HDMI Cable Buying Guide
HDMI (High Definition Multimedia Interface) technology is the leading digital video, audio and data interface that connects high-definition displays to a wide range of devices. HDMI cables send audio, video and control signals over a single cable to simplify your setup and are often the only way to make an HD-capable connection.
Advantages of HDMI
- Single-cable convenience to simplify connectivity
- Superb digital picture and premium audio quality
- Ethernet connectivity between compatible devices
- Ease-of-use through Audio Return Channel (ARC)
History of HDMI
HDMI is the accepted universal connection for digital home entertainment. HDMI version 1.0 was introduced in December of 2002 and since that time there have been 13 revisions. The standard continues to evolve due to the advancement of technology in high-performance equipment.
All versions of HDMI are backward compatible with the previous versions. However, the cable can only pass the video quality and audio formats that are mutually supported. Thus, if you connect a 4K HDR TV with a 1.4 HDMI cable, the system will be limited by the 1.4 feature set. You will see a significant drop in picture quality as well as a limited audio experience.
The 4K HDR TV is widely considered the baseline standard in the AV market today. Most people do not know what version of HDMI cable they have at home, but if it is a couple years old then there is a very good chance it will not support 4K HDR. TV and Audio manufacturers design their equipment to work with all cable types, including low-quality cables, to ensure you would get picture and sound. The problem with that philosophy is you, the customer, will not get the full video and audio experience that you have paid for with your equipment. Do not compromise your picture and sound quality; look for the HDMI 2.0 premium certification label on your cable's packaging. If it is not certified, or rated lower than HDMI 2.0, you need to upgrade your cable when you buy a new 4K HDR TV.
Latest Versions of HDMI and HDMI Certification
It is important that cables and devices work together seamlessly and trouble free. HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc is recognized as the source of cable information. The independent organization licenses the HDMI specifications and enforces compliance through its authorized certification programs.
The HDMI 2.0b specification includes a host of quality improvements from its previous versions. Most notably, a bandwidth of 18 Gigabits per second (Gbps), 4K resolution at 60 frames per second (fps), and HDR compatibility.
The Premium HDMI® Cable Certification Program adds testing and certification to ensure support of these 4K features. The program requires packaging to display the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Label for verification of compliance. With more 4K content being distributed, a certified cable is the only way to assure optimal performance.
The new HDMI 2.1 specification, a major upgrade to HDMI 2.0, includes an increase in bandwidth capability to 48 Gbps to support resolutions up to 10K and 8K@60fps, as well as 4K HD@120fps, and Dynamic HDR. The specification was released in November 2017; however, the first compatible devices and cables are just now becoming available. The new Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cable Certification Program is mandatory to ensure quality cables that support 4K and 8K video, HDR, VRR, eARC and all the other HDMI 2.1 features reach the market. As with the Premium Certification, certified cables will be required to display the Ultra High Speed HDMI Certification Label on the packaging.
To learn more about the official HDMI® cable certification programs visit HDMI.org.
At Austere, we exclusively use the HDMI Cable Certification Programs and prioritize providing our customers with products designed with today’s most advanced specifications. Our III Series and V Series 4K HDMI cables are Premium Certified at the 1.5m and 2.5m lengths, ensuring they meet the standards set by HDMI. Our extended length HDMI products are also specially designed to meet or exceed the HDMI premium certification standards. Austere 8K HDMI cables were carefully designed by our product development team to meet the specifications for the new certification. e are in the final stages of having our 8K cables fully certified.
How many cables do I need?
Investing in the correct quantity and high-quality HDMI cables is the best way to ensure peak performance of each component in your home theater system. At a minimum you will need one HDMI cable to connect your HDTV to a media source. As your system becomes more complex, you will need an additional HDMI cable for each HD compatible device.
Spending the time to think about how many connections your system will have is a fundamental step in setting up your home theater. We hope these sample setups help you decide how many cables you need.
For any 4K system, we recommend you use the latest version of Premium Certified HDMI cables from a brand you can trust to achieve the picture and sound quality you expect from your television and devices.