HDMI 2.1 bug affecting console gamers

In light of the recent HDMI 2.1 incompatibility with most TVs and gaming consoles (PS5 and Xbox Series X), case in point, if we turn on Variable Refresh Rate (VRR), it will either screw up HDR or the display might even omit HDR altogether. With 8K gaming become the “new kid on the block”, how much are we willing to sacrifice HDR for better frame rate? For those sitting on the fence fearing that the HDMI 2.1 incompatibility might have an impact on your movie viewing experience…fear not. All these incompatibility issues (VRR and HDR) arose from the gaming community as it does not really affect movie-lovers.

So this topic is geared towards console owners…which one will you sacrifice - bit-depth (8bit vs 10/12bit) which ulitmately affects “banding” or wider color gamut (photo-realistic scenes with optimized whites and blacks)?

Sound United engineers claimed to have resolved the HDMI 2.1 “to a large extent”…It seems VRR may still break the 4K/120fps HDR.

It is also confirmed that Xbox Series X still cannot pass through 4K/120fps via the Denon AVR. They are still working on a solution.

The workaround is to either allow 4K/60fps (by default) in the AVR setting so that you won’t get a black screen after enabling 4K/120fps on the console or if you really want to see 120fps in its full glory, the. do the “daisy chain” thing by first connecting the HDMI 2.1 cable to the display capable of displaying 4K/120fps and then use the eARC from the display back to the AVR. Make sure both CEC (at the display and the AVR) and HDMI control (in the AVR) are enabled.

Important to take note that the current Denon and Marantz HDMI 2.1 capable AVRs in the market right maxed out it’s bandwidth at 40Gbps and not not full 48Gbps. But this should be enough for “ray tracing” and 4K/120fps to work at a color sub sampling rate of YCC 4:2:2 at 12-bit. YCC 4:4:4 or RGB 4:4:4 will not work as it requires full 48Gbps bandwidth. Besides not many 8K display is capable to deliver full bandwidth besides LG at the moment.

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