The end of the messy cable trails for home theater enthusiasts may be in sight, following an amendment to the new HDMI 2.1a standard that allows for a new way to send power through a cable.
Until now, those running passive cables from their TVs or receivers longer than 3m/10ft have often experienced signal degradation or stability issues when viewing higher-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 content.
The only options for anyone looking to watch content that needs a full 48Gbps from an Ultra High Speed rated cable – think movies with Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos in TrueHD or 8K content – was to mount an active HDMI 2.1 cable with power independent of another cable attached.
That all changes with the new HDMI 2.1a Amendment 1 specification released yesterday by the HDMI Licensing certification body.
The review includes a feature called “Cable Power”, which will allow source devices such as game consoles and streaming boxes to provide additional power, allowing longer HDMI cables to maintain a strong signal.
Both your cable and source devices will need to support Cable Power for it to work, and you’ll also need to make sure your cable is plugged in the right way, as the feature only works in one direction.
For those concerned that existing hardware may not be able to use the feature, the good news is that Cable Power compatible cables are configured to offer optional USB Micro-B or Type-C connectors for source devices, allowing them to utilize the extra power that will be made available.
The bad news is that the feature will likely require special chips in the source devices to work, meaning your existing equipment is unlikely to be compatible via a firmware update.
But that means if you want to use one of the best AV receivers in a room to feed video to the collection of 4K and 8K TVs, you are spread out over 3 meters throughout the house, now you can.
Analysis: Another major barrier to 8K and 120Hz is broken down
From richer, uncompressed 4K Blu-Ray movies to faster frame rates and the sonic majesty of Dolby Atmos in TrueHD, we’ve been highlighting the game-changing benefits of HDMI 2.1 some time ago on .
Taking advantage of all that goodness has been easy enough if you’ve got a simple TV or PC setup, but if your hardware needs to be placed further away from the screen – particularly for those using projectors – you’re unlikely to be able to fully immerse yourself in the world that 48 Gbps cables opened.
With 8K video and 4K 120Hz gaming now poised to enter the mainstream and even more demands being placed on bandwidth, the new Power Cable feature is very timely.
The only real downside of the news is the likelihood of needing new hardware to reap the benefits that HDMI 2.1ae Cable Power brings, with the news likely to annoy high-end console owners who want to experience higher framerate games at long running games. run cable settings. But perhaps the long-standing PS5 Pro will include this feature as standard.