Last Updated on February 26, 2023 by Markeyus Franks
HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) is an audio/video interface for transferring uncompressed video data and compressed or uncompressed digital audio data from an HDMI-compliant source device, such as a display controller, to a compatible display device such as a computer monitor, video projector, television, or digital audio device. HDMI is a digital replacement for analog video standards. HDMI ports have different versions with increased transmission capabilities added to the port with every revision. Let us compare different HDMI versions and understand their capabilities.
Which HDMI Port is better?
The best HDMI port is the one that is most suited for your specific needs. If you are looking for the highest possible resolution and picture quality, then HDMI 2.1, the latest revision in HDMI ports, should be your choice. It supports 4K resolution at 120 frames per second, double of what the earlier generation HDMI ports offered, and enables 8K transmission at 60 frames per second. However, if you don’t have a 4K TV and just want to connect your device to a TV or monitor, then HDMI 1.4 is probably the better choice. It is the most widely used HDMI port and supports up to 1080p resolution. In terms of quality and performance, HDMI 2.1 is better but if you are looking for widespread compatibility then HDMI 1.4 is the best available.
What is the Difference between HDMI Ports?
There are five different types of HDMI ports each varying in size and interface. The most widespread one is the stand port with 19 pins that users would immediately recognize as the one that is readily available on most consumer devices. These are known as Type-A HDMI ports in the industry. Next comes dual-link HDMI ports with 29 pins carrying almost double the footprint of standard HDMI ports. These Type-B HDMI ports are rarely visible as never have any mainstream consumer products been shipped with a Dual-Link HDMI port.
Type-C HDMI ports are Mini ports commonly found in portable devices such as DSLR cameras, large tablets or satellite navigation systems. The Type-C ports are essentially trimmed-down versions of Type-A HDMI ports. Though trimmed to be smaller, Type-C HDMI ports don’t lose any functionality but smaller ports call for Mini HDMI to HDMI cables while connecting.
Finally, the Type-D Micro connector ports are designed to be even smaller while still retaining the full functionality of HDMI ports. These are found in ultra-portable devices that usually fit into pockets such as smartphones. These micro-HDMI ports retain the 19-pin structure but in a slightly different layout albeit space constraints. These too need cables specifically designed for these ports.
What is HDMI 1.4?
There are several versions of HDMI ports, including 1.0, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 2.0, 2.0a, 2.0b, 2.1, and 2.1a. Each version has different capabilities and features, and they are not backward compatible. Presently HDMI ports earlier than version 1.4 is a rare find unless your display device was one of the first devices at that time to sport HDMI. HDMI 1.4 was the first major breakthrough that brought generational technological improvements to HDMI. It brought HDMI Ethernet Channel that supported a 100 Mbit/s Ethernet connection between two connected devices. It also enabled audio return channels, 3D support, additional color profiles like Adobe RGB, Adobe YCC601 and sYCC601. HDMI 1.4 also introduced the Micro HDMI port for the first time to users.
What is HDMI 2.0?
HDMI 2.0 was the next iteration that increased the bandwidth to 18 Gbps and added full support for higher resolutions, such as 4K, as well as support for 32 audio channels and up to 1532 kHz of audio. It enabled the use of 8b/10b encoding and also supports the delivery of two video links on the same display. It also supports audio improvements with up to four users able to enjoy multiple audio streams simultaneously. HDMI 2.0 also supports wide-angle cinematic video and an aspect ratio of 21:9
What is HDMI 2.1?
HDMI 2.1 was launched on November 2017 and provides more realistic colors and greater contrast. This is the latest mainstream variant of HDMI and supports Dynamic HDR with increased bandwidth support of 48 Gbps that now enables video resolution of up to 10K resolution. Dynamic HDR enables scene-by-scene and frame-by-frame HDR content that hugely improves video watching experience for users.
Which HDMI Port Should I use for Games?
For most modern gaming systems, HDMI 2.0 is the best port since it is widely supported and supports high-definition resolutions and faster refresh rates resulting in better performance. However, the latest gaming consoles such as the Xbox Series X and PlayStation 5 use HDMI 2.1 for enhanced performance through the latest technologies like Variable Refresh Rate and Auto Low Latency Mode. HDMI 2.1 has been gaining support lately among gamers who wish to game on resolutions of up to 8K. They get to experience gaming on higher frame rates and improved HDR (High Dynamic Range) support. This is the best HDMI port for gaming if your gaming system supports it. If not, then HDMI 2.0 is still the best choice. Whichever HDMI port you choose, a good gaming experience starts with having the right equipment. Make sure that your monitor, graphics card, and HDMI cable are all compatible for the best gaming experience.
What is the Best HDMI Port for 4K?
For 4K, the available bandwidth of an HDMI port is critical to ensure the highest quality visuals and gameplay while gaming. There are currently two versions of HDMI available namely HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 that support 4K resolution. HDMI 2.0 supports UHD resolutions of up to 3840×2160 at 60 frames per second (FPS). However, it lacks support for HDR (High Dynamic Range) and other features that are becoming increasingly important as gaming over 4K is becoming more popular. HDMI 2.1, on the other hand, supports dual 4K resolutions of up to 7680×4320 at 120 FPS, as well as HDR and more advanced features such as variable refresh rates, which can help reduce input lag and improve overall gaming performance, especially in FPS games. If you are looking for the best HDMI port for 4K gaming, then HDMI 2.1 is a clear choice. It provides the highest quality visuals and performance, as well as support for the latest features.
What’s the Difference between ARC and eARC?
ARC (Audio Return Channel) is an audio focussed feature of the HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) protocol that allows an audio signal to be sent from a television to an audio-video receiver (AVR) or soundbar over a single HDMI cable. This feature is primarily used for sending audio from the television to an audio device, such as a soundbar, when the television is connected to the soundbar via HDMI. ARC supports compressed 5.1 audio channels and if you have an ear for good audio, you should probably route your TV audio through an external sound bar using the HDMI ARC port.
eARC (Enhanced Audio Return Channel) is an enhanced version of the original ARC technology and is a feature of the HDMI 2.1 protocol. It was designed to increase the maximum bandwidth and audio formats capable of being sent over an ARC connection. eARC supports features such as object-based audio, higher bitrates, and uncompressed lossless audio over 5.1 and 7.1 channels. eARC also supports audio transmission up to 32 channels, including Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and other object-based audio formats. With eARC lip sysnc correction is mandatory which previously used to be optional on HDMI ARC. This allows a user to experience a cinema-like experience in their living room. It also allows audio to be sent from a TV to an audio device with a single HDMI cable.
In conclusion, HDMI ports are a necessary and vital piece of technology that is essential in connecting many devices today. HDMI ports allow for improved image and audio quality and are an upgrade from outdated analog technology. HDMI is an affordable and reliable way to connect devices, making it the go-to for those who need to experience the best in audio and video. HDMI technology is constantly evolving and improving, so it is important to stay informed on the latest developments.