The HDMI Forum is very capable of making us 1080p gamers feel very belittled indeed. No sooner do we hit the age of single-GPU 4K gaming do they announce the new HDMI v2.1 specification with support for up to 10K resolution. I mean, just look how tiny 1080p looks on the image below. Gulp. Who knows, perhaps in about a decade we may actually have the hardware that can take advantage of this tech.
It’s not just sky-high resolutions that are going to benefit though. Under this new standard, 120Hz 4K is now achievable, or 8K at 60Hz. You’ll need a monitor that support of all goodies though, and they likely won’t come cheap.
Aside from the resolution bump, HDMI 2,1 also includes a handful of new technologies such as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), Quick Frame Transport (QFT), Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) and Quick Media Switching (QMS).
The first two are of probably the most use to gamers. VRR reduces display lag while QFT helps to reduce latency. ALLM is concerned with dropping to the lowest possible latency automatically, while QMS reduces the amount of time a blank screen appears when switching HDMI channels.
Lastly, there’s Dynamic HDR. "Dynamic HDR support ensures every moment of a video is displayed at its ideal values for depth, detail, brightness, contrast and wider colour gamuts—on a scene-by-scene or even a frame-by-frame basis,” explains the HDMI Forum.
For the here and now, HDMI 2.1 probably isn’t all that useful for many, acting more as a forward-thinking update than anything else. It should still begin creeping out as a standard shortly though, so we’ll all be prepared for our blissfully high-resolution futures. The real juice comes from the 120Hz 4K support though, which is a feasible target to hit for those with high-end graphics cards playing less demanding games.