflicts between the devices,” says Metra.
The company says low-end cables are capable of delivering 4K at 1 meter in length, but will struggle beyond that length. Optical fiber is also addressed as a possible solution for integrators.
The video can be viewed and the white paper can be downloaded for free at https://www.metrahometruth.com/.