HDMI 2.1 Cables - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #1 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
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HDMI 2.1 Cables

I just ordered an LG CX TV, so now I need to get an HDMI 2.1 cable, but I do have a few questions.

1. Currently I am using a non eARC receiver (probably 10 years old), I use my TV's audio out via HDMI. I'm pretty sure I don't have to worry about upgrading the receiver or this cable, but I want to ask to make sure.

2. Are all HDMI 2.1 cables pretty much the same as was the case with 2.0? Do I need to look for anything specific other than 4K 120Hz etc.?

3. I need something in the 25' range, but they're all extremely expensive (and rare). I'm seeing prices around $130 for 25ft. Is this the best that I can do right now?
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post #2 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 11:08 AM
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https://www.hdmi.org/resource/cables
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post #3 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Hotobu View Post
I just ordered an LG CX TV, so now I need to get an HDMI 2.1 cable, but I do have a few questions.

1. Currently I am using a non eARC receiver (probably 10 years old), I use my TV's audio out via HDMI. I'm pretty sure I don't have to worry about upgrading the receiver or this cable, but I want to ask to make sure.

2. Are all HDMI 2.1 cables pretty much the same as was the case with 2.0? Do I need to look for anything specific other than 4K 120Hz etc.?

3. I need something in the 25' range, but they're all extremely expensive (and rare). I'm seeing prices around $130 for 25ft. Is this the best that I can do right now?

First of all there really aren't any cables that have been fully certified for the HDMI 2.1 option sets so you need to read the product descriptions very carefully. So no, not all "HDMI 2.1" cables are even close to being the same. Second of all, you don't need to have a cable that is supposedly able to handle some or all of the HDMI 2.1 option sets to fully enjoy your new CX. Most all of the HDMI 2.1 option sets are not available on commercial devices yet nor are there any devices that can utilize the 48Gbps bandwidth required for the higher video standards, let alone source material. And lastly, there aren't any "HDMI 2.1" cables. If the cable follows the marketing guidelines required by HDMI.org, they can label their cables as Ultra High Definition HDMI cables, which implies the HDMI 2.1 option sets but they must list which option sets the cables have been tested for. Keep in mind that "Ultra High Definition HDMI cables" is not the same thing as "Ultra HDMI cables" or similar marketing. That's done to confuse the consumer.


Some cable mfrs have indeed tested the connectors following CTS to meet some or all of the HDMI 2.1 option sets so that's what you want to look for. Currently there are only a very few handful of cable mfrs who list that in their product descriptions.


If you are concerned with eARC and VRR for example, those two options are part of the HDMI 2.1 option set but are also possible with the current HDMI 2.0 chipsets if the mfr chooses to offer a firmware upgrade path. That being said, a device mfr could list that their product is HDMI 2.1, which it technically is if they offer those options, but it could be nothing more than an upgraded HDMI 2.0 chipset. You don't need 48Gbps for eARC or VRR.


25' is tough for any cable if you are wanting to push 4k HDR and ARC/eARC. Distance is still problematic for 4k HDR and beyond. The original cable spec for HDMI 2.1 passive cables was 1m - 3m maximum (3' - 9'). That distance has been increased for passive cables but the wire gauge is thicker, so you will lose bend radius (flexibility) which may result in increased strain on the HDMI ports, which is no bueno. For longer distance runs and 4k HDR, a hybrid fiber cable is recommended (Ruipro4k for example). Those cables have been tested by an ATC following the guidelines and testing protocols designed and implemented by HDMI.org but being as the hybrid fiber cables are active, they can not be called certified by HDMI.org nor receive the QR label for authenticity like the passive, up to 25', Premium High Speed HDMI cables can.


At 25' you should also be running your cables in a 1.5" - 2.0" conduit for easy and safe installation. That way you can replace your cabling as need be without too much difficulty. Video standards will always outpace connection standards so you need a way to keep up, and a properly installed conduit is the way to do that. The ONLY way to future proof your cabling is to use conduit.


Regardless of what a cable mfr claims in their product descriptions or marketing materials, no one can guarantee that their cable will work 100% of the time for all setups and situations. What ever cable you get, lay it out on the floor first and thoroughly test it before installation to make sure that it meets your expectations and needs.


If you are using a 10-year old receiver, then yes, you will absolutely have to upgrade your receiver if you want to take full advantage of 4k HDR and what your new tv is capable of.


The cable is just a data pipe. It can not alter or modify the signal that it carries in any way. What determines what you can see and hear are the HDMI chipsets in the source and sink end devices, not the cable. It's also best that your devices all have the same version of HDMI chipsets to eliminate any compatibility issues. In other words, if you have a device that is HDMI 1.4 pushing data to a device that is HDMI 2.1, you will only be able to utilize the in-common protocols, which in that case would be HDMI 1.4. You will get a usable signal (backwards compatibility) but it will only be with the HDMI 1.4 option sets.

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post #4 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 12:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post
...
Thank you for this, but a couple of follow ups. I am not going from my receiver and then to my TV. I am going from my TV to my receiver for a simple 5.1 setup. If it were the other way around I could understand needing a new receiver, but in my case I do not understand why I need a new one yet.

Prior to reading your post and going to the link above I found this cable https://www.amazon.com/Pacroban-Brai...s%2C231&sr=8-8

which seems to check all of the boxes. Will this suffice?
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post #5 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 12:33 PM
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Originally Posted by Hotobu View Post
Thank you for this, but a couple of follow ups. I am not going from my receiver and then to my TV. I am going from my TV to my receiver for a simple 5.1 setup. If it were the other way around I could understand needing a new receiver, but in my case I do not understand why I need a new one yet.

Prior to reading your post and going to the link above I found this cable https://www.amazon.com/Pacroban-Brai...s%2C231&sr=8-8

which seems to check all of the boxes. Will this suffice?

Most setups use the receiver as the hub, not the tv. The primary reason is that any audio format that is being transmitted by your connected device(s) can easily be decoded so you get the full audio experience and only the video is passed to the display (tv). If all you want is simple 5.1 then an optical cable from your tv to the receiver will achieve the same thing. If you want to send HD Audio from the tv to the receiver (via the onboard apps for example) you will need eARC capabilities at both ends of the HDMI chain, the tv and the receiver. ARC and optical are limited to the same audio formats, which is discrete 5.1 so the only read advantage of ARC is the elimination of the optical cable. Keep in mind that on older receivers, ARC and CEC are on the same chipset so you either have both or none. And CEC can be very problematic due to lack of standardization which can quite often affect ARC.


So, if all you want is 5.1 audio, then just use an optical connection from the tv to the receiver, don't bother with ARC/eARC or a fancy, over-hyped HDMI cable. The cable you link to has nice marketing and hits all the right buzz words but there is no mention of CTS testing of the connectors. They do mention the HDMI 2.1 options sets tested for but it always bothers me when they don't go the extra step and mention how that was achieved.


Is your setup just a tv and receiver or are you going to be connecting other devices directly to the tv? I haven't looked at the specs of the CX yet ( I have a 65C8) so I don't know if LG allows for audio other than 5.1 to passed from the tv to a receiver via optical.

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post #6 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 12:34 PM
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For ARC audio from the TV to audio receiver, this should be fine:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_...RoCZxgQAvD_BwE


EDIT: Or as suggested above, use optical (Toslink).



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Last edited by Ratman; 04-20-2020 at 12:51 PM.
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post #7 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 01:03 PM - Thread Starter
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My PC is my entertainment hub, so I go directly from that to my TV. Currently my TV is HDMI out to the receiver, but I can change it to optical if you're saying there's a benefit. My Switch goes directly to my receiver, but since it only outputs 1080p that's not an issue.

I'm looking for CTS testing now, but if you know of a cable that fits my needs can you please post a link? Thank you.
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post #8 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 01:29 PM
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If every works today, there's no need to change anything. Optical will not improve anything vs. HDMI/ARC for audio.
The cable in my link above is fine if you feel a need to change the cable.


CTS testing?



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post #9 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 02:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post
...The cable you link to has nice marketing and hits all the right buzz words but there is no mention of CTS testing of the connectors. They do mention the HDMI 2.1 options sets tested for but it always bothers me when they don't go the extra step and mention how that was achieved...
CTS testing was mentioned here.
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post #10 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 03:31 PM
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If every works today, there's no need to change anything. Optical will not improve anything vs. HDMI/ARC for audio.
The cable in my link above is fine if you feel a need to change the cable.


CTS testing?
Compliance Testing Specification. Those are what the hardware mfrs (HDMI connectors in this case) need to pass to show that their connectors can successfully pass what ever HDMI specifications are required. An ATC (Authorized Testing Center) tests the entire product, cable and connectors following the protocols and methodology as designed by HDMI.org, but you knew that already .

That Monoprice cable in your link would be fine as it is Certified for HDMI 2.0. That's really all you need for the cable.
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post #11 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 03:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Hotobu View Post
My PC is my entertainment hub, so I go directly from that to my TV. Currently my TV is HDMI out to the receiver, but I can change it to optical if you're saying there's a benefit. My Switch goes directly to my receiver, but since it only outputs 1080p that's not an issue.

