The HDMI Forum announced today that it’s skipping right over version 1.5, 1.6, etc., and is releasing the Version 2.0 specification of the HDMI standard. HDMI 2.0 is interesting for two reasons. Firstly, it was the first HDMI specification developed by the HDMI Forum, which was established in 2011 by the HDMI Founders to ensure that interested companies had a say in the development of the HDMI spec. Secondly, it’s interesting because HDMI 2.0 features support for 4K at 50 and 60fps (thanks to its new 18Gbps bandwidth), which couldn’t come at a more important time for HDMI, since I’ve heard more than one manufacturer mention the possibility of a move to DisplayPort for next year’s Ultra HD TVs.
In addition to the increased video bandwidth, HDMI 2.0 also supports up to 32 channels of audio and features dynamic auto lip sync capabilities and updates to HDMI-CEC.
Here’s the kicker in the press release, though, and if you’ll forgive me, I’m going to bold it, italicize it, and up the font size a little:
Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification does not define new cables or new connectors. Current High Speed cables (category 2 cables) are capable of carrying the increased bandwidth.
Got that? Good.
The press release also mentions that the new HDMI 2.0 spec is backwards compatible with earlier versions, although it doesn’t spell out exactly what that means. If past revisions of the HDMI spec are any indication (and they almost certainly are), what that means is that if you get a new HDMI 2.0-equipped Blu-ray player and hook it up to an HDMI 1.4-compatible TV, it’ll still send picture and sound; you just won’t be able to access the high framerate 4K video, enhanced CEC capabilities, and so forth.
Representatives from HDMI Licensing, LLC will be on hand at IFA 2013 in Berlin this Friday to discuss the HDMI 2.0 spec.