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10 Things You Need to Know About HDMI 2.0

September heralded an announcement by of a brand new HDMI standard: HDMI 2.0. Of course, this leaves everyone scrambling to make sure their equipment is up-to-date and compatible with the new standard. Here are the ten key points you should take away from the upcoming release.

1. 18 Gbps Bandwidth

The main function of the increased bandwidth (previous versions maxed out at 10.2 Gbps) is to carry 4Kx2K 2160p resolutions.

2. Transmission of 2160p Video Resolutions

The HDMI 2.0 standard will support 4Kx2K Ultra HD resolutions up to 60fps, providing four times the clarity of 1080p video. This also ensures full 3D support for 4K resolutions and higher frame-rate 2D video. 

3. Supports up to 32 Audio Channels calls this the "multi-dimensional immersive audio experience". This is probably way more capability than most of us will ever use, but will come in handy for audio professionals and enthusiasts not satisfied with 7.1 surround sound.

4. Up to 1536kHz Audio Sample Frequency

The HDMI Forum describes this as the "highest audio fidelity", but humans cannot detect a difference above 60kHz, so this likely falls into the same realm as the 32 audio channels - more of a benefit for audio professionals.

5. Simultaneous Delivery of Dual Video Streams

This means multiple users can be on the same screen at the same time, watching two separate video streams. Or one user watching multiple streams, if you're a multitasker.

6. Supports Wide Angle 21:9 Theatrical Aspect Ratio

Because we all know bigger is better.

7. Dynamic Audio/Video Lip-Sync Synchronization

HDMI 2.0 will automatically keep your video and audio in check when it comes to different video processing times, so there won't be any need for manual adjustments.

8. Expanded Device Control Using a Single Control Point

HDMI 2.0 uses CEC extensions to provide expanded command control. This means fewer remote controls to lose in the couch cushions.

9. Fully Backwards Compatible

Just like previous HDMI releases, the 2.0 standard is fully backwards compatible with any previous standards. Your existing equipment will work fine with newer 2.0 compliant devices.

10. You do not need new cables to take advantage of the HDMI 2.0 standard.

I repeat: You do not need new HDMI cables to take advantage of HDMI 2.0. The HDMI 2.0 standard applies to devices. Any current High Speed HDMI cables will carry the increased bandwidth without any problems. It uses the same connectors, as well. And there you have it. You can rest assured your older equipment and cables will work fine with the shiny new HDMI 2.0 devices expected to flood the market in 2014. Invest more in the device and have confidence in your cheap HDMI cable.
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