I'm looking for CTS testing now, but if you know of a cable that fits my needs can you please post a link? Thank you.
The cable that @Ratman linked to would be just fine for 1080 and 4k HDR as well. 25' is the maximum certifiable length for passive cables and HDMI 2.0. Just be mindful of bend radius which becomes very important for in-wall installations. If you move up to 4k HDR the most reliable connection will be a single cable from source to sink with no adapters, extenders, wall plates, etc in-between. 4k HDR can be very finicky at long lengths (25' is considered a long length).

If your source is your pc and the best you can do is 1080, then yes, just push audio and video to your tv and use an optical connection back to your receiver for 5.1 audio. That's the easiest and simplest connection. I wouldn't worry about getting an HDMI cable that can meet some of the HDMI 2.1 specification because you don't really need it so it's meaningless. You have a really nice tv so even if you are able to stream 4k HDR thru the onboard apps, the optical connection will still just push 5.1 to your receiver so no problem there. Optical is basically the same as ARC (via HDMI) as far as audio performance goes.

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post #12 of 16 Old 04-20-2020, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Otto Pylot View Post
The cable that @Ratman linked to would be just fine for 1080 and 4k HDR as well. 25' is the maximum certifiable length for passive cables and HDMI 2.0. Just be mindful of bend radius which becomes very important for in-wall installations. If you move up to 4k HDR the most reliable connection will be a single cable from source to sink with no adapters, extenders, wall plates, etc in-between. 4k HDR can be very finicky at long lengths (25' is considered a long length).

If your source is your pc and the best you can do is 1080, then yes, just push audio and video to your tv and use an optical connection back to your receiver for 5.1 audio. That's the easiest and simplest connection. I wouldn't worry about getting an HDMI cable that can meet some of the HDMI 2.1 specification because you don't really need it so it's meaningless. You have a really nice tv so even if you are able to stream 4k HDR thru the onboard apps, the optical connection will still just push 5.1 to your receiver so no problem there. Optical is basically the same as ARC (via HDMI) as far as audio performance goes.
Wait, I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I was saying my Switch was hooked directly to my receiver because the best it can do is 1080p, but I still need the HDMI 2.1 cable for my PC.
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post #13 of 16 Old 04-21-2020, 08:07 AM
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Wait, I think you misunderstood what I wrote. I was saying my Switch was hooked directly to my receiver because the best it can do is 1080p, but I still need the HDMI 2.1 cable for my PC.
Does your pc have HDMI 2.1 chipsets (not just eARC/VRR, which is available with HDMI 2.0)? If not, you don't need a cable that supposedly has HDMI 2.1 capabilities. You never did say but is your 25' along the baseboard or is it an in-wall installation?

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post #14 of 16 Old 04-21-2020, 02:23 PM - Thread Starter
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Does your pc have HDMI 2.1 chipsets (not just eARC/VRR, which is available with HDMI 2.0)? If not, you don't need a cable that supposedly has HDMI 2.1 capabilities. You never did say but is your 25' along the baseboard or is it an in-wall installation?
It will, I'm future proofing. Right now I have a 1080Ti, but it's a certainty that the next gen of graphics cards will be HDMI 2.1 ready. I'm not going through a wall, it's just along the floor.
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post #15 of 16 Old 04-21-2020, 03:25 PM
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It will, I'm future proofing. Right now I have a 1080Ti, but it's a certainty that the next gen of graphics cards will be HDMI 2.1 ready. I'm not going through a wall, it's just along the floor.

Then as long as you have easy access to your cabling that's the first, and really the only step you need to do to "future proof". All you need to ensure is that the tv and graphics card both support the same option sets of HDMI 2.1. As far as cables that should be able to handle the HDMI 2.1 option sets I would suggest the Ruipro8k hybrid fiber cables. They are expensive, so you might want to wait awhile till this CV-19 issue settles down in case they have a "sale" to get their sales back up, but they are very well made cables and one that a lot of mfrs copy the design from.

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post #16 of 16 Old 04-22-2020, 12:26 PM - Thread Starter
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Then as long as you have easy access to your cabling that's the first, and really the only step you need to do to "future proof". All you need to ensure is that the tv and graphics card both support the same option sets of HDMI 2.1. As far as cables that should be able to handle the HDMI 2.1 option sets I would suggest the Ruipro8k hybrid fiber cables. They are expensive, so you might want to wait awhile till this CV-19 issue settles down in case they have a "sale" to get their sales back up, but they are very well made cables and one that a lot of mfrs copy the design from.
Forgot to come back and say thanks, although I think I may just rearrange my place to shorten the distance.
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