HDMI's latest revision adds "HDMI cable power" to make longer cables possible
Longer HDMI 2.1 cables are on the horizon
Published: 7th June 2022 | Source: HDMI |
HDMI's new cable power specification will enable the creation of longer high bandwidth cables
If there is one problem that the HDMI standard has, it's that it is a pain to purchase long cables. If you require the high data rates of HDMI 2.0 or HDMI 2.1, it is hard to find a cable that actually works beyond a length of 3 meters. Yes, many cables claim they support said data rates at longer cable lengths, but many of these cables exhibit stability issues when those claims are put to the test. Thankfully, those days may soon be behind us.
Presenting the new "HDMI cable power" standard, a new standard which will allow HDMI users to utilise longer cables using active electronics. These cables are designed to be as easy to use as passive cables (though powered-cables will be directional), and will support power though compatible HDMI connectors or using external power though Micro USB or USB Type-C.
New powered HDMI cables will allow longer HDMI 2.1 cables to be created, allowing source devices to be placed further away from sync devices. Below is what HDMI has to say about their new HDMI Cable Power standard.
HDMI 2.1a, Amendment 1 adds a new feature: HDMI Cable Power. With this feature, active HDMI® Cables can now be powered directly from the HDMI Connector, without attaching a separate power cable. This makes attaching and using active HDMI Cables as easy as using passive, wired HDMI Cables. To use the HDMI Cable Power feature, it is necessary to have an HDMI Cable which supports the HDMI Cable Power feature, and also an HDMI Source device which supports the HDMI Cable Power feature. This combination ensures that the active HDMI Cable can safely draw sufficient current from the HDMI Connector to power its internal circuitry.
In the case of the Ultra High Speed HDMI® Cable, performance requirements are so high, it is likely that the only way to meet the Ultra High Speed HDMI requirements in cables longer than a few meters is through powered, active HDMI Cables. Therefore, HDMI Cable Power was added to help support the HDMI 2.1a specification’s higher speeds by providing power to those active cables which may need it to function correctly. While active HDMI Cables have previously been used extensively in professional markets, their use will now increase in the home whenever consumers need longer-length Ultra High Speed HDMI Cables.
Connection is the same as attaching an ordinary, “wired” HDMI Cable, except that active cables can only be attached in one direction: One end of the cable is specifically labeled for attachment to the HDMI Source (transmitting) device, and the other end of the cable must be attached to the HDMI Sink (receiving) device. If the cable is attached in reverse, no damage will occur, but the connection will not work.
HDMI Cables with HDMI Cable Power include a separate power connector for use with source devices that do not support the HDMI Cable Power feature. Typically, these connectors will be USB Micro-B or USB Type-C®, but different power connector types may be used. As more and more source devices add support for HDMI Cable Power, these longer cables will deliver convenience in the living room along with reliable, high performance home theater audio video.
As someone who frequently uses 5m long HDMI cables, I know all too well how problematic finding long HDMI cables can be. A proper powered HDMI cable standard should make longer length HDMI cables more commonplace in the future, and give users something to search for when purchasing new long length HDMI cables.