An HDMI 2.1 port has been a must on every gaming TV, especially since the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X. It is now the new standard for image transmission and a significantly higher data transfer rate is possible. As a result, 4K@120Hz is only possible on the new consoles, and they are supported via cable with features like ALLM and VRR. We have summarized which devices are the best TVs with HDMI 2.1 here.
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Best TVs with HDMI 2.1 in comparison
- High luminance
- Rich colors
- Perfect contrast
- Viewing angle stability
- Next-gen gaming
- Slim design
- Wall mount included
- Comes without a base
- No DTS format
- Unparalleled picture quality
- Brilliant colors
- Viewing angle stable
- Extensive equipment
- All gaming features for current game consoles
- No Dolby Vision
- QD OLED panel
- Good reflection behavior
- Solid sound
- Innovative operation
- Dolby Vision
- No HDR10+
- Precise color reproduction
- Brilliant picture quality
- High contrast image with perfect black
- Great reflection behavior
- Everything you need for gaming
- Small risk of burn-in
- Classy 4K TV
- Stunning picture quality
- Vibrant colors
- Superb contrast
- Wide viewing angle
- Nice Reflection Handling
- No cables due to One Connect Box
- Excellent gaming features (144Hz & HDMI 2.1)
- Sophisticated Smart Features
- No headphone jack
- Can get very bright
- Viewing angle stable
- Reflective behavior
- Outstanding gaming features with HDMI 2.1
- Uneven colors (possibly annoying during sports)
- Sharp 8K resolution
- Premium image quality with high contrast
- Natural color reproduction
- Stylish Infinity One design
- No cables due to One Connect Box
- All gaming features available (4x HDMI 2.1)
- Great sound
- Impressive picture quality
- Bright image
- Extended viewing angle
- High color accuracy
- Good gaming features (2x HDMI 2.1)
- Little motion blur
- Smart TV with Google TV
The gaming allrounder: LG OLED evo C27
When it comes to HDMI 2.1, there are many TVs that could share first place. Nevertheless, we chose the LG OLED evo C2 because it offers the best complete package in terms of gaming. Even though HDMI 2.1 connections can also fire devices like Blu-ray players or soundbars, the specifications are especially interesting for gamers.
In addition, the C2 can score with an excellent OLED picture quality and not only let video games shine in all imaginable colors. The processor is powerful enough to guarantee an amazing picture optimization and the 120 Hertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. display can show movements smoothly and without judder – no matter if you are playing sports or gaming.
One of the four HDMI 2.1 ports is an eARC port, which is ideally used to connect a soundbar or another external solution. Audio signals with up to 32 channels can then be transmitted uncompressed via it. This also includes formats like Object-based surround sound format with 3D-Sound from any direction or Multi-channel-sound-system (Surround Sound) competing with Dolby Digital:X, although the latter is not supported by the C2.
LG’s OLED evo G2 only offers a few improvements compared to the C2, but they are mainly related to a difference in brightness and just the exterior. This is because the Gallery model was designed specifically for the wall and can function as a picture frame when the TV is not in use.
However, the differences do not affect the HDMI 2.1 interfaces, because the fancier model also has four of them with all the corresponding functions. Thus, the current consoles are provided with all specifications and an increased data transfer so that they can deliver the best performance.
There is also an eARC port among the four ports here, to which a soundbar can be connected to transmit uncompressed audio signals.
HDMI 2.1 with the One Connect Box: Samsung QN95B
The Samsung Neo QLED QN95B offers a special highlight with the One Connect Box. It is conveniently attached to the LEC/LCD TV’s base and can also be placed elsewhere as desired. One cable goes to the TV, while all other devices are connected directly to the box.
Finally, you will find four full-fledged HDMI 2.1 ports, which can be used to connect various devices and one of which is an HDMI eARC port. You can use it to connect a soundbar or another external solution to receive uncompressed audio formats like Object-based surround sound format with 3D-Sound from any direction.
Gamers can enjoy all the features that HDMI 2.1 ports have to offer, including of course a much higher data transfer rate than an HDMI 2.0 port. This also supplies the current consoles excellently so that hours of gaming fun are ensured.
When it comes to LED TVs, there is a wide range to choose from, and you can happily get lost between them. If you appreciate Samsung’s expertise but are looking for a cheaper alternative, the Samsung Q70B is a good choice.
The TV has a great picture quality, an excellent Smart TV operating system with many apps and also other amenities that one could wish for.
For gamers, the TV is also a good and affordable option as it is a good base for the current consoles. This is due to the HDMI 2.1 ports, which provide all the features you need for the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X.
Here, too, an eARC port offers the possibility to connect a soundbar to be able to transmit audio formats uncompressed.
As a studied technology journalist Tobi likes to write regularly about the colorful world of TV sets & Co. Further interests: Music, cars, gaming, soccer
- Frequently asked questions about HDMI 2.1 connections What are the advantages of HDMI 2.1 connectionWhat are the differences compared to HDMI 2.0?Do I need HDMI 2.1?Can I upgrade to HDMI 2.1?Can I use HDMI 2.1 devices on the TV without an appropriate connection?Do I need a special HDMI 2.1 cable?What is HDMI eARC?
HDMI 2.1 - The new standard of image transmission
With up to 48 gigabits per second
With the new standard, significantly faster transfer rates are now possible, as only 18 gigabits per second were possible with HDMI 2.0. That is a clear step forward! Not even Displayport 1.4, which is very popular with PC gamers and can transfer 32.4 gigabits, can achieve such a transfer rate. As a normal user, you will hardly notice a difference, but it’s a huge game changer for any gamer out there.
This is because the release of the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles ushered in a new era of video gaming where an HDMI 2.1 connection is essential. Yes, the consoles will work even if a TV doesn’t have this port, but it won’t be able to display 4K@120Hz, a value that most gamers won’t want to do without. In addition, 8K@60Hz is transmitted, which is interesting for anyone who wants to call an 8K TV their own.
Dynamic HDR formats in 4K and 8K possible.
In the home theater, an HDMI 2.1 port will attract positive attention when it comes to dynamic High Dynamic Range – image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range) formats like License-free, dynamic HDR-format in competition with Dolby Vision or Dynamic HDR-format with a color depth of up to 12 Bits and Mastering of up to 10,000 Nits. Because if such functions are supported by a TV, every single picture of a movie or series can be calibrated individually, so that the maximum of visual expressiveness is always given. This is now also possible in 4K@120Hz and 8K@60Hz thanks to HDMI 2.1.
Furthermore, the Hertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. is also automatically adjusted to the content being played back. The TV thus automatically detects which frame rate is being played and adjusts the refresh rate, so there are no delays or even picture dropouts when switching between movie and game modes.
Big differences to HDMI 2.0?
There are already televisions that have the (supposedly) new functions such as Auto Low Latency Mode – Automatically detects connected consoles and keeps input lag as low as possible., eARC or Variable Refresh Rate – synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card despite HDMI 2.0 connection. However, HDMI 2.1 makes the innovation of combining all these features in one connection for the first time. Thanks to HDMI 2.1, these functions will no longer be isolated, but will be combined into a new, uniform standard. An HDMI 2.1 connection therefore guarantees the customer that the television he or she is buying has all the features listed in the table above. This provides more clarity and an overview when purchasing a TV set and also guarantees that the TV purchased is suitable for watching films as well as for gaming.
14 and 16 bit color depth
Thanks to HDMI 2.1 it will be possible to reproduce up to 16 bits of colour depth. The problem is that current TV sets support a maximum of 10 bits. In addition, the majority of visual content currently available has a The color depth is measured in Bit. 8 Bit stands for 28 different values for each color channel, for TVs those are red, green and blue. By combining the 3 rgb channels 28*28*28=16.777.216 colors are possible. HDR10 or the dynamic HDR formats work with 10 or even 12 Bit. of only 8 bits. This applies not only to TV shows and Blu-Rays, but also to all PC and console games. To get 10 bit, you not only need a compatible TV, but also compatible content. All stages of production, as well as the hardware for playback, must be coordinated to get ”real” 10 bit color depth. A prerequisite that is currently not given. 16 bit colour depth sounds good in itself. The problem is that, due to the current state of technology, you can hardly get 10 bits in the rarest cases. That means that about the quality differences between 14 and 16 bit colour depth there can’t be nothing said at this point.
