HDMI 2.1a specs add Cable Power option for longer active HDMI cables

Published: 7th Jun 2022, 10:02 GMT   Comments

HDMI 2.1 gets more power

HDMI Licensing Administrator announced an updated HDMI 2.1a specs now listing HDMI Cable Power feature.

This feature was primarily designed to give active cables more power directly from the source device, without a need for additional power cables. In other words, this means that a few meters long HDMI cables will not require external power.

While it may seem easy to find 5 m HDMI 2.1 cables, it is not a secret that the longer the cable, the more likely is the connection to encounter stability issues. This problem may become more apparent once more devices switch to the new HDMI 2.1 standard that allows bandwidth up to 48 Gbps.

The HDMI Cable Power was designed to solve this problem by supplying additional power for active devices, which should improve stability over longer distances. Furthermore, the powered cable would work the same way as an ordinary HDMI cable. The only requirement for Cable Power tech to work is for source and receiving devices to support this technology.

These cables will be offered with optional USB Micro-B or Type-C connector for source devices that do not support this Cable Power.

HDMI® Cable Power

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.

Source: HDMI via Overclock3D

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