Last Updated on January 22, 2024 by Markeyus Franks
Since the invention of the first TV, display protocols have gone through a series of developments, ultimately leading to the creation of the HDMI port. Display signal transmission started with analog signals that were transferred through antennas. These signals were typically very low-resolution.
In the 1940s, the RCA jacks made their way into TVs. These were composite cables that could transfer video in analog formats. This way of video transmission lasted till the 1980s when S-Video made its introduction. The S-Video jack separated the signal into two parts: Y and C. Y controlled the image’s brightness, and C controlled the luminance. This offered much better quality than RCA but was replaced in the 90s by the component video cable. This was similar to the Y/C cable style but had two channels for color instead of one.
Developments in display protocols hastened after the 80s, and ports like VGA, DVI and DisplayPort gained popularity almost simultaneously. The VGA was the first to enter the market and was widely popular in computer display. The DVI port was an improvement over the VGA port. Finally, the HDMI port was introduced to consumer televisions in 2002 and soon became the most popular display protocol.
The HDMI version 1 was the first time the world saw the HDMI port entering the display protocol scene. Naturally, as it was the first incarnation of the port and cable type, it went through several iterations before it reached its full potential. Initially, it was released as HDMI 1, and another number was added after the decimal point. HDMI 1 went through versions 1.0, 1.1 and so on till the final version of HDMI 1.4b.
The HDMI 1.0 was the official release of the HDMI display. It featured a single cable to transmit audio and video signals. The first iteration of the standard featured up to 8 signal transmission channels. It could give Blu-ray playback at full resolution. The HDMI 1.4b was released in 2011, with incremental improvements preceding it. The final version of the HDMI 1 port could support 4k resolution, 3D videos at 1080p at 120Hz, and an ethernet connection over the cable. With the release of the HDMI 1.4b, the HDMI standard gained a lot of popularity across the globe and was widely regarded as a reliable A/V transmission standard.
The HDMI 2.0 was released when a new forum was assigned to update the HDMI system. As there was a new body that managed the HDMI standard now, the version number was raised. The HDMI 2.0 was released in 2013 and was referred to as the HDMI Ultra High Definition. There were several upgrades in the HDMI 2.0. The maximum data transfer speed was increased to 18 Gbps, and it could now handle video quality of 4k up to 60Hz compared to 24 or 25Hz of the HDMI 1.4b.
The HDMI protocol could now handle up to 32 different channels simultaneously, allowing dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen. The HDMI 2.0 also supported wide-angle cinematic video output at an aspect ratio of 21:9. The 2.0 had minor updates in 2015 and 2016, but the essentials of the HDMI transmission remained the same.
The HDMI 2.1 is the final major update in HDMI technology, released in 2017. The significance of the update is indicated by the increase in the version number from 2.0 to 2.1. The HDMI 2.1 supports video resolution up to 10k at 120Hz, which is huge compared to the HDMI standards it succeeds. While there was support for HDR metadata in HDMI 2.0, HDMI 2.1 could specify metadata frame-by-frame.
The 10k resolution was achieved by the Display stream compression (DSC) 1.2, using 4:2:0 chroma subsampling. The final update of the HDMI standard introduced a new cable category named the 48G so the new cables can be certified to handle the higher data transmission rates.
HDMI Vs. DVI
HDMI and DVI are both digital signal transmission interfaces that can send high-quality audio and video signals. Both systems transmit digital signals, so they are less susceptible to interference than analog signals. Both interfaces can transmit HD and 4k resolutions at high refresh rates.
Even though both have some similarities, HDMI is more versatile. HDMI can transmit audio and video signals through a single cable, while DVI needs a separate audio cable. HDMI is protected with High bandwidth Digital Signal Protection, which protects against unauthorized copies, while DVI lacks this feature. HDMI is also more convenient as the connector is smaller and supported across many more devices compared to the DVI interface.
HDMI Vs. DisplayPort
HDMI and DisplayPort interfaces were released in the 2000s and are popular because they support high-quality video and audio transmission. But they still have a series of differences. The DisplayPort interface generally supports higher bandwidth and resolution than HDMI systems, except for HDMI 2.1. The DisplayPort allows you to daisy-chain multiple displays through a single display port on your computer, while HDMI does not support daisy-chaining.
The DisplayPort came as a replacement for the DVI interface, but unlike DVI, the DisplayPort supports audio transmission too. However, unlike DisplayPort, HDMI supports more advanced features like multi-channel audio. HDMI is the more reasonable choice of the two, as it is compatible across many devices, has a smaller port and is generally less expensive compared to DisplayPort.
