At the annual CES show in Las Vegas, the new HDMI 2.1 specification has been announced.
Video transmission requires ever more bandwidth to deal with increased resolution (8K), framerates (4K at 120Hz etc.) and technologies such as further development of high dynamic range.
HDMI 2.1 is backwards compatible and makes use of the same connectors, but has a huge increase in bandwidth from 18Gbps to a whopping 48Gbps.
Whilst I feel it unlikely that we will see much 8K hardware for quite some time in the residential marketplace, and even less likely that we will see content at that resolution, the push for ever higher framerates will drive bandwidth requirements for 4K (especially when combined with HDR).
What does it mean for system designers and installers? Well, with the struggles many are seeing with HDMI cables trying to push 18Gbps even relatively modest distances, we all need to really look towards fibre for infrastructure more and more I believe.
The costs and expertise required to terminate fibre are becoming less of a challenge and I do think it is now almost essential to include fibre in any infrastructure project.
Manufacturers such as Crestron have fibre solutions for video distribution and I do think this will be the preferred distribution medium for these new resolutions/framerates. There will be copper solutions for HDMI 2.1 I have no doubt, but I think that fibre will become default.
Press release here.