Panