HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. is the licensing agent responsible for administering the licensing of the HDMI Specification, promoting HDMI technology and providing education on the benefits of the HDMI interface to retailers and consumers.

What Does It Mean When Gear is Marketed as HDMI 2.1 Product?

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There have been many questions about what it means when manufacturers claim their product is an “HDMI 2.1” product, and what HDMI® 2.1 features are supported. And it certainly can be confusing to decipher the many ways manufacturers and resellers promote their products. While the HDMI 2.1 Specification is the most recent spec version, there are still manufacturers marketing their products under the previous HDMI 2.0 Specification too. Various claims that some HDMI 2.1 products are fake due to misleading manufacturer claims or lax compliance scrutiny don’t help clarify anything for consumers either.
Ultimately, it is up to manufacturers to accurately market their products and their supported HDMI features; and it is up to consumers to check that a product supports the features they want. Here are some FAQs that should help answer the most common questions on HDMI specification feature marketing.
Q: What does it mean when a manufacturer markets their product as an HDMI 2.1 product?
A: It is compliant with the HDMI 2.1 Specification and supports one or more HDMI 2.1 features. If the manufacturer promotes compliance with the HDMI 2.1 Specification, the manufacturer is required to list the HDMI 2.1 features supported by the product next to that messaging.
Q: Does a product claiming compliance to the HDMI 2.1 Specification have to be compliant for the HDMI 2.1 features it states it supports?
A: Yes.
Q: Are HDMI 2.1 Specification features mandatory or optional and why?
A: Support for each HDMI 2.1 feature is optional. This is because manufacturers should be able to
choose what their products support based on the product’s market and price point needs.
Q: What are the HDMI 2.1 features for which a device can be certified?
A: The features can be anything from the HDMI 2.1 Specification. Each HDMI 2.1 product model is required to pass testing to the HDMI Compliance Test Specification for those HDMI 2.1 features that the product supports.
Q: Can a product claim compliance to the HDMI 2.1 Specification even if it only supports features from the HDMI 2.0 Specification such as TMDS and 18Gbps, but not FRL or 48Gbps?
A: Yes, as long as it is compliant to the HDMI 2.1 Specification. If the manufacturer promotes compliance with the HDMI 2.1 Specification, the manufacturer is required to list the HDMI 2.1 features supported by the product next to that messaging.
Q: Are all new HDMI products HDMI 2.1 products?
A: Products can no longer be certified for HDMI 2.0. They are now certified as either HDMI 1.4b or HDMI
2.1 products. HDMI 2.1 products are required to implement at least one or more of the features from the HDMI 2.1 Specification and of course manufacturers have to explicitly state the features supported.
Q: Are older products that were compliant to the HDMI 2.0 Specification required to be compliant
under the HDMI 2.1 Specification?
A: The HDMI 2.1 Specification replaces the HDMI 2.0 Specification and is generally a superset, i.e. an HDMI 2.1 product implementing the same features as a product released during the timeframe of the HDMI 2.0 Specification is expected to behave in the same fashion for those features. However an older product from the HDMI 2.0 timeframe does not need to be retested for compliance using the HDMI 2.1 Compliance Test Specification.
Q: Can older products that are HDMI 2.0 Specification compliant still reference that they are HDMI 2.0 compliant?
A: Yes, as long as alongside where it markets compliance with HDMI 2.0, it lists the supported features.
Q: Can products refer to their feature set as HDMI 2.0?
A: Specification version numbers are not feature sets as the features are optional. Alongside where it markets compliance with the HDMI 2.0 Specification, supported features are to be listed.
Q: Can older HDMI 2.0 Specification compliant products claim to be HDMI 2.1 products even if they did not subsequently get tested and certified for HDMI 2.1?
A: No.
Q: If an HDMI 2.0 Specification compliant product claims it supports an HDMI 2.1 feature that it implemented via a firmware update, does it need to be tested and certified for that HDMI 2.1 feature?
A: Yes. With any change to a product it then becomes a new product, and it is required to be compliant to the HDMI 2.1 specification.
Q: Can a product compliant with the HDMI 1.4b Specification claim to be an HDMI 2.1 device if it only supports and markets a 1.4b feature such as CEC or 4K24
A: No. It must implement at least one feature from the HDMI 2.1 Specification, be in compliance with the HDMI 2.1 Specification, and state which feature(s) are supported.
Q: Are HDMI 1.4b Specification features mandatory or optional?
A: There are minimal requirements that a product has to meet to ensure interoperability between devices. Also, HDMI 2.1 devices are required to be backward compatible with HDMI 1.4b specification.
Please note that HDMI Licensing Administrator, Inc. which is the agent for the HDMI Specifications, monitors noncompliant marketing claims and is responsible for the removal of thousands of misleading postings a year. Postings are either removed completely or corrections are put in place by the manufacturers or resellers. If you have any questions, contact admin@hdmi.org 

  • Valerie Robbins
  • February 06 2022

HDMI® Licensing Administrator, Inc. (HDMI LA) is the agent appointed by the HDMI Forum to license Version 2.1a of the HDMI Specification and is the agent appointed by the HDMI Founders to license earlier HDMI Specifications.

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