Info and Answers
When Do You Need High Speed HDMI?
We outline four types of cables and when each is necessary for 1080p.
January 28, 2010 by Jason Knott

In an attempt to minimize confusion surrounding HDMI 1.4, HDMI Licensing LLC has created a four-category labeling system. There previously were only two types of HDMI cables:

Standard HDMI Cable: Supports up to 720p/1080i up to bandwidth of 2.25Gbps.

High Speed HDMI Cable: Supports 1080p or higher, including 3D or 4k/2k, up to bandwidth of 10.2Gbps.

But with the introduction of HDMI 1.4, there are two new cables:

Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet: Supports up to 720p/1080i supporting up to a total uncompressed bandwidth of 2.25Gbps. Adds support for HDMI Ethernet Channel (up to 100Mbps).

High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet: Supports 1080p or higher up to an uncompressed bandwidth of 10.2Gbps. Adds support for HDMI Ethernet Channel (up to 100Mbps).

Only home theaters with Internet connections will require an HDMI cable with Ethernet. All other existing cables support the remaining features of HDMI 1.4.

“With HDMI 1.4, only the Ethernet Channel requires a new upgraded cable,” reiterates Jeff Park, technology evangelist for HDMI Licensing LLC. “That is only exception that requires a new cable.”

Below is a chart of all the possible features of HDMI and what cables are required for each feature. When you’re watching TV (or a projector) in any format below 1080p, there are only two instances when you’ll need a High Speed Cable: Deep Color and 120Hz from the source.

In both of these cases, if you’re viewing 720p or 1080i content, a High Speed Cable is necessary because those features require almost double the bandwidth of standard definition.

Finally, 120Hz from the source is very different from the 120Hz or 240Hz achieved through upscaling built into the TV. All TVs manufactured today upscale the signal inside the display. If the signal is being upscaled, having a High Speed Cable will not make a difference.

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