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HDMI 2.0 future-proofs your home theater for 4K video and 32-channel audio

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HDMI cable shutterstock
HDMI cable shutterstock

Slowly but surely, the world of 4K is opening up to consumers and creative professionals. And while 1080p content obviously won't be going anywhere for years, it's the job of the HDMI Forum (which oversees development of the all-important home theater standard) to anticipate and be ready for a shift to ultra high-resolution content. With that in mind, today the group announced the finalized HDMI 2.0 specification. Most people will never notice a difference between 2.0 and the previous 1.4 specification introduced in 2009 — at least not yet. But there are some key upgrades when it comes to 4K support.

With HDMI 2.0, overall bandwidth has been kicked up to 18Gbps, which makes it possible to display 4K content at 60 frames per second. (Currently, HDMI only supports UHD content at 30 or 24fps depending on resolution.) And whereas the current HDMI standard supports a maximum eight channels of audio, 2.0 ups that number to 32. The HDMI Forum had originally aimed to deliver this 2.0 spec last year, but sticking to that timeline clearly proved a challenge. Still, it's arriving just as 4K TVs and camcorders begin to trend downward in price — albeit at an extremely slow clip.