Dynamic HDR formats in 4K and 8K for the first time
With Static HDR, static data from the player (Blu-ray player, receiver or console) is transmitted once to the TV set. The TV device applies the data for depth, detail, brightness, contrast and color space and uses these for the entire playback time. With dynamic HDR formats, such as HDR10+, each picture is calibrated individually so that every moment can be given the maximum visual expression. Thanks to HDMI 2.1, it will now be possible to play back 4K at 120 Hertz is the derived SI-unit of frequency with 1Hz=1/s – When talking about TVs this means how many different pictures a TV can display in one second. and 8K at 60 Hz, when using dynamic HDR formats. With the HDMI 2.0 connection, it was also possible to play back dynamic HDR formats, but not with such high frame rates.
Automatic adjustment of the refresh rate with QMS
The Quick Media Switching Function (QMS) of HDMI 2.1 allows for the first time that TV sets can switch between different frame rates without delay. The TV automatically detects which frame rate the content being played back has and adjusts the refresh rate accordingly. QMS thus enables a smooth transition between 24 Hz, 60 Hz or 120 Hz. This eliminates picture drop-outs or annoying delays that can occur when switching. The constant change from Game to Film Mode is obsolete, as the TV will be able to make this change automatically and find the appropriate frame rate for each signal.
HDMI 2.1 – Perfect for gamers
HDMI 2.1 supports VRR. This means that the television can immediately match the refresh rate from the panel with that of the source device. This results in a strong reduction of frame tearing and judder, as well as a reduction of the input lag. VRR is an essential feature for gamers and is already included in HDMI 2.0, but not in the higher resolutions and refresh rates. The Samsung Q70R for example, which has an HDMI 2.0 input, has a VRR range of 48-60Hz at 4K. With HDMI 2.1, VRR will also be possible at 4K with 120 Hz and 8K with 60 Hz. However, if the connection from the TV does not have the necessary bandwidth, an update to HDMI 2.1 will unfortunately not be possible.
HDMI 2.1 also has a Quick Frame Transport function (QFT). QFT significantly reduces the input lag and takes VR gaming to a new level by eliminating any delays between input and playback. Thanks to HDMI 2.1, the player’s movements can be captured and displayed immediately.
Thanks to the Auto Low Latency Mode function (ALLM), manual switching to gaming mode is a thing of the past. As soon as you switch on your console, ALLM automatically selects the ideal mode that guarantees the lowest latency. There are already some TVs that have this function. Despite their HDMI 2.0 connection. However, thanks to HDMI 2.1, ALLM will become the new standard for all TV sets.
HDMI 2.1 unfortunately only allows VRR, QFT and ALLM if the source device also has these functions. Currently there is no console on the market that offers all of the above features. However, the new generation of consoles will have the necessary equipment.
Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
ARC (Audio Return Channel) is part of the HDMI standard since HDMI 1.4. With ARC you can connect all source devices, such as consoles or Blu-Ray players directly to the TV and connect the TV to the receiver with a single HDMI cable. This enables bidirectional communication between the receiver and the TV set.
The limited bandwidth of the current ARC standard (1 Mbps) limits the quality of the audio that can be sent over the return channel. This makes it impossible to send high quality uncompressed audio to the receiver. The new ARC standard, which will be part of HDMI 2.1 and is called eARC, increases the bandwidth of the ARC channel from 1 Mbps to 37 Mbps. This significant increase in bandwidth allows the transmission of uncompressed 5.1 and 7.1 sound, such as DTS-HD or Dolby TrueHD, which are often the carrier signals for Object-based surround sound format with 3D-Sound from any direction and Multi-channel-sound-system (Surround Sound) competing with Dolby Digital:X. In short, thanks to HDMI 2.1, consumers who use a high-quality soundbar or hi-fi system can expect a significant increase in audio quality.
The right HDMI cable
Even if you have an HDMI 2.1 capable TV and a compatible source device, you won’t get any advantages of HDMI 2.1 if you don’t have an ”Ultra High Speed” cable. The predecessor model ”Premium High Speed” is used with HDMI 2.0 and is characterized by a data rate of 18 GBit/s. The maximum picture format that could be transferred with the Premium High Speed cable was 4K at 60 Hz. This is no longer sufficient for HDMI 2.1. You need the Ultra High Speed cable to be able to use all the functions and play back 4K at 120 Hz and 8K at 60 Hz. If you want to upgrade to HDMI 2.1, you have to make sure that you are equipped with the appropriate cables.
For whom is HDMI 2.1 worthwhile?
If you look closely, you quickly realize that HDMI 2.1 doesn’t offer that many new features. The big difference to HDMI 2.0 is that HDMI 2.1 makes all the features of its predecessor much better and combines them in one connection. The almost threefold increase in data transfer rate enables a huge leap forward in terms of resolution, refresh rates and audio and picture quality. A leap that is so great that there is no adequate hardware and content basis for it. There are currently no movie and video game players that can take advantage of the massive bandwidth and all the features of HDMI 2.1. The HDMI 2.1 connection will therefore only be able to develop its full potential over time. Whether HDMI 2.1 and the associated playback of 8K is even reasonable for the regular consumer is explained in our article about the double-blind study.
Many of the features that HDMI 2.1 offers are primarily beneficial to gamers. Apart from eARC, customers who Many of the functions that HDMI 2.1 offers are primarily advantageous for gamers. Apart from eARC, customers who want to use their TV for watching TV or movies only need HDMI 2.1 to a limited extent. Nevertheless, a TV that has an HDMI 2.1 port is more future-proof.
Frequently asked questions about HDMI 2.1 connections
An HDMI port is not a full-fledged HDMI 2.1 port until it fully meets the following specifications:
- 4K@120Hz / 8K@60Hz
- Dynamic High Dynamic Range – image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range)
- Up to 48 GBit/s
- Variable Refresh Rate – synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card, QMS & QFT
- Auto Low Latency Mode – Automatically detects connected consoles and keeps input lag as low as possible.
What these specifications are exactly and what added value they have, we have already summarized in a video.
The biggest difference between HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 is that the functions such as Auto Low Latency Mode – Automatically detects connected consoles and keeps input lag as low as possible., eARC or Variable Refresh Rate – synchronizes the display’s refresh rate with the output refresh rate of the graphics card are now all combined via one connection. This was not the case before, even though many of the functions are already available in 2.0. However, that’s not the case with every TV either, and an HDMI 2.1 port gives the buyer the guarantee that all the specifications that make up a 2.1 port are actually present.
Of course, the data transfer rate is also much higher. HDMI 2.0 could only transfer 18 gigabits per second, while HDMI 2.1 is almost three times as much at 48 gigabits. HDMI 2.1 thus also beats Displayport 1.4, which was previously the fastest with 32.4 gigabits per second.
It all depends on what you want to use your TV for. If you don’t want to play games on your TV, but mainly want to use it for movies and series, then you don’t need a full HDMI 2.1 port. In that case, however, you should make sure that High Dynamic Range – image/video with more dynamic range (contrast range) formats like License-free, dynamic HDR-format in competition with Dolby Vision or Dynamic HDR-format with a color depth of up to 12 Bits and Mastering of up to 10,000 Nits are supported. Furthermore, an HDMI eARC port should be available if you want a good sound and want to use a soundbar. Of course, the suitable hardware should be given to get the best experience.
The whole thing changes when using the TV mostly for gaming, because then the other previously mentioned specifications are also relevant to really tease everything out of the new consoles. Although the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X also work without an HDMI 2.1 port, 4K@120Hz cannot be achieved then. We have summarized this in more detail for you in this video.
No, unfortunately that is not possible. If you have a TV that only has an HDMI 2.0 port, it is not possible to turn it into an HDMI 2.1 port with a possible update. A corresponding controller must be installed in the TV so that it can receive and decode HDMI 2.1 signals.
A good example of this is the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X consoles, which are all equipped with an HDMI 2.1 port. Both consoles also run excellently when the TV does not have an HDMI 2.1 port. However, you can then only achieve 4K@60Hz, since a higher data transfer is not possible. The same applies to other HDMI 2.1 devices. A connection is not a problem, but you will have to reckon with performance restrictions.
The market now offers many HDMI 2.1 cables, but this is not a binding specification. The only reliable specification that should be found on a new cable is HDMI ULTRA HIGH SPEED. This ensures that the HDMI 2.1 data rate of 48 gigabits per second is transmitted.
The abbreviation eARC stands for Enhanced Audio Return Channel and can be seen as the successor of the ARC connection, which has already existed since HDMI 1.4. The eARC connection is needed to forward high-resolution sound formats like Object-based surround sound format with 3D-Sound from any direction or Multi-channel-sound-system (Surround Sound) competing with Dolby Digital:X uncompressed to a sound system. A corresponding cable can also be used in both directions. A player, such as a BluRay player, passes the audio-video signal to the HDMI input of a connected soundbar. This in turn sends the AV signal to the TV, which then sends the audio signal back to the soundbar via the same cable.