On the internet all HDMI cables are treated like they’re interchangeable, but in all reality they are not. Everyone figures that out eventually, but sometimes it isn’t until their equipment is set up and it’s not working.
With the ever changing world of audio and visual entertainment, the HDMI cable needed to grow and adapt, and most people do not keep up with these changes. They rely on online reviews instead. That may be a great idea if you’re looking for somewhere to eat but it’s not going to help you optimize your home theater.
Can that Amazon reviewer explain the difference between a high-speed HDMI cable vs a standard cable or know which one will be able to handle your theater’s specific data load? Can that guy with the weird Adventure Time avatar explain which cable will allow you to get 4K HDR Netflix to your new big screen? Frankly, there is a lot to learn when it comes to which HDMI cable is best for you, and getting the wrong one will result in a pile of expensive theater tech that won’t work.
In this article we hope to go over some of the differences between different cables, but there is so much more to learn.
High-Speed HDMI Cable vs Standard Cable
For most people, the HDMI debate will come down to the high-speed HDMI cable vs standard cable. Many high speed cables can handle 18 Gbps of bandwidth, making the correct cable choice important for HDMI 2.0 capable devices.
HDMI 1.4 devices were the industry standard up until 2013 when HDMI 2.0 was announced. So if your TV or other devices were purchased before 2013, chances are it’s meant to use standard HDMI cables. Luckily, most standard HDMI cables can interact with HDMI 2.0 devices just fine. You don’t have to throw out your old TV if you bought a new Blu-ray player, but you may lose some features. A word of caution about any HDMI cable though, the longer the cable the higher quality it needs to be. If your cable is longer than 12 feet it likely needs to be a high-speed cable that is designed to handle longer distances. Again, be careful of the reviews you read online. Although someone reports that a cable worked in their setup, it may not work in yours.
HDMI 2.0 has been the standard for a while now and almost any newer device that you buy in store is likely HDMI 2.0 compatible. HDMI 2.0 devices are also reverse compatible with standard HDMI cables but at the cost of reduction of video quality. Due to the 18 Gbps of bandwidth of new 4K HDR video feeds it is important to find high speed HDMI cables that can handle a larger amount of bandwidth. These days it is no longer enough to just look for cables that are ‘high-speed rated’. You also need to find one that is rated to 18 Gbps.
HDMI 2.0b Devices – The Future of HDMI
HDMI is constantly innovating and the latest available standard is HDMI 2.0b. HDMI 2.0b is very similar to HDMI 2.0 but with a couple of new features added to it.
HDMI 2.0b features include:
- High dynamic range (HDR) video including live broadcast HLG
- 18 Gbps of bandwidth
- 4k video @ 60 frames per second with more life-like color
- 32 audio channel support for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
- 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
It is important to look for devices that support HDMI 2.0b so that you can get the most out of your Netflix and Amazon Prime streaming video experience. When it comes to a top-quality viewing and listening experience, nothing can compare to the benefits offered by HDMI 2.0 devices with high quality cables. For example, that 4K HDR video we mentioned earlier is 4 times that of the standard 1080p video resolution but you won’t be able to experience that unless you have the right equipment and cables that support it. Basically, it’s important to remember that this stuff is complicated and the HDMI cables are not where you want to cut corners. That doesn’t mean that you need to buy the most expensive cable possible, it means that you need to find the right solution for your setup.
Many are convinced that all HDMI cables are created equal only to find out after the fact that’s not true. Most AV devices use HDMI cables to communicate with one another, but that doesn’t mean we should assume they’re all the same, because they’re not.
If you want to create a high-quality, in-home movie experience you’re going to need to get the right cables that can carry the audio and visual load. That’s a fact. Cheap HDMI cables from your favorite discount site will likely not be able to handle the data load like high quality cables can.
Although this article gives you some of the specs of different HDMI cables, only a professional will be able to give you the most up-to-date information about the cables available and what your theater will need. Luckily, these people are more than happy to help you out as you try to comb through all of your cable options and needs.