HDMI specifications haven’t changed for some time, which is a good thing. Every time a change in technology or some new technical specification come about there is usually a flurry of activity by manufacturers to gain market share by touting the latest and the bestest.

So after ten confusing HDMI specification updates, the last of which was ver 1.4, it is good news indeed to learn that HDMI 2.0 does not require any cable change. The current high speed HDMI cables (or Cat 2) will be able to carry all the increased signal and bandwidth upgrades of HDMI 2.0. Cable manufacturers are now required to label HDMI cables according to cable type, i.e. Standard, High Speed, or High Speed with Ethernet.

Types of HDMI cables

Types of HDMI cables

According to the recent press release by the HDMI forum, ver 2.0 is backwards compatible with earlier versions of the HDMI specification. It significantly increases bandwidth up to 18Gbps and adds major enhancements for higher video and audio resolution bandwidth.

Here is a summary of the HDMI 2.0 specs and features:

  • Increased bandwidth up to 18Gbps
  • Resolutions up to 4K@50/60 (2160p), which is 4 times the clarity of 1080p/60 video resolution
  • Up to 32 audio channels for a multi-dimensional immersive audio experience
  • Up to 1536kHz audio sample frequency for the highest audio fidelity
  • Simultaneous delivery of dual video streams to multiple users on the same screen
  • Simultaneous delivery of multi-stream audio to multiple users (Up to 4)
  • Support for the wide angle theatrical 21:9 video aspect ratio
  • Dynamic synchronization of video and audio streams
  • CEC extensions provide more expanded command and control of consumer electronics devices through a single control point

It is good timing that HDMI 2.0 will arrive just in time as 4K Ultra HD TV hits the stores.

New technologies such as 4K Ultra HD in HDTVs, projectors and Blu-ray players put new demands and high video bandwidth on cables. But how do you know if your home theater equipment is outputting the highest signal resolution? Well the latest Monster latest line of ISF Certified ‘Smart’ HDMI cables have glowing signal indicators that show you if the cable is sending a standard definition, HD, or 4K video signal. This innovative feature eliminates guesswork when connecting your 4K capable components together.

Monster Smart HDMI Cable with Signal Indicators

Monster Smart HDMI Cable with Signal Indicators

But these cables do not come cheap. The top model costs more than most blu-ray players! They are priced from $60 to $350 in varying lengths between 5 to 75 feet with three transfer speeds: ISF 2000 (21 Gbps), ISF 1250 (17.8 Gbps); and the ISF 750 (14.3 Gbps). They are supposed to give you the best signal quality and solve one of the most pressing issues in video signal transfer over a poorly hatched HDMI standard. So Monster came out with their proprietary solution in the form of a V-Grip connector that increases the retention force of the HDMI cable for a more reliable connection. Bear in mind that HDMI cables do not like being bent as signal timing is critical. If you have a long cable run, twists and turns can degrade performance.

So the big question is do you need to spend this much for cables? Well it depends on your system setup and budget. If you have a 150 inch screen in a dedicated home theater room with high-end equipment you may want to give this a serious consideration as Monster has a lifetime guaranteed for whatever technology that comes along in future as well as cable failure. It’s the only guarantee of its kind in the industry we’ve heard off. This in itself is worth the price of entry.