HDMI 2.1 Turns Your TVs into a Gaming Monitor

2020-12-16

Gaming can include the casual mobile gamer passing time on a bus all the way to hardcore enthusiasts with powerful gaming gear and demanding expectations. Determining the best game display depends on a lot of factors but for now, let’s focus on the enthusiast that knows tech specs and enjoys the full experience the most advanced games and hardware can provide.

Important developments have changed the way the gaming experience is defined. A major development is the impact that HDMI® gaming technology delivers with the latest HDMI 2.1 specification.

Up until now advanced gaming displays were associated with special gaming monitors. But now HDMI 2.1-enabled TVs can support powerful gaming features that allow the gaming experience to expand to the living room for immersive audio and visual; and smaller TV screen sizes can now be used on gaming desktops. And more PC monitors are launching with HDMI 2.1 gaming feature support too.

“Giving us the option to use TVs for extreme gaming changes everything. And with games supporting Dolby Atmos this is an easy way to get the maximum from the audio too.”

Gaming pro and HDMI Gaming Ambassad

HDMI 2.1-enabled TVs that support gaming have implemented Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low latency Mode (ALLM). 

VRR has been associated only with G-Sync and FreeSync but now with HDMI VRR-enabled TVs, monitors, graphics cards and gaming consoles, the benefits of VRR are more widely available. VRR reduces or eliminates lag, judder and frame tearing for more fluid and better detailed gameplay. VRR enables a gaming source such as a console or computer to deliver video frames as fast as it can, which in many cases is slower than the normal static refresh rate.

Auto Low Latency Mode enables the ideal latency setting to automatically be set allowing for smooth, lag-free and uninterrupted viewing and interactivity. In many cases this is referred to as game mode, and it usually has to be set manually which involves going through menus and settings and then switching back again for normal viewing. 

HDMI 2.1 also supports 8K@60Hz and 4K@120Hz, both of which are available in the market. Many TV manufacturers have launched 4K@120Hz TVs along with VRR and ALLM and are ready for advanced gaming right now. They also can support both static and dynamic HDR for enhanced game details with extended contrast range and expanded color spaces.

And don’t forget that audio is part of the complete gaming experience. HDMI 2.1 brings Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC) which supports up to 192kHz, 24-bit audio including support for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X. Many TVs have launched with eARC as have AVRs and soundbars, and several games support those advanced audio formats.

What’s the best HDMI cable for gaming? To make sure all the new HDMI 2.1 gaming features are supported you need the new Ultra High Speed HDMI® cable that supports all HDMI 2.1 features including 48Gbps bandwidth. Certified cables are required to display the Ultra High Speed HDMI® Certification Label so make sure you see that before purchasing.

Now with the Xbox Series X and Sony PlayStation 5 coming out soon, and powerful new graphics cards launching such as the GeForce RTX 3080, these HDMI 2.1 devices have an array of TVs, monitors and sound options available to really get the most out of their gaming capabilities. 

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