HDMI 2.1 spec announced with Dynamic HDR and 8K support

The HDMI Forum has unveiled a new HDMI 2.1 specification and it comes with a load of upgrades including support for both very high resolutions and high frame rates.

With the newly announced spec, you’ll be able to watch 4K at a full 120Hz, and 8K at 60Hz, though there’s a while to wait until 8K sets become widely available.

On top of that, HDMI 2.1 allows for 8K with HDR, or high dynamic range, as long as you hook everything up using 48Gbps cables.

Watch: HDMI 1.4 vs 2.0 vs. 2.1

Related: CES 2017

Of course, there are several other upgrades that don’t require an 8K set. The standard comes with Dynamic HDR support, which will optimise colours in each scene, and even each individual frame.

That should mean the display constantly adapts to produce the best picture possible at each moment, with each scene or frame being displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast and wider colour gamuts.

What’s more, HDMI 2.1 and its cabling are backward compatible but manufacturers will take a while to start integrating the new specification into their products.

The HDMI Forum has also added Game Mode VRR support, which allows for variable refresh rates and reduces screen tearing and input lag when gaming.

This new Game mode spec, which is similar to the G-Sync and FreeSync technologies already available, will also apparently work with both PCs and consoles.

And finally, there’s built-in support for object-based audio, which means you’ll be able to use the new cables and ports with Dolby Atmos sound and alike.

Related: What is Dolby Atmos?

Object-based audio such as this expands the previous 5.1 and 7.1 setups to include numerous speakers which are placed around a room to create an all-enveloping, “3D” sound experience.

While numerous TVs have also been announced at CES, none have yet been confirmed as coming with the new HDMI 2.1 standard, so we’ll have to wait for more detailed specs.

HDMI 2.1 will be released in the second quarter of 2017, but it will take a while for products that come with the new spec to arrive.

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Let us know what you think of the new standard in the comments.

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