Gaming

2021 TVs bet on HDMI 2.1, but their connectors with this standard often have “ fine print ”. We explain it to you

We video game fans are in luck. It seems that this year, finally, the main television manufacturers have decided to incorporate HDMI 2.1 connectors in a good part of their models of medium / high and high range.

Some brands, such as LG, Sony or Samsung, have offered us this connectivity in some of their televisions from previous years, but the presence of this standard in this generation she is much less shy.

Having a TV with HDMI 2.1 connectivity should allow us make the most match to a PC equipped with a new generation AMD or NVIDIA graphics card, as well as to the Xbox Series X, S and PlayStation 5 consoles.

However, in practice, the outlook is not as accommodating as it might sound due to the way TV manufacturers are implementing this standard. has some restrictions that users want to know.

These are the fine print on TVs with HDMI 2.1

Not all connectors are HDMI 2.1

The first observation to remember is that most televisions arriving in stores this year with HDMI 2.1 connectivity do not offer us this standard. in all ports.

At the moment, the only televisions we know for sure that implement this technology on the four HDMI connectors They incorporate LG’s NanoCell 8K and OLED 8K and 4K models and Samsung’s Neo QLED 8K models.

It is possible that another TV will meet this requirement, but most other models of these two brands and all others have one or two HDMI 2.1 connectors. The others implement the 2.0 standard.

Of course, if we intend to connect our PC equipped with a latest generation graphics card or our next generation console to one of these televisions, we want to make sure beforehand that we have chosen the appropriate HDMI connector.

Not all HDMI 2.1 connectors are the same

We have just verified that a good portion of TVs with HDMI 2.1 connectivity that reach stores do not offer us this standard in all connectors, but we are also interested to know that in many TVs even not all HDMI 2.1 ports do. are not implemented. all the advantages defined in the standard.

To illustrate this panorama we can look, for example, in what is undoubtedly one of the televisions the most anticipated of 2021: Panasonic JZ2000 model, equipped with an OLED panel.

ALLM (Low Latency Auto Mode) technology is available on all four HDMI connectors, but eARC is only available on connector number 2, and VRR (Variable Refresh Rate) and 4K 120 FPS capabilities are only available at inputs 1 and 2.

In this television, the only HDMI input that fully implements the 2.1 standard and therefore offers ALLM, eARC, VRR and 4K technologies at 120 FPS is number 2. The other three do not have some of these advantages.

Exactly the same happens in most TVs from other brands, so we are interested in checking what support do you offer us the model we have chosen to identify the HDMI input that we should use in each of our sources.

Some HDMI 2.1 inputs do not offer us the bandwidth offered by the 2.1 standard

We are currently analyzing LG’s C1 model with an OLED panel, and, although there is no doubt that this is a TV with very full connectivity (it implements the 2.1 standard in its four HDMI inputs) , we were able to verify that, like last year’s models, the bandwidth of the four HDMI ports is 40 Gbit / s, a figure lower than the 48 Gbps described in standard 2.1.

The 40 Gbps that LG offers us in its televisions with HDMI 2.1 connectivity are enough to carry 4K signals at 120 Hz and 10 bits

In practice, this is not very important because 48 Gbit / s is only needed to transport 4K UHD content with a color depth of 12 bits, 120 Hz and 4: 4: 4 color downsampling. And the TV panel is 10 bit.

The 40 Gbps that LG offers us in its televisions with HDMI 2.1 connectivity are sufficient to carry 4K signals at 120 Hz with a color depth of 10 bits.

In any case, not having the full bandwidth offered by the HDMI 2.1 standard, even if in practice this is not at all dramatic, it is in a way a step backwards compared to televisions which they respect this specification, like, for example, the OLED models that LG launched in 2019.

It is possible that LG is not the only brand to incorporate this limitation in its 2021 TVs with HDMI 2.1 connectivity, so by analyzing them we will identify if other models as well. cut bandwidth.

Some TVs promise us full HDMI 2.1, but they don’t deliver it to us from the factory

It can be a bit frustrating to buy a new TV with HDMI 2.1 connectivity and find out when you take it home and plug it in that some of the specs of that standard not yet available.

Sony will release a firmware update to allow full support for the HDMI 2.1 standard

This happens, for example, for Sony’s A90J model with an OLED panel that we reviewed a little over two weeks ago. It’s a fantastic TV, there’s no doubt about it, but the two HDMI 2.1 connectors it incorporates (the other two are HDMI 2.0) are not yet implemented. VRR and ALLM features.

Sony has confirmed that in the future it will launch an update of firmware which will fill this gap and allow full support for the 2.1 standard on the HDMI 3 and 4 inputs.

The same thing happened last year with the XH90 model with VA LCD panel, and this is a practice that, unfortunately, initially leaves us to the users. with honey on the lips.

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