Samsung's 8K TVs from 2019 are now officially certified for HDMI 2.1, including 8K60. Many more TVs with HDMI 2.1 will be announced at CES 2020.
First HDMI 2.1 certified 8K TVs
Samsung, LG, and Sony have, in 2019, been selling 8K TVs equipped with one or more HDMI 2.1 ports. However, none of these were certified (until now), meaning that TV makers were unable to tout HDMI 2.1 support.
That is because the certification process for HDMI 2.1 has seen several delays. HDMI certification occurs through an authorized test center (ATC) and the certification tests are being rolled out in stages. One of the first tests involve HDMI 2.1 support for higher-bandwidth video signals, while later tests will certify optional HDMI 2.1 features.
Also read HDMI 2.1 finalized - 8K/10K resolution, variable refresh rate, eARC, new cable
Samsung's 2019 8K TVs (Q900RB in the US, Q950R in Europe) are the first 8K TVs to get the HDMI 2.1 certification.
- "The certified version is related to the new HDMI 2.1 video transmission format, which includes 4K 120Hz as well as 8K 60Hz, allowing Samsung to officially announce the 2019 TV with HDMI 2.1 capability," the company said.
With "the new HDMI 2.1 video transmission format" Samsung is referring to so-called FRL (Fixed Rate Link), which is a new signaling technology in HDMI 2.1 that replaces TMDS from HDMI 2.0. It is this signaling technology that dramatically increases video bandwidth from 18 Gbps in HDMI 2.0 to 48 Gbps in HDMI 2.1.
Samsung said that it expects its 2020 TV models to also receive HDMI 2.1 certification, but did not share any additional details. Samsung's 2019 8K TVs are equipped with a single HDMI 2.1 port while the company's 4K TVs feature standard HDMI 2.0 ports. 2019 high-end 4K and 8K TVs from hometown rival LG are equipped with four HDMI 2.1 ports.
HDMI 2.1 also includes a number of optional features such as eARC, VRR, QMS, and ALLM. Samsung's 8K TV currently supports ALLM only.
Included in the press release is also the following quote from Samsung's vice president of the video display business who hints that not only game consoles such as PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X will come fitted with HDMI 2.1 ports but also future Blu-ray players. It is a strange and curious remark considering that Samsung has abandoned the disc business and that the current UHD Blu-ray specification does not cover any of the elements made possible by HDMI 2.1.
- "As the official certification of HDMI 2.1 is in full swing, various devices equipped with HDMI 2.1 such as console game consoles and Blu-ray players will be released. As a technology leader in the TV industry, we will provide the best value to consumers by proactively responding to various technical standards that will be developed in the future," said Lee Hyo-gun, VP of video display business, Samsung Electronics.