The update to HDMI 2.1a is coming – confusion in the standard is growing

HDMI as a standard interface in consumer electronics will receive another update in time for CES trade fair, which begins in the first week of the new year — which doesn’t quite make things better.

HDMI 2.1a is present in the starting blocks. Essentially, this release brings one entirely new feature: it complements the capabilities of existing HDMI 2.1 with what’s called source tone mapping (SBTM). Tone mapping is a technique that does not simply dim the brightness of the content in a linear manner. Instead, it is done more precisely, so that the content is better served at the end.

SBTM must now ensure, for example, that the Blu-ray player and TV are coordinated with each other. Because if the player has already scaled the brightness in the picture, the TV should not do it again because it could lead to severe deviations in picture quality. Gamers are already familiar with the process from HGiG technology, which is included in today’s game consoles.

More confusion

Even if standardization bodies stress that HDMI 2.1a is a particularly handy update because it can be modified with a firmware update, so to speak, it will contribute to the potential for confusion. This is because HDMI version numbers are not necessarily tied to a particular feature set. Instead, there is simply no longer the previous that appears in the newer versioning.

Currently, this means that it may be a good idea that a TV with the HDMI 2.1 logo only has HDMI 2.0 functionality. Accordingly, future devices marked with HDMI 2.1a will not automatically bring SBTM with them. Essentially, the consumer has to read in the small version of the product specification what exactly the desired system has to offer in terms of features – which in turn makes the standard labels a bit outdated, at least from a user’s point of view.

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See also:

Data transmission, cable, connection, HDMI, data transmission, port, communications, networking, high-definition multimedia interface, HDMI cable

Stan Shaw

<p class="sign">"Professional food nerd. Internet scholar. Typical bacon buff. Passionate creator."</p>

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