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HDMI 2.0a – the brand new standard in HDMI

What is HDMI 2.0a?

HDMI Licensing has announced a new upgrade to the HDMI standard, releasing the specifications for HDMI 2.0a. This is for the latest releases of today’s 4K Ultra HD TVs, and will aid in delivering and displaying High dynamic range (HDR) mastered content.

From RF cables to composite Video, Scart to S-Video and Component to HDMI – we constantly have to evolve and upgrade the cables connecting our equipment to our TVs. This can be irritating for some people. Have you ever walked into your local retailer to replace your broken TV with a new one – and found that half of your old equipment doesn’t connect to it anymore? As installers we are faced with this everyday, and while it can be annoying it is essential if we are to keep pushing the boundaries of quality. Of all the cables mentioned above – the biggest upgrade was the introduction of HDMI.

HDMI introduced us to the world of High Definition, and the superior quality that came with it. Recently, we have seen a new standard of TV quality fill the store’s shelves called 4K, or Ultra-High Definition (See our article here). Just like the introduction of Blu-Ray needed a HDMI cable to truly appreciate the quality of it’s content, today’s 4K Ultra HD TVs needed an upgrade of the HDMI standard to receive and display HDR Content. This upgrade is HDMI 2.0a.

Now, the HDMI Forum has rolled out a significant upgrade to the standard, releasing the finalised HDMI 2.0a specification that will allow today’s latest 4K Ultra HD TVs to receive and display HDR-mastered content.

So what will this upgrade actually improve?

HDMI 2.0a allows us to view images with a much higher level of Contrast performance, and a much wider reproduction of shades between true black and Pure White (Shades of gradation). Having such an improvement in the Shades of Gradation brings LCD TVs yet another step closer to replicating the contrast performance we had from plasma, giving us a smoother, much more natural looking picture.

This marked improvement in picture quality is very easily noticed by consumers, even more so than the actual difference in resolution between Full-HD and Ultra-HD. For this reason, 4K TV manufacturers like Samsung, LG and Sony as well as content creators are very eager to advance HDR sooner rather than later.

For those who rushed in and purchased a 4K Ultra HD TV as soon as they were released, don’t worry to much, you may not need to now go and buy a brand new 4K TV to replace your existing one. There will very likely be firmware / software upgrades available very soon. Samsung TV owners with Evolution Kits take note. Some of the very newest release TVs, such Samsung’s JS9500 SUHD 4K Ultra HD TV, comes with built-in HDR compatibility, but a HDMI 2.0a spec-update for HDR should make normal 4K TVs capable of managing High Dynamic Range in their content.


For more information about HDMI technology, please visit http://www.hdmi.org.

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