Home Theater "Premium" HDMI cables are coming, certified for 4K

Scorpus

TechSpot Staff
Staff member

If you want a HDMI cable that's capable of transmitting a 1080p signal, picking up a $4 cable from Amazon will probably suit you just fine. But if you're after a HDMI cable for your new 4K 60 Hz setup, there's a chance that the same $4 cable won't have enough bandwidth for the high-resolution HDMI 2.0 signal.

The high bandwidth requirements of 2160p60 is why the HDMI Licensing group are launching the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program. As the name suggests, this program will test and certify HDMI cables at an authorized testing center to ensure they can support the 18 Gbps signal needed for HDMI 2.0, without interfering with wireless signals.

Cables that pass the testing process can feature "HDMI Premium Certified Cable" branding on their packaging, and will carry "a tamper-proof, anti-counterfeit label to differentiate them from other HDMI cables." As this is super serious business, retailers and consumers will be able to scan the label using a mobile app to verify their authenticity.

It's not completely clear how much these "premium" HDMI cables will cost, but you can be sure that they'll cost a fair bit more than your standard cheap cable from Amazon. At least with the certification process you know these cables will be capable of transmitting 18 Gbps signals, so hopefully they won't just become the next Monster Cables.

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Camikazi

TS Evangelist
I'll take my chances with the $5 cables that they say are 4k capable, chances are they will work with or without the fancy label and if they don't it is just $5.
 

wiyosaya

TS Evangelist
Yeah.... no

I'm running 4k 60 Hz right now on a regular cheapo $9 HDMI cable
A "good" 4K cable probably only needs a large enough conductor size - no surprise, really, that a $9 cable would work.

On looking to add to the "fun" of high-cost cables, I found this on the Audioquest site http://www.audioquest.com/theory-education/about-hdmi-2/
Interestingly enough, quoting from that page
The HDMI 2.0 spec does NOT define or require new cables or connectors, according to the information the HDMI Forum has released so far. Although the testing specification for HDMI 2.0 has not yet been established, and there are no cables that can be officially labeled as “HDMI 2.0 Compliant,” HDMI has stated that all current High Speed cables are capable of transmitting 18 Gbps when used with HDMI 2.0 electronics at both ends, and are therefore compatible with all HDMI 2.0 features. This is accomplished using signal processing that will be employed in all HDMI 2.0 hardware. For compatibility with all HDMI 2.0 features, new cables are not required for customers with High Speed cables, including AudioQuest High Speed HDMI cables.
Surprisingly, from my standpoint, the king of over-priced cables, Audioquest, is stating that no new cables are required. This seems to make this new program BS designed so that manufacturers can siphon more money for the same cables out of the pockets of their customers.
 
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jobeard

TS Ambassador
If you have an HDMI cable already, by all means TRY IT FIRST :)

You might recall that when HDMI came out, we could commonly find three classes (and prices), Good, Better, Best, but in the final analysis it was all marketing hype and the lowest priced Good was just fine for all practical intents and purposes.

But you should understand EFI, radio wave propagation and wave reflection issues (and I'll not go into depth here). Surmise it to say that as the frequency gets higher, lots of things start to have strange effects with the signals. Wave reflection (bounce back from the far end back to the source) starts to occur and even the impedance changes.

According to http://www.audioholics.com/hdtv-formats/hdmi-2.0-specification
With new formats come new tools required to test and measure both televisions and broadcast signals. At this year's NAB several manufacturers confirmed that
  • HDMI 2.0 will enable content up to UHD (2160p resolution) at 60 frames per second with 10-bit or maybe even 12-bit color.
  • The current HDMI 1.4 specification tops out at 4K with 24 or 30 frames per second at 8-bit color.

Increasing the specification that far means that test and measurement equipment will need to support a lot more data. The spec is moving from 300MHz/900Gbps to about twice that at 600MHz/1800Gbps.
That's TWICE the frequency on the cable with 150% more data. So a true end-to-end 4k system should have more vivid color (12bits vs 8bits) and really great frame rates.
 
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