There are many HDMI cables, they all have the same connection and unlike USB where at least from the third generation we can identify them by color, but with the popular video interface this is not the case. That is why we teach you how to identify an HDMI 2.1 cable from the rest and what elements you have to look at.
Changes to HDMI 2.1 certification not only affect devices with the most popular video interface, but also the cables used to communicate video devices with their corresponding displays. And it is that not using the right cable means not having access to the improvements of said version of the standard with its full specifications, but it also means a lower bandwidth that brings with it a worse image quality, in the form of less resolution. , and even with less frame rate.
There is nothing worse than having a latest model monitor and a very powerful graphics card and finding that the image quality and the number of frames per second that they can display do not appear on the screen. All because of not having the right HDMI cable. Of course, first of all let’s see if you need a cable of this type or not and in case you need it we will teach you how to identify one and do not give you a pig in a poke.
When is an HDMI 2.1 cable needed?
If we look at it objectively, there are few resolutions that need an HDMI 2.1 cable to work. This is because the bandwidth for streaming video is calculated as follows:
Bandwidth for video = Information per pixel * number of pixels per frame * refresh rate or number of frames per second.
Where the information per pixel is the number of bits per component, depending on whether it is SDR or HDR. As for the number of pixels per frame, it is clear that it depends on their number, so if we talk about transmitting images at 4K we are going to need up to 4 times more bandwidth than transmitting the same image at 1080p and with the same refresh rate. This is why we only see HDMI 2.1 interfaces on monitors with very high resolutions, as they don’t require the 48 Gbps of bandwidth to transmit images.
However, there are a number of capabilities that are unrelated to resolution and that came with the HDMI 2.1 standard that require the corresponding cable to take advantage of. So if your monitor supports the full specification or part of it, you will need the corresponding cable.
Use the cable that comes with the device
If you have bought a monitor, a graphics card or a video game console compatible with the HDMI 2.1 standard, you will also get the corresponding cable. That is why we recommend that you always use said cable for said device and not move it from place to place. Many times it happens that we inadvertently swap cables from one device to another connected to our screen and end up connecting HDMI cables outside of their corresponding devices.
Our advice to avoid this? Try to label or leave a mark on certain cables to separate them from others and thus not lose them to have them well identified. Another method is to have the different cables classified when not in use. Although if we are honest, it is not a good idea to continuously connect and disconnect the cables from its connector due to the damage that the connector may suffer. So it is not a bad idea once we have the cable connected to the graphics card, the motherboard or the console to the monitor or television, then the best thing you can do is leave the cable if you are not going to move both devices from the site.
If you have ended up confusing the cables, another trick is to look for information on the product openings that are on the net or the corresponding exploded views. It seems silly, but it will help you to see which is the corresponding cable. You may also be lucky enough that the HDMI cable has the serigraphy of the device brand, so in those cases it will be much easier for you to identify which cable corresponds to.
How to identify an HDMI 2.1 cable?
The first thing you have to do is look for the certification label, which is the silver one with green letters and it says Ultra High Speed in green letters on a silver background. So if you need an HDMI 2.1 cable with all its functionality and bandwidth, it’s as easy as looking for this label on the product box.
In any case, we must take counterfeits into account, which is why each cable comes with a QR code that allows us to check the certification online using our mobile phone’s camera and the HDMI Cable Certification application that you can find on Google Play if you are an Android user or the App Store if you use an Apple device.
Another way to test it is by using devices that support resolutions and refresh rates that are only possible with version 2.1 and forcing them from their image options. If the device and the screen, despite the fact that they can support said version of the standard, cannot offer said configuration, then it is very possible that you are not facing the correct cable.
Nor do we have to forget that the longer a cable is, the worse it is for data transfer, since the HDMI cable, as it is not optical, means that if the length is very long, a resistance is created that limits the bandwidth that it can reach. At the moment there is no HDMI 2.1 cable with a length greater than 180 cm. So all cables with a longer length would not support the standard. Although in reality, according to the standard, there is no marked limit beyond 5 meters as a passive cable and it is not a reliable standard.
Types of HDMI cables
To finish we leave you the different types of cables available that you can find in the market. Where the HDMI connectors of type A, conventional and Mini-HDMI or known as type C have 19 pins in total. While Micro-HDMI usually bring half the bandwidth by having half the number of pins for data transfer. At the moment there are no mobile or pocket devices with full HDMI 2.1 certification because the type of cable they use does not reach the same data transfer speed.