Do You Need Special Cables for 4K TV?
When it comes down to 4K TV, you do not need to pick up special HDMI cables. In other words, don’t immediately toss out your old HDMI cables for the newest HDMI 2.0a or 2.1. The HDMI cable standard can impact color and resolution, but newer versions are not required for 4K TV.
HDMI cable labeling has become more confusing than it needs to be with manufacturers selling overpriced cables to unsuspecting customers. So, what you do need to do is to learn about the different types of HDMI cable and their potential benefits. They all support 4K TV, but they do support it differently.
How HDMI Cables Work
All HDMI cables are basically the same in that no matter what version you have, they connect an audio/video source device (media player) to your TV. It allows a signal to be sent from your media player to your TV.
HDMI Standards: 1.4, 2.0, 2.0a & 2.1
There are a few variations of HDMI cables out there. Any HDMI cable that is certified as “standard” is tested to transmit 1080i or 720p video. Here is a breakdown on what the difference is between them and what each one supports.
HDMI 1.4: If you want your HDMI cables to support 4K resolution, you need to make sure that they are High-Speed HDMI cables. They are tested to transmit video resolutions from 1080p to 4K with a richer color palette. With or without HDR, you need High-Speed HDMI cables. There is a Premium certification as well, but it is completely optional.
HDMI 2.0: This enhancement allows everything that HDMI 1.4 offers, except it offers an increased bandwidth and the ability to present a wider variety of colors. HDMI 2.0 is certified to have a bandwidth of 18 Gigabits per second which supports 4K resolution at 60 FPS (frames per second).
HDMI 2.0a: HDMI 2.0a offers all previous enhancements with different types of HDR. This enhanced cable allows for richer and more vibrant color. It is noticeable compared to the HDMI 1.4 and 2.0; however, you do not need this cable in order to support 4K. It all depends on what you want the resolution to be.
HDMI 2.1: Lastly, HDMI 2.1 cables enable dynamic HDR, faster refresh rates and a much higher bandwidth than any of the previous.
The trend with these enhancements changes the resolution, color and bandwidth; however it does not change whether or not you can support 4K. So, when it comes to deciding which cables to rely on, it comes down to viewing preference. When it comes down to it, all High-Speed cables should perform about the same no matter which version of the certification standards were in place when a cable was certified.