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HDMI 2.0 and You (Part 1)

Part 1 - HDMI Compatibility

We receive a lot of questions about compatibility, many of which are about HDMI 2.0. Customers often want to know if our switches support HDMI 2.0, or are compatible with their HDMI 2.0 devices. Our switches are compatible with all HDMI 2.0 devices, but the reason is worth exploring.

Most HDMI devices, like Blu-ray players and TVs, support a specific version of HDMI. The version number tells you that the device supports a specific set of features. For HDMI 2.0, these features include CEC extensions, dual video streams, and 32-channel audio. Support for these features requires up-to-date chips and code on the devices being used, because the are actively participating in the creation and display of your video.

Same, in a Different Way

Switches are different. Switches don't participate in the creation or display of video, and they don't transform it as it passes through. In that sense, switches are much more like cables than they are like other HDMI devices. This can make it difficult for customers to determine what a switch will support, because determining what an HDMI cable will support is, in itself, a bit tricky.

HDMI cables do not have HDMI version numbers. There is no such thing as an HDMI 1.4 cable, or an HDMI 2.0 cable. In fact, HDMI LLC does not allow cable manufacturers to market cables using HDMI version numbers.

HDMI cables are rated by category. To qualify for a category, a cable must achieve a certain speed. This is the current line-up of HDMI cable categories, as of mid-2018:

Category Speed Name
Cat. 1 4.95Gbps Standard
Cat. 2 10.2Gbps High-Speed
18Gbps Premium*
Cat. 3 48Gbps Ultra High-Speed
*Premium certification means a Category 2 cable is
guaranteed to pass 18Gbps, but is not technically a category.

 

When it comes to cables and switches, everything depends on bandwidth. Different HDMI features don't require explicit support, but every feature you use adds data to the signal you're trying to pass through the switch. Stay tuned for our 3 part series coming over the next few weeks and months.