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What Are the Enhancements of HDMI 2.1 and What Is the Benefit for Me?

You’ve been recently reading here about what HDMI 2.1 is and why you need it. You want to be on top of everything and get a more detailed insight into this hot topic for home theater enthusiasts like you? Let’s go deeper into the improvements HDMI 2.1 offer.

Denon Staff

You’ve been recently reading here about what HDMI 2.1 is and why you need it. Do you want to be on top of everything and get a more detailed insight into this hot topic for home theater enthusiasts like you? Let’s go deeper into the improvements HDMI 2.1 offers.

Best Picture Resolution and High Frame Rate (HFR)

HDMI 2.1 allows for higher resolutions like 8K and higher frame rates of up to 120 frames per second (fps). Resolution improves the clarity and sharpness of the picture, which means you can see more details and have less distance to the screen or a bigger screen without noticing any pixels. Higher refresh rates provide smoother, better-looking games or movies with a sharp motion. The movie “Gemini Man” gives a short outlook on that. Recorded with 120 fps (frames per second), the Ultra HD Blu-ray was one of the first with 60fps (instead of the usual 24fps) supporting the breathtaking action scenes in this movie. HDMI 2.1 now allows 4K resolution up to 120 fps and for 8K, it supports up to 60Hz.


Get the Best Color and Contrast with Dynamic HDR

HDMI 2.1 introduces additional High Dynamic Range formats, in particular, Dynamic HDR metadata were defined. While static HDR like the well-established HDR10 (from UHD Blu-ray Discs, Netflix or other streaming services) or HLG allows to set the maximum and the minimum luminance of a whole show or movie, dynamic metadata can define this per frame or scene. This allows for even more graduation steps between the darkest and the brightest color in a movie. Previously available already via Dolby Vision, HDMI 2.1 now officially adds support for other formats like HDR10+ and a Technicolor Dynamic HDR format.

Get the best audio quality available from your TV apps and devices connected to your TV with Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)

The Audio Return Channel (ARC) was introduced with HDMI 1.4 and allows to transport the sound from the TV back to the AVR via the same HDMI cable which transports the picture from the AVR to the TV. Originally the bandwidth for this channel was limited so that only compressed and reduced or only stereo format could be transferred. Now, the Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) can transport uncompressed and full-resolution audio over HDMI 2.1 connections. As a result, you can enjoy Dolby Atmos sound from the integrated TV apps or listen to untouched High Definition or 3D sound from all devices connected to your TV via HDMI. Finally, lip sync correction is now mandatory, so that you have picture and sound perfectly in sync.

More watching, less waiting. Say goodbye to blank screens using Quick Media Switching (QMS)

Are you tired of the blank screen that occurs when you select a movie? Depending on the equipment you have, this may take up to 15 seconds to re-synchronize the source with the TV just because the frame rate of the content changed. QMS - if implemented in source and sink will smoothly switch between content with different frame rates. Goodbye – blank screen.

Beside the enhancements that improve picture and sound quality as well as usability, HDMI 2.1 also includes long awaited features for console gamers.

Reduce Tearing and Improve Clarity with Variable Refresh Rate (VRR):

HDMI 2.1 can support higher frame rates for smoother video, but it also allows variable frame rates. Modern PC and console games do not use one single frame rate throughout the game. It varies, sometimes by quite a lot depending on the complexity of the scene and the capabilities of the processor in the gaming devices GPU (Graphics Processing Unit). If the rendering speed of the GPU varies, there is a mismatch between what the game is providing and what the TV is set to display. With the new HDMI 2.1 feature, the rate of a display is synchronized with the image output of a GPU to avoid frame tearing or input lag, leading to a smooth, artifact-free gaming experience.

Get a jump on the competition with Quick Frame Transport (QFT):

This feature reduces the time it takes for a frame of video to transport from a source (like a PC or game console) to a display (a TV or VR/Virtual Reality headset). If source and display are supporting this feature, the pictures will always be sent in a high frame rate independent of the GPU speed or display rate allowing for immediate transport when a frame is ready from the GPU. Gamers will notice much less lag, especially those who like fast-action first-person shooters. VR will benefit from an equally reduced time between movements and the world presented through the goggles.

Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM):

ALLM lets a TV or other display know when a game is played. When this happens, the display and the AVR / soundbar will automatically turn off any unnecessary picture processing that could introduce latency or lag. You will never have to select Game Mode on your TV manually.

This year’s new Denon AVRs are the industry’s first 8K-ready AV Receivers, enabling you to design an advanced 4K home theater today with 8K specifications on tap for when it’s time to upgrade.

Explore the new X Series now

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