What You Need to Know About HDMI 2.1


HDMI 2.1 is here, and it’s faster and bolder than all previous versions, including HDMI 2.0. Does that mean you need to upgrade all your HDMI cables and equipment? Not necessarily. Read on to find out why upgrading to HDMI 2.1 cables may or may not be a smart choice for your home theater, business or digital signage application.

HDMI 2.1 Bandwidth Is Almost 3 Times That of v2.0

First off, the new version of HDMI provides bandwidth up to 48 Gbps, a vast improvement over HDMI 2.0’s 18 Gbps bandwidth. This allows you to transmit 5K, 8K, even 10K video resolutions with frame rates up to 120 fps (frames per second) with Dynamic HDR (High Dynamic Range). Although no current television broadcasts, streaming sites or home video formats support 10K, some high-end video gaming applications do. Testing or playing graphics-heavy games at 10K may be an irresistible urge only HDMI 2.1 cables can let you scratch.

HDMI 2.1 Backward Compatibility with Earlier HDMI Versions

Switching to HDMI 2.1 is easy enough. Just switch out your old HDMI cables for new HDMI 2.1 cables. The connectors are the same size and shape, and HDMI 2.1 is backward compatible with your current 2.0 or earlier equipment. Even if you haven’t upgraded your audio/video equipment or computers to HDMI 2.1, your cables will work with your existing devices, though without most of HDMI 2.1’s advanced features.

Not Just Video, But Also Audio Receives a Boost Under HDMI 2.1

Your audio receiver, amplifier and soundbar will also see a vast enhancement with HDMI 2.1’s eARC (enhanced Audio Return Channel) feature. It’s basically HDMI’s Audio Return Channel (ARC) feature on steroids, allowing the installation of advanced audio codecs (including DTS:X and Dolby Atmos) and using the increased bandwidth to carry louder, sharper audio signals.

So, Should I Upgrade Now to HDMI 2.1 Cables?

While the enhanced 48 Gbps bandwidth and 120 fps refresh rate are exciting to think about, the fact remains that, as of today, few source or display devices support HDMI 2.1 technology. Certainly, they don’t come cheap. However, staying ahead of the curve is rarely a bad thing. The first 8K televisions with HDMI 2.1 support are already on the market, delivering resolutions up to 7680 x 4320 at 60 Hz. When HDMI 2.1-compatible equipment becomes more available and affordable, having HDMI 2.1 cabling already in place will put you ahead in the game. And remember: HDMI 2.1 cables work with your current HDMI devices.

Insertion Loss Shouldn’t Be Your Loss

As more and more businesses search for high-speed, global IT solutions that maximize scalability, optical fiber infrastructures have become increasingly popular. Since fiber-optic connections are powered by light instead of electrical signals, information can flow smoothly and rapidly through the network without the constant need for signal amplification, an interruption that traditional network lines often require.

However, the efficiency and integrity of your fiber-optic network can be greatly undermined by insertion loss.

What is insertion loss in optical fiber?

According to Wikipedia, insertion loss is the loss of signal power resulting from the insertion of a device in a transmission line or optical fiber. This degradation of the signal can be measured in decibels by comparing how much light is lost from one point to the next on an optical fiber.

While slight losses are normal along a large network, it’s important to understand insertion loss as fully as possible to minimize these losses.

What causes insertion loss?

MYTH: All insertion loss is the result of fiber contamination, misalignment or bad connectors.

FACTS: Insertion loss is most commonly observed in situations where fibers:

  • Have been spliced together, connected, or sent through passive network components.
  • Are cracked or bent.
  • Are installed in complex configurations, causing tight coils or kinks.

Why should I care about insertion loss?

Insertion loss, when it becomes too great, can lead to a noticeable lag in network performance. Analyzing, testing and repairing the network in the wake of insertion loss can be costly and time-consuming.

And, of course, a slow business network leads to unhappy employers, employees and customers.

How can I prevent insertion loss?

Try following these tips:

  • Make sure to keep all cable connectors clean, especially before and after installation and testing.
  • Install cable carefully, avoiding any pushing or pulling that could exceed the fibers’ tensile strength.
  • Minimize the number of tight bends, coils, splices and connectors in your network.
  • Plan ahead! Realize that designing a smart network and investing in quality installation and materials upfront can actually save money long-term.
  • Avoid field terminations, which are more susceptible to particle contamination and may result in less than acceptable polishing of fibers.
  • Utilize factory terminated cabling. These terminations are made under stringent guidelines and typically include a manufacturer warranty.

Tripp Lite Fiber Cable Solutions

Tripp Lite offers an innovative selection of fiber cables, all of which have undergone insertion loss testing with results that can be easily verified on our website. Our support team is standing by for expert business solutions so you can create a reliable, quality fiber network for you and your clients.

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Made-to-Order Fiber

Which Type of UPS System Works Best with a Generator?

Do you have a generator to supply power during a lengthy blackout? You’ll get the most out of it if you connect your generator to a UPS system. But there’s more than one kind of UPS – it’s important to choose the right type of system so it will play nicely with your generator power. [Read more…]

Connect Your Laptop to the Internet without a Built-in Ethernet Port

Laptop computers are trending toward thinner models that do not include an Ethernet port. If you rely on Wi-Fi day-to-day, you may not notice the change. But in situations where Wi-Fi is weak or unavailable, you can count on a USB 3.0, 3.1 or USB-C to Gigabit Ethernet Adapter to get the signal you need.

No ethernet in laptops

The Lighter Laptop

As laptop users run more browser-based applications and store more files in the cloud, they require less local storage space. This, combined with smaller and more efficient processors, means laptops can afford to be thinner and lighter without sacrificing performance.

When laptop manufacturers shrink their products to facilitate more portability, some connectivity features may not “make the cut.” These often include the Ethernet port since it is, quite literally, thicker than the device.

Again, even if you typically use a wireless internet connection, consider some scenarios where an Ethernet connection might be missed:

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Rolling TV Carts for Education

Use Rolling TV Stands to Help Enhance Learning on a Tight Budget


Do more with less. This is the challenge facing virtually every school, particularly when it comes to in-classroom technology.

Not everyone learns the same way, but strong visuals enhance learning for most students. That’s why TVs and interactive white boards are common tools for today’s teachers. However, keeping classrooms equipped with the latest technology might quickly break the budget.

Cut Costs with Shared Resources

With a rolling TV cart for flat-screen TVs, a school can keep technology expenditures in check by sharing displays and interactive white boards among a number of classrooms. When the lesson plan calls for A/V resources, the teacher simply wheels a height-adjustable TV stand in front of students to make learning more engaging and exciting. And by using the built-in adjustments such as height and tilt that are found on many rolling TV stands, the teacher can ensure all students have a clear view of the screen. This isn’t possible with conventional projectors.

[Read more…]