At CES 2018, HDMI Licensing—the organization that develops and licenses the HDMI specification—hosted a pavilion with several companies demonstrating products related to HDMI 2.1. One of the most exciting was the world’s first HDMI 2.1 transceiver chip from Invecas. The chip is capable of transmitting and receiving data at up to 48 Gbps, the maximum data rate of the new HDMI spec.
The demo system included a PC with two HDMI 2.0 outputs feeding two linked 4K video streams to a circuit board that merged the two streams and fed it to an Invecas HDMI 2.1 transceiver chip. The signal was then sent to another circuit board with another HDMI 2.1 transceiver chip, after which the signal was split into two streams and sent via HDMI 2.0 to two 55″ Sony 4K LCD TVs. An eARC (Extended Audio Return Channel) output was also sent to a Pioneer AV receiver. (For more info about the first eARC chips to become available, click here.)
The demo system consisted of a PC with two HDMI 2.0 outputs (hidden in the cabinet below), one circuit board with four HDMI 2.0 inputs and one HDMI 2.1 output, another circuit board with an HDMI 2.1 input and two HDMI 2.0 outputs along with an eARC HDMI output, two Sony 4K LCD TVs, and a Pioneer AVR with small desktop speakers.
The TVs displayed two halves of an 8Kx2K image in perfect sync. Why not 8Kx4K? Because that would have taken four HDMI 2.0 connections and four 4K TVs, which wasn’t practical in this situation. Still, the HDMI 2.1 connection was carrying more data than an HDMI 2.0 connection can, proving that the silicon works.
The only thing holding production back is the finalization of a certification spec and the establishment of testing facilities to certify the chips. Invecas fully expects there will be TVs, UHD Blu-ray players, and other devices with HDMI 2.1 transceiver chips at CES 2019. I can hardly wait!