Published on 3rd Oct, 2019 by Cable Chick

Are You Using the Wrong HDMI Cable?

Are You Using the Wrong HDMI Cable?

If you've upgraded to a 4K television but haven't replaced your HDMI cables in years, you might be missing out on some great new features - especially if you have long cable runs or in-wall HDMI installations.
Chances are you're running a 'High Speed' branded HDMI cable. High Speed HDMI cables have been around for a long time now, enjoying long-term service on TVs, computer monitors, games consoles, Blu-ray players, home theatre receivers and more. A High Speed HDMI cable from the past decade would have a 10.2Gbps transmission rate, and that's great for all your HDMI 1.2, 1.3 and 1.4 hardware.

But HDMI 2.0 has moved the bandwidth goalposts, and requires that cables achieve a 18Gbps transmission rate. They still call these cables 'High Speed', but a 76% increase in transmission rate is a big hurdle. In the fineprint, HDMI are recommending cables be around the 3 metre mark to ensure full compatibility with all HDMI 2.0 features - a far cry from the 20 metre cable installed in your ceiling!

If you are chasing features like 4K@60Hz, HDR, Deep Colour, Dolby Atmos and other HDMI 2.0 exclusives, you'll absolutely need new HDMI cables which are up to the 18Gbps task. Even something as simple as enjoying PS4 Pro titles to their fullest potential will require a proper 18Gbps-ready cable.

How Do I Find 18Gbps HDMI Cables?

Some manufacturers have already gone beyond the HDMI recommended length and developed 18Gbps cables up to at least 10 metres. The easiest way to find these cables is to look for Premium Certified High Speed HDMI cables, as these have passed official testing guidelines to ensure they measure up. Other non-certified cables can still achieve this speed, but you need to look at their spec sheet to make sure they hit the mark at your required length. When it comes to Cable Chick's HDMI Cable range, you can relax knowing that all of our HDMI Cables up to 5m support 18GBps bandwidth for 4K video.

For consumers who are unable to hook up their system with short cables, there are a few options. The most powerful solution is to invest in Active Optical HDMI Cables which offer the full 18Gbps data rate by using fibre optical cores for the fast data (video/audio) and copper lines for slow data (HDCP, DDC, CEC, ARC). AOC "Hybrid Fibre" cables are an expensive option, but are currently the only way to get full HDMI 2.0 feature sets at lengths greater than 10m (and all the way up to 100m!).

The cheaper fallback option is to just get the best quality non-Premium High-Speed HDMI cable at your desired length and then just hope for the best. In some cases this will be enough to accommodate one or two special features that don't require significantly more bandwidth, such as running HDR content but at 30Hz instead of 60Hz, but it will always offer less than a faster cable.

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