This article is sponsored by National Product Review.
With a new generation of consoles now just over the horizon, you may be hearing some chatter around HDMI 2.1, so what’s all that about?
If you’re super new to TV tech, HDMI stands for High-Definition Multimedia Interface, which is an audio/video interface for transferring data. For the layman, it’s the connection a TV or monitor uses to talk to consoles, DVD players, etc. The type of HDMI being used will dictate the maximum resolution and refresh rate you can view.
Most current TVs use HDMI 2.0, which can deliver a 4K resolution at a maximum of 60 frames per second (FPS), which is fine for current-gen gaming but won’t deliver the full advantages of the Xbox Series X, PlayStation 5 or RTX 3080 if you’re hooking up a PC.
With HDMI 2.1, you can access a 4K resolution at 120 FPS, along with some other handy features. It can automatically set your TV to game mode thanks to something called Auto Low Latency Mode, which is triggered when a console or graphics card is detected to reduce input lag.
But most importantly, HDMI 2.1 supports Variable Refresh Rate, which is crucial when it comes to preventing screen tearing — a jaunty visual defect that occurs when a display is out of sync with the video source.
You can see what I mean in an example video below.
The Variable Refresh Rate of HDMI 2.1 allows the TV to match the console or PC’s frame rate so you get smooth visuals with no tearing. Lastly, it also supports eARC, or Enhanced Audio Return Channel, which provides higher levels of audio bandwidth for soundbars or other audio setups.
Of course, you’ll still be able to play next-gen games on TVs or monitors with older HDMI ports, but it might not look or feel as good as it’s meant to. There aren’t a lot of TVs with HDMI 2.1 on the market right now, but you can absolutely pick one up if you’re keen.
Samsung’s Q70T, Q80T and Q95T series all feature HDMI 2.1, but if you’re really looking to future proof yourself, the Samsung Q800T 8K TV will sort you out for a good while. It features 8K AI up-scaling capabilities that can restore picture details not present before, Anti-Glare and Direct Full Array Elite technology for better contrast and more depth, even in bright rooms and Object Tracking Sound technology for accurate 3D sound placement.
A worth upgrade for the next generation of gaming. You can read more about the TV here.