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HDMI 2.0b: know what this video transmission standard gives you

HDMI cables improve visualization of audiovisual content in virtually all devices. They provide a simple way to connect different devices to transmit audio and video. This connection has become a standard that, like other technologies, is improving and updating as time goes by. HDMI 2.0b is the latest version and brings several advantages that we tell you below. The best thing is that, like the previous ones, it does not require cables other than the ones you are already using.

HDMI 2.0b is based on HDMI 2.0a, which adds some features to the previous HDMI 2.0, including a display technology called High Dynamic Range, which we will refer to as HDR from now on. Designed to greatly improve the contrast between light and dark images and thus obtain a more realistic image, the HDR has quickly become an essential element in the purchase of a new television. In this article we explain all the wonderful things you can do with your home theater system thanks to HDMI 2.0b.

A quick note before you start: HDMI 2.0b is an extremely small update of HDMI 2.0a. Both are essentially the same, except that HDMI 2.0b adds support for Hybrid Log Gamma (HLG), a new HDR technology intended primarily for streaming applications. That said, let's review the many advantages of the standard HDMI 2.0 to the included HDMI 2.0b.

HDMI 2.0b


As we wrote earlier, the main reason for switching to HDMI 2.0 is that 4K Ultra HD TVs require much more bandwidth to reach their full potential. Since the 4K Ultra HD has a resolution four times higher than 1080p, the old HD standard requires a greater processing capacity to handle additional round-trip data. Much more.

HDMI 1.4 supports resolutions of 4K, s, but only at 24 or 30 frames per second (fps). This works well for movies, but it is not useful for games and many television broadcasts, which require 50 or 60 fps. In addition, HDMI 1.4 limits 4K content to 8-bit color, although it is capable of supporting 10 or 12-bit color. HDMI 2.0 arranged all that because it could handle up to 18 gigabits per second: enough to allow 12-bit color and video up to 60 frames per second.

Today's televisions aim to amaze us with an image realism even greater than Ultra HD, creating more intense whites and blacks more black: it's like Tide for your TV, making everything more vivid, which is what HDR is all about. The televisions of Sony, Panasonic, LG, Samsung and Vizio offer one or another version of the HDR technology. HDMI 2.0b adds another flavor to the HDR menu, with support for HLG, the HDR version that is the favorite for live TV broadcasts.


As mentioned earlier, HDMI 2.0b does not change anything about the size, shape or wiring of HDMI cables. If in the end you get devices compatible with HDMI 2.0a, the existing cables will work perfectly. And since HDMI 2.0b is compatible with previous versions of HDMI, you can connect your old Blu-ray player and / or AV receiver to a new 4K Ultra HD TV equipped with HDMI 2.0b without any problem.


HDMI 2.0b

The upgrade to HDMI 2.0 in 2013 made 32 channels of uncompressed audio possible. If that sounds like an exaggeration, well … it may be for some. But don't tell the gurs of the Dolby or DTS surround sound. The latest Dolby Atmos surround sound format is capable of supporting 64 channels of surround sound in the theaters, which breaks down in your home theater system to allow 11.2 audio channels. It is called object-based surround sound and allows you to mix singular objects to move through a hemisphere of multiple speakers in a completely autonomous way.

The Dolby version includes configurations that offer two to four speakers that can focus the sound from the ceiling or bounce off the ceiling from the floor to achieve a burst of surround audio. There are several receivers such as Marantz, Onkyo and Pioneer that are compatible with Atmos, as well as speakers specially designed by Pioneer and others that mount speakers on top of your furniture to emit sound from the ceiling. Wondering if your home theater system configuration is compatible with Dolby Atmos? Check out our complete guide to get the best Dolby Atmos sound.

Not to be left behind, DTS also presented its own system for the future of object-based surround sound, called DTS: X. The system is designed to be compatible with many of the components that Dolby Atmos and, for now, also offers a maximum of 11.2 channels. However, DTS: X allows even more flexibility than Atmos, including the possibility of using up to 32 speaker configurations. Is it a coincidence that the speaker configurations available for DTS: X are equal to the same number of channels that the current HDMI protocol allows? We think not.

In case you didn't know, your remote control is magical.

The change to HDMI 2.0 brought standards that require the inclusion of certain control features for the standard language spoken by the devices, called CEC (Consumer Electronics Control). As such, it is likely that your remote control can control a lot of devices, without the need for you to have a four-digit remote control code encyclopedia and mark a lot of button combinations. With CEC, connected devices can also issue commands to your TV. A connected Chromecast, for example, can tell your TV to turn on and switch to the correct input, simply by launching content from your cell phone to Chromecast, without the need for a remote control.

Another advance in the protocol, the HDMI-ARC port, greatly simplifies audio connections. In the past, if you wanted to send audio from your TV to your sound bar or A / V receiver, you needed an optical cable (in an ideal world) or, at a minimum, a set of RCA analog cables. Using the HDMI-ARC port of a TV, with which virtually all new TVs have, a single HDMI cable can receive audio and video from an external source, and audio back to that device, which is the reason why ARC means Audio Return Channel. It is a great convenience if you have a transmission device connected to a secondary HDMI port or if you are using one of the integrated applications of your TV.


HDMI 2.0b

Although it has been around for a long time, it is important to know that the HDMI 2.0 update made it possible to simultaneously deliver dual stream video to multiple users on the same screen. Imagine what that means for video games!