How Do You Choose the Best HDMI Cable For Gaming?
It would be best to consider several factors when looking for the right HDMI cable for gaming. There are countless cables on the market with varying specifications and prices. A higher price does not mean superior quality or performance. Here are a few factors you need to consider before buying a cable;
This is the biggest concern when choosing the right cable. Make sure you carefully read the manufacturer’s specifications and match them with the corresponding specifications of your console or PC. Mismatched specifications can seriously affect the performance of your display. In worst-case scenarios, you may not get a display at all.
Speed and Bandwidth
Gaming requires accurate video and audio transmission; you need a cable to handle high-speed data transfer. Cables that can handle data transfer of 18Gbps and higher are ideal for gaming setups.
A longer cable can be a double-edged sword. While a longer cable allows you to move your displays freely and change the orientation of your setup as you want, a longer length can also cause signal degradation. So, ensure you get the right length for your setup for optimal performance and orientation of your display.
Latency can be seriously detrimental to the gaming experience. Latency, or in gaming terms, lag, is the delay that occurs when you press a button and see action on your display. It would be best to have a cable with the lowest input lag rating to have the lowest gaming latency.
High-end HDMI cables offer some benefits over cheaper ones, but having the best specifications in a cable does not mean anything if your system cannot transmit data at that rate. Ensure you buy a cable that matches your requirements perfectly while fitting your budget.
Is Purchasing A HDMI 2.1 Wort It Over 2.0?
The simple answer is; Yes. The HDMI 2.1 dwarfs HDMI 2.0 in several areas. The HDMI 2.1 can transmit data at speeds up to 48Gbps, while the HDMI 2.0 is limited to 18Gbps. This means that HDMI 2.1 will offer you deeper colors, higher frame rates and a higher resolution. The overall difference in display quality is huge. HDMI 2.0 can only support resolutions up to 4k. If you have a TV or computer that supports 8k or higher resolution, you must have HDMI 2.1 to utilize it.
HDMI 2.1 offers a 120Hz refresh rate at 4k compared to 60Hz with the 2.0. A higher refresh rate means smoother and more responsive video output. Another feature that HDMI 2.1 has is Auto Low Latency Mode, which keeps lagging to a minimum during gaming.
Whether it is worth paying more depends more on the application. If you have a device that supports HDMI 2.1 and plan to use it for graphic-heavy tasks, then HDMI 2.1 is certainly worth it. But if your system does not support HDMI 2.1 and higher refresh rates, then it is useless.
What Is the Best HDMI Cable To Purchase for Gaming?
As discussed above, the ideal cable for gaming should offer you high transmission speeds and low latency and be within your budget. It can be very confusing to find the right cable in a sea of HDMI cables claiming to give superior performance compared to their rivals. So, we reviewed some of the best cables in the market for you to choose from;
- DGHUMEN 8K Fiber Optic HDMI 2.1 Cable. (B09V17P8TG)
The DHHUMEN cable is very versatile when you look at its options. You can get it in six sizes and five different materials based on your preference and setup. The cable offers 8k clarity at 60 Hz and HDMI 2.1 compatibility. The high-quality material ensures top-quality bandwidth and data transfer rates of up to 48Gbps. The cable is also compatible with projectors, computers, monitors, TVs and gaming consoles. If you plan to use the cable at lower resolutions, you can attain refresh rates of up to 144Hz.
- Fusion8K HDMI 2.1 Cable Supports 8K (B07YF7QMNK)
The Fusion8k supports 8k resolution; it is basically in its name! The cable is advertised as the ultimate cable for gaming consoles, claiming to be compatible with all the latest gen consoles from the PS5 to Xbox Series X. There are three cable size options, 3 feet, 6 feet and 10 feet. It supports 144Hz monitors and has a high dynamic range for top-notch color depth and a diverse color range. The cable is backward compatible with all previous HDMI devices as well.
- Highwings 8K HDMI Cable 2.1 48Gbp (B08M9HND4F)
The Highwings HDMI cable supports lightning-fast transfer speeds of 48Gbps, incorporating the classic style of Highwings. The cable features gold-plated bits in the plug for top-notch display quality. Each part of the cable was made and tested with tenacity in mind. It can easily output 8k at 60 Hz and 4k at 120 Hz. The best part about the cable is its budget-friendliness; it costs less than $10!