Today, there are many HDMI cables to choose from, such as Standard, High Speed, Premium High Speed, and Ultra High Speed. There are even HDMI cables that come with Ethernet capabilities. What’s the difference between all of these cables? And how do you ensure the cables you purchase are certified to the standard they say they are? This article will explain each type of HDMI cable so you can make sure you are picking the right one for your application. It will also tell you the easiest way to verify your cable is certified and legitimate.
HDMI Cable Categories
The HDMI Licensing Administrator (HDMI LA) categorizes HDMI cable into the following categories:
Category 1: Standard HDMI Cable and Standard HDMI Cable with Ethernet
Standard HDMI cable is designed for common HDTV broadcast and optimized for HDMI versions 1.0 and 1.2. It transmits 720p and 1080i video but does not support 4K resolution. This type of HDMI cable has a bandwidth capacity of up to 5 Gbps.
Standard HDMI cable with Ethernet offers the same capabilities and performance as Standard HDMI cable, but it also features HDMI Ethernet channel functionality (HEC). HEC provides online connectivity that allows two connected devices to share data over a wired internet connection up to 100 Mbps. HEC is often used to connect gaming consoles or Blu-ray players to displays and the internet with just a single cable.
Category 2: High-Speed HDMI Cable and High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet
High-Speed HDMI cable can transmit 1080p, 4K 30 Hz 4:4:4, or 4K 60 Hz 4:2:0 video. It supports 3D, Deep Color, and bandwidth transfer speeds up to 10.2 Gbps. High-Speed cable is optimized for HDMI versions 1.3 to 1.4.
High-Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet offers the same capabilities and performance as High-Speed HDMI cable but also supports HEC.
Category 2: Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable and Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet
Premium High-Speed HDMI cable can transfer 4K Ultra HD resolution video, including 4K 60 Hz 4:4:4 8 bit. It supports HDR, BT.2020, and a bandwidth of 18 Gbps. Premium High-Speed cable is optimized for HDMI version 2.0 and supports all of its features.
To ensure they don’t interfere with wireless signals, Premium HDMI cables go through an EMI test.
This type of HDMI cable also uses a unique anti-counterfeiting authentication label so you can easily identify if the cable is authentic and certified throughout the HDMI authorized supply chain. Each label is unique to each individual package for every length of every model.
Premium High-Speed HDMI cable with Ethernet supports ARC to transmit Dolby Digital and DTS formats as well.
Category 3: Ultra-High-Speed (UHS) HDMI Cable
Ultra-High-Speed (UHS) HDMI cable is the newest HDMI cable type, and it is backward compatible with earlier versions. It features bandwidth transfer speeds up to 48 Gbps to support 8K at 60 Hz as well as 4K at 120 Hz video with static and dynamic HDR, VRR, eARC, and all other HDMI 2.1 features. UHS HDMI cable features a very low EMI and can be used near wireless devices without issue.
All UHS HDMI cable must pass certification testing by an HDMI Forum Authorized Testing Center (Forum ATC). Additionally, each UHS HDMI cable, package, and selling unit must have an Ultra-High-Speed HDMI Certification Label on it. This unique anti-counterfeiting authentication label allows you to identify if the cable is authentic and certified throughout the HDMI authorized supply chain.
How to Identify if an HDMI Cable Has Been Tested by ATC
The HDMI Licensing Administrator provides a free app to check the QR code printed on the anti-counterfeiting authentication label. The app is available to download from the App Store or Google Play Store. You can find it by searching for “HDMI cable certification” in either app store.
After downloading the app, open it and it will show you how to scan the QR code on the label.
If you scan the QR code and see the screen below (or something similar), it means your HDMI cable passed the HDMI Authorized Test Center’s testing and is guaranteed to function properly.
However, even if you see the positive response on screen, you still need to double-check your cable length is the same as the length on the app since HDMI LA defines an individual certificate for every length and model.
On the other hand, if the app tells you the cable is unauthenticated, it means the cable you scanned is not a certified HDMI cable by the HDMI ATC. Therefore, the cable may not support the features and bandwidth it claims to.
To find the HDMI cable you need for your application, first look at the HDMI cable bandwidth ratings:
- Standard supports 5 Gbps.
- High Speed supports 10.2 Gbps.
- Premium High Speed supports 18 Gbps.
- Ultra High Speed supports 48 Gbps.
After that, check the format data rate table below to select the right category of HDMI cable.
The format data rate- HDMI Forum and HDMI Licensing Administrator
The feature support table- HDMI Forum and HDMI Licensing Administrator
And before you make your purchase, make certain the HDMI cables come from a reliable vendor. Also, verify that any High-Speed or Premium High-Speed HDMI cables are certified to ensure performance.
If you’re still unsure of how to select the right HDMI cable, contact Black Box for help. One of our cable experts will be happy to help you find HDMI cables that can meet your needs.
Premium High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet and Gripping Connectors – HDMI 2.0, 4K 60 Hz UHD
High-Speed HDMI Cable
High-Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet
Slim-Line High-Speed HDMI with Ethernet Cable
High-Speed HDMI 2.0 Active Optical Cable (AOC) - 4K 60, 4:4:4, 18 Gbps
4K 60 HDMI Repeater
About the Author
George Liu has 12 years’ experience in the cabling, data, and video connectivity industry. As a Project and Product Manager at Black Box, he works directly with domestic and international OEM suppliers on new product launches. George is a certified PMP and CQE, and he is a master’s candidate in the industrial management program at National Taiwan University of Science and Technology.