Is HDMI 2.0 Coming Soon to a Home Theater Near You?

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Is HDMI 2.0 Coming Soon to a Home Theater Near You?

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One disappointing rumor is that the broadcast lobby has seemingly convinced Silicon Image to back away from offering 10-bit color for UHD over HDMI 2.0. This means that, in order to have a greater selection of channels, you will get lesser quality and arguably give up the single best element of Ultra HD, which is 10-bit color.

There are other compelling options for Ultra HD content transmission, with DisplayPort being the most interesting. Widely used in the computer business today (think Apple's Thunderbolt connection as an example), DisplayPort already supports 10-bit color, but good luck finding a Blu-ray player or DVR with a DisplayPort output. If you are a consumer in the home theater game today, you are stuck with HDMI - which is why the pending launch of HDMI 2.0 is so important.

Long-term, I don't think the powers-that-be (studios, electronics companies, and licensing companies in the HDMI Forum) are going to allow an HDMI 2.0 spec to get released that is as shaky as HDMI 1.0 was. They have taken their beating and know that they have to keep offering more performance, as well as more studio protection, to suit both of their masters. 

The arrival of HDMI 2.0 is likely the key to solidifying the badly needed standard for Ultra HD in both the broadcast and Blu-ray arenas. Critics, myself included, have lambasted the Blu-ray Disc Association for not having Ultra HD worked out on Blu-ray before the launch of UHD TV sets. They are just waiting for the HDMI standard to be ratified so that they can sew up some of the details. Expect news from the Blu-ray and broadcast world after HDMI 2.0 breaks to the general public.

Should home theater enthusiasts freak out at this point? Not yet. HDMI 2.0 will be more for those who want to make the move to Ultra HD, and that move isn't prudent at this time for the vast majority of customers out there today who rock 1080p rigs. Should you be dumping your current electronics on Audiogon.com or selling your TV on eBay? Nope. Now is not the time to panic. Let's see what HDMI 2.0 brings to the table. It's likely going to be backwards-compatible anyhow. Still, we know there are always bumps on the road to a new technology and that the cutting edge of home theater is almost always very sharp. With that said, the future of video is really looking up. Four times 1080p is cool, and higher frame rates and 10-bit color only make a good thing that much better. Don't be afraid of HDMI 2.0. Perhaps it's time to be cautiously optimistic.

Additional Resources
• Read more original content like this in our Feature News Stories section.
• See more Plasma HDTVLED HDTV, and LCD HDTV news from Home Theater Review.
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