HDMI 2.0 specifications have just been released by the HDMI Forum’s technical working group. Most importantly, HDMI 2.0’s extra bandwidth of up to 18Gbps will allow 4K (2160p) pictures at 50Hz and 60Hz frame rates (3,840 x 2,160 resolution video at up to 60fps), which is four times the clarity of existing 1080p at 60Hz video resolution. The new functionality also includes 32 audio channels, dynamic auto lip-sync and extensions to the Consumer Electronics Control (CEC).
“The introduction of the HDMI 2.0 specification represents a major milestone for the HDMI Forum," said Robert Blanchard of Sony Corporation, president of the HDMI Forum. "Our members collaborated closely to take the highly successful HDMI Specification to the next level by expanding audio and video features for consumer electronics applications.”
HDMI 2.0 is backwardly compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specifications and does not require new connectors. Existing Cat 2 (high speed) cables are also quite capable of handling the increased bandwidth, so there's no need to go out and replace existing kit when that new 4K TV arrives.
HDMI.org highlights a few other significant facts about the new specification including, “up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity and simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen.” It also offers simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio output to a maximum of four users, and support for a 21:9 theater/cinema style video aspect ratio.
The new HDMI 2.0 spec was accidentally leaked when details of Panasonic’s first-ever consumer-grade Ultra HD TV were prematurely displayed on one of its US websites. The HDMI specifications were initially going to be released at a press conference organized by the HDMI Licensing Group, scheduled to take place at IFA this Friday.
The HDMI Forum has selected HDMI Licensing, LLC to be the licensing agent for version 2.0 and provide marketing, promotional and administrative services whilst educating retailers and consumers on the benefits of the new specifications.
Although a year late, the timing of the HDMI 2.0 introduction is appropriate for the impending plethora of 4K device announcements and the commencement of 4K broadcasts expected in 2014.