When buying TV or any hardware for that matter, it’s normal to want everything to support each other. Sometimes, you can purchase components that do not support your TV whether it’s physically or does not support a specific type of software. In this case, we’re going to see what types of HDMI cables support and do not support HDR content.
First of all, let’s talk about what exactly HDMI is. HDMI stands for High Definition Multimedia Interface and it’s used for transferring HD Video and Audio to your TV. It’s quite popular because it can do this through a single cable, and it supports most input and output devices such as TVs, Game Consoles, Blu Ray Players, and much more.
HDR stands for High Dynamic Range, and a lot of TVs today are meant to support this type of technology. HDR has a purpose to make scenes in Movies, TV shows, and even Video Games look more realistic. HDR works in a clever way, it increases the brightest spot on-screen whilst darkening the darkest spot, this essentially gets us to the real-life image.
Are All HDMI Cables The Same?
From a practical sense, most HDMI cables work exactly the same, what actually matters is the versions of the cable. The difference between these HDMI versions is the support that they offer. There are so many versions, but the most popular versions are: HDMI 1.4, 2.0, 2.0a, 2.0b. and 2.1.
Most of the time, you shouldn’t worry about the HDMI version, the average consumer could pick up a HDMI 1.4 cable and stream 24FPA 4K Video. 24FPS is the limit to most movies anyways, so they wouldn’t even notice the difference between HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.1. Keep in mind, HDMI 1.4 was released back in 2009, so old cable are still practical till this day.
Lets talk about price, you can find a HDMI cable worth $3.99 and a HDMI cable priced at $399. So logically, there should be a massive improvement between these cables as one is 100 times more expensive. Well essentially theres no difference between these two cables, they will both stream the same picture quality, and audio quality. What really matters is the standard. You can pick up an 8K ready HDMI 2.1 cable for $11 on amazon.
|Standard||Support & Max Resolution||4K HDR Qualified?|
|HDMI 1.0||4.95 Gbps / 1080P @ 60Hz||No|
|HDMI 1.1||4.95 Gbps / 1440P @ 30Hz||No|
|HDMI 1.2||4.95 Gbps / 1440P @ 30Hz||No|
|HDMI 1.2a||4.95 Gbps / 1440P @ 30Hz||No|
|HDMI 1.3||10.2 Gbps / 4K @ 60Hz||No|
|HDMI 1.3a||10.2 Gbps / 4K @ 60Hz||No|
|HDMI 1.4||10.2 Gbps / 4K @ 60Hz||No(May work depending on cable)|
|HDMI 1.4a||10.2 Gbps / 4K @ 60Hz||No(May work depending on cable)|
|HDMI 1.4b||10.2 Gbps / 4K @ 60Hz||No(May work depending on cable)|
|HDMI 2.0||18.0 Gbps / 5K @ 30Hz||No(May work depending on cable)|
|HDMI 2.0a||18.0 Gbps / 5K @ 30Hz||Yes|
|HDMI 2.0b||18.0 Gbps / 5K @ 30Hz||Yes|
|HDMI 2.1||48.0 Gbps / 8K @ 30Hz||Yes|
Is HDMI HDR Capable?
HDMI 2.0 did not officially support HDR content, but it was capable of transmitting HDR content, this depended on the length and quality of the wire. Even HDMI 1.4 was capable of streaming some HDR Formats if short enough, but this was not intended. But this wasn’t consistent, some HDMI 2.0 cables could not stream HDR content because a different version of HDMI is required.
HDMI 2.0a is where official HDR support was introduced. If you want a cable that will support HDR content and all of its formats such as Dolby Vision, then you require an HDMI 2.0a cable. 2.0b cables are better at streaming HDR content because they’ve added extended support such as Hybrid Log-Gamma which is a different way of transmitting HDR content.
HDMI 2.1 has surpassed HDMI 2.0, 2.0a, and 2.0b, it supports 8K60 and 4K120, and Dynamic HDR formats are also supported such as Dolby Vision, HDR10, and HDR10+. HDMI 2.1 isn’t necessary for HDR content, but if you’re looking to game at 4K 120FPS with HDR enabled, then you may need it.
What Is The Best HDMI Cable For 4K HDR?
If you have some HDMI 2.0 cables laying around, and you want to watch some 4K Movies with HDR support, then you could likely pull it off, but for the best support, at least a HDMI 2.0a cable is needed becuase not always will a HDMI 2.0 cable work. A recommened cable would be an HDMI 2.1 cable because they can support 48Gbps of data transmission and 8K 30FPS, 4K 120FPS.
This is to make sure that incase you upgrade your TV in the future, you have 8K ready HDR support for movies as well as the option to game on such TV with the optimal 60 frames per second. And HDMI 2.1 cables arent that expensive unless you’re choosing to rip yourself off with those cables claiming lies such as “better video quality”.
The chances are there that you could pick up a really old HDMI cable and find out that they can transmit 4K HDR content, and most households usually have plenty of HDMI cables laying around. The chances are that you do not need to purchase a new HDMI cable.
In conclusion, Some cables are very likely able to stream 4K HDR content, this is because some older standard cable may have a higher bandwidth therefore alloweding HDR content. The main difference between HDMI 1.4 – 2.1 is the bandwidth they can send. Essentially, HDMI is just a cable sending whatever you put through it, if it works then no need to upgrade.
You’ll likely know it doesn’t work becaue sometimes your image will cut out or you get no signal at all. In this case, you probably need an upgrade because that HDMI cable isn’t HDR certified. Pick up a HDMI 2.1 cable as its the latest standard that can support 8K 30FPS, and 4K 120FPS for your HDR content.
Shorter older cables work better than longer older cables. The longer the cable, the harder it is to send data through it. So short HDMI 1.4 cables which are around 1 meter in length hypothetically can support 4K HDR content. But if you need longer, then a longer HDMI 1.4 cable might run into issues.