- Lots of different opinions on HDMI cables can really get you confused.
- Reading this 4K HDMI cable vs HDMI cable can help you choose the right one for certain applications
- One can get puzzled by seeing different labels on HDMI cable packages; this article will help you know what they mean.
While setting up a personalized zone for entertainment purposes, I am sure that you have come across a question. Is there a difference between an HDMI cable and a 4k HDMI cable?
The answer is yes, mainly, there is a bandwidth difference between a 4K and a regular HDMI cable. Because 2160p images require at least 10 Gbps bandwidth which is available in HDMI version 2.0 or above.
And, there are more differences in these HDMI versions. Here, I am going to explain all of them. So, without further ado, let’s get started.
What Is A 4k HDMI Cable?
You have probably known that HDMI cables have different variations. With each upgrade, the speed gets increased.
Till HDMI version 1.4, it is not possible to transfer 4K video signals because of lower bandwidth.
But HDMI 2.0 has a certified bandwidth of 18 Gigabits per second which is suitable for 4k videos and images. And, you can enable up to 60 FPS.
Though I am mentioning HDMI 2.0 cable as HDMI UHD, there is a variant in version 1.4 that can carry 4K at 30 FPS.
HDMI 1.4 with the ‘High Speed’ logo or 1.4a/1.4b is the variant I am talking about here. There is very little difference between an HDMI 1.4a/1.4b and 2.0.
Benefits of 4k HDMI Cables
- 4K HDMI cables have all the benefits of regular low-bandwidth versions.
- It has double or more bandwidth than regular HDMI cables ensuring the original 4K output.
- Due to having higher bandwidth and multiple channels, 4k HDMI cables support high-end audios such as Dolby, DTS, etc.
- For online streaming, 4k certified HDMI cables are needed as they have security features preventing users to record content.
- A high-speed HDMI cable can transfer data at 100 Mbps speed in both directions.
- Higher bandwidth 4K HDMI cables support gaming at a higher refresh rate which is not possible in version 1.4 or something older.
How Do I Know If My HDMI Cable Is 4K?
The only way to know whether a cable has enough bandwidth for 4K resolution is by checking the package for specific logos.
If you see ‘HDMI High Speed’, ‘HDMI Premium’, or ‘HDMI Ultra High Speed’, you will know that the cable supports 4k.
But the frame rate will vary because of bandwidth limitations. For High-Speed certification, it is possible to get up to 30Hz.
As you go higher in the certification level, you will get 60 FPS and 120 FPS.
What Is A Regular HDMI Cable?
By saying a regular HDMI cable, I mean something that can’t carry 4K signals due to lower bandwidth.
HDMI version 1.4 is the one that can only carry 1080p and 720p signals as the bandwidth is 4.95 Gb/s.
When you look into the version numbers, you will know that going one step higher (version 2.0) supports 4k resolution.
So, the fine line that keeps a 4k HDMI cable and a regular HDMI cable separate is between versions 1.4 and 2.0.
I know that there are older versions than 1.4 that can be categorized as regular HDMI cables.
But I haven’t mentioned them because the older versions are not in production today. Hence, we can establish HDMI 1.4 as regular ones.
Benefits of HDMI Cables
- It can carry both audio and video signals making it convenient for the users.
- HDMI has become the universal standard for multimedia file transfer options from source to displays.
- 2-way communication ability makes it possible to achieve the highest audio and video quality.
- As HD signals get transmitted without any compression, you won’t notice any degradation in the signal quality.
- Because of having different bit formats, you can get deep color depths.
4k HDMI Cable Vs HDMI: What Are the Differences?
Besides the obvious bandwidth difference, there are a few more things that you should know.
In the table below, I have gathered the important ones to give you a clear overview.
|4k HDMI Cable||Regular HDMI Cable|
|Version||1.4a/1.4b or Higher||1.4, 1.3, or Older|
|Bandwidth||10.2 to 48 Gbps||4.95 Gbps|
|Supported Resolution||Less than 2160p or 4K||Any|
|Audio Channel||Up to 32 channels||Up to 8 channels|
|Bits||10-bit or more||8-bit only|
Key Factors to Consider Before Choosing a 4k HDMI Cable and a Regular HDMI Cable
Here, I am going to explain some real-life parameters that help choose an HDMI cable.
The first thing you have to think about is the type of content you consume on a daily basis. With almost no need for 4K contents, you can confidently go with the cables without the ‘High Speed’ notation.
Resolution and Refresh Rate
Even when you are choosing a 4K HDMI cable, there are some things to keep in mind. For a higher refresh rate, better image quality, and crystal-clear audio, you have to choose an expensive HDMI 2.1 cable.
One of the biggest benefits of getting a 4K compatible HDMI cable is that you can control multiple displays with a single remote control. This feature is available in older HDMI versions but they are not as useful as the latest ones.
Lastly, buy according to your budget. But the technology has become so mature that the price difference between the two types is not that much. If you ask me, I will vote for 4K HDMI cables.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Are HDMI and 4K HDMI cables the same?
They are not the same in terms of bandwidth. Normal HDMI has a bandwidth of 4.95 Gbps whereas 4k HDMI cable can carry more than 10 Gbps.
Does a 4K HDMI cable make a difference?
Don’t focus on the marketing terms. Seeing only 4K on the package is not significant. However, seeing the ‘High-Speed’ logo will ensure that it has enough bandwidth.
Will a 4K HDMI cable improve picture quality?
HDMI cables are only signal carriers. So, 4k HDMI cable doesn’t improve picture quality as long as you are using compatible cable for certain situations.
How long can an HDMI cable be 4K?
According to the manufacturers, it is not recommended to use a longer cable more than 3 meters or 10 feet for transferring 4K picture quality.
Are 8K HDMI cables worth it?
Right now, 8K contents are not as abundant as 4k let alone 1080p. The only reason to buy an 8K HDMI cable is to future-proof your gaming or movie-watching setup.
So, 4k HDMI Cable Vs Regular HDMI Cable, Which One to Choose?
There are two main factors to consider to decide on 4k HDMI cable vs HDMI comparison. If you have enough budget, I will recommend you to buy a 4k HDMI cable without any hesitation.
It will not only meet all of your current requirements but also help you enjoy games and videos for the next 10 years.
On the other hand, those who don’t have 4K content-consuming requirements can go for a normal or a regular HDMI 1.4 cable. These are also a good option because more than 80% of the contents are still in 1080p resolution.