Throw that new 4K TV into the garbage -- 10K is here thanks to HDMI 2.1

This holiday season, many consumers are buying 4K televisions -- and rightly so. Look, UHD offers significant improvements over 1080p, while prices for these displays are at all-time lows. If you need a television, it would be foolish not to get a 4K variant at this time.

What if I told you that 4K was old news? It’s true. While UHD is hardly obsolete -- it will be around for a very long time -- the future is starting to emerge.  You see, today, the HDMI Forum releases the next standard -- HDMI 2.1. This will not only allow 10K video content, but 8K @ 60Hz and 4K @ 120Hz. This won’t just benefit movie playback either -- gamers will be big winners once hardware catches up.

"Supporting the 48Gbps bandwidth is the new Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable. The cable ensures high-bandwidth dependent features are delivered including uncompressed 8K video with HDR. It features exceptionally low EMI (electro-magnetic interference) which reduces interference with nearby wireless devices. The cable is backwards compatible and can be used with the existing installed base of HDMI devices," says HDMI Forum.

The forum also shares, "Version 2.1 of the HDMI Specification is backward compatible with earlier versions of the specification, and was developed by the HDMI Forum’s Technical Working Group whose members represent some of the world’s leading manufacturers of consumer electronics, personal computers, mobile devices, cables and components."

The HDMI Forum lists the following significant features of version 2.1.

  • Higher video resolutions support a range of high resolutions and faster refresh rates including 8K60Hz and 4K120Hz for immersive viewing and smooth fast-action detail. Resolutions up to 10K are also supported for commercial AV, and industrial and specialty usages.
  • Dynamic HDR support ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast and wider color gamuts -- on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis.
  • The Ultra High Speed HDMI Cable supports the 48G bandwidth for uncompressed HDMI 2.1 feature support. The cable also features very low EMI emission and is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI Specification and can be used with existing HDMI devices.
  • eARC simplifies connectivity, provides greater ease of use, and supports the most advanced audio formats and highest audio quality. It ensures full compatibility between audio devices and upcoming HDMI 2.1 products.
  • Enhanced refresh rate features ensure an added level of smooth and seamless
    motion and transitions for gaming, movies and video. They include:
    Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) reduces or eliminates lag, stutter and frame tearing for more fluid and better detailed gameplay.
    Quick Media Switching (QMS) for movies and video eliminates the delay that can result in blank screens before content is displayed.
    Quick Frame Transport (QFT) reduces latency for smoother no-lag gaming, and real-time interactive virtual reality.
  • Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) allows the ideal latency setting to automatically be set allowing for smooth, lag-free and uninterrupted viewing and interactivity.

Should you throw away your 4K TV? No, of course not. It will be many years before consumer televisions featuring such an insane 10K resolution will be available. If and when they do hit stores, they will be wildly expensive and likely won’t have much content. Hell, Apple TV 4K can’t even play UHD YouTube yet. Steaming 10K would also eat up a lot of bandwidth.

Where 10K, 8K60, and 4K120 will pop up first, however, will be on enthusiast computers. HDMI 2.1 will usher in very expensive monitors and GPUs that photographers, videographers, and early adopters will desire.

Are you excited for 10K and HDMI 2.1? Tell me about it in the comments below.

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