HDMI 2.1 is the next major step for HDMI. Besides 8K, it enables 4K at 120fps as well as VRR, eARC, QMS and ALLM. Here is an introduction and an updated list of TVs with HDMI 2.1.
HDMI 2.1 explained
For more than a decade, HDMI has been the de facto video interface standard in the TV ecosystem, and it has helped push TV makers to adopt and standardize new video technologies. Full HD TVs came with HDMI 1.0 and 1.1, 3D TVs with HDMI 1.4, 4K TVs with HDMI 2.0, and now 4K HFR TVs and 8K TVs with HDMI 2.1.
HDMI 2.1 supports increased bandwidth for higher resolution and high frame rate (HFR). Furthermore, it introduces new optional features such as VRR, eARC, QMS and ALLM. These features offer improved gaming performance, higher quality audio, and more. Some of the optional features can be implemented on HDMI 2.0 chipsets, too.
A brief summary:
HDMI 2.1 – what you should know
Version 2.1 of the HDMI specification supports higher bandwidth (up to - but not necessarily - 48 Gb/s versus 18 Gb/s for HDMI 2.1) for up to 8K60 and 4K120 signals. It uses a new signalling system called FRL (Fixed Rate Link) to enable higher bandwidth. With lossless compression (DSC), HDMI 2.1 supports up to 120 Gb/s bandwidth for 8K120.
HDMI 2.1 is fully backwards compatible, but it will require new cables (same connector) to take advantage of the higher bandwidth.
HFR (High Frame Rate):
HFR is used as a term for frame rates of over 100fps (frames per second), meaning smoother motion with higher motion detail. Movies are typically shot and presented in 24fps whereas console games have historically been presented in frame rates between 30 and 60fps. The higher bandwidth of HDMI 2.1 enables HFR in combination with 4K resolution.
HDMI eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel):
With eARC you get increased bandwidth for audio compared to standard HDMI ARC (Audio Return Channel) that has been part of the HDMI specification since HDMI 1.4. It is now possible to transmit lossless audio as well as multichannel PCM via eARC. You can learn more in this article. HDMI eARC can also be implemented on HDMI 2.0 chipsets.
HDMI VRR (Variable Refresh Rate):
You may already know Nvidia G-Sync and AMD FreeSync. HDMI VRR is a similar standardized specification for variable refresh rate over HDMI. By syncronizing the refresh rate of the TV to match the frame rate output of the console or PC in realtime, VRR can reduce judder, tearing and lag for smoother gameplay. Both TV and console/PC must support HDMI VRR.
HDMI QMS (Quick Media Switching):
Today, changing the video mode in the HDMI connection results in a black screen, a so-called audio/video blackout. It typically takes a few seconds, depending on your device. As a consequence many playback devices avoid frame rate switching entirely and resort to the poor practice of frame rate conversion instead. QMS, which is a derivate of VRR, eliminates the black screen when changing video mode, for example 60Hz to 24Hz. Both devices must support QMS.
HDMI ALLM (Auto Low Latency Mode):
ALLM lets the game console transmit metadata in the signal to the TV to have it switch automatically into (and out of) game mode. Game modes in TVs typically have reduced input lag. Both TV and console/PC must support ALLM, which also works on HDMI 2.0 chipsets.
Learn more about HDMI 2.1 in this article.
List: TVs with HDMI 2.1
As highlighted, some features of HDMI 2.1 can be enabled on HDMI 2.0 chipsets in TVs or other devices. However, to get the advantages of HDMI 2.1's increased bandwidth (which requires FRL), a TV – or any other another device – must be equipped with HDMI 2.1 ports.
The list below pulls data from FlatpanelsHD's TV Database and will be automatically updated as new TVs with HDMI 2.1 launch. You can bookmark the list for future reference. Click on any TV model to get more information in the TV Database where you can also compare models.
click icon (in the list) to see the VRR frequency range for a specific TV model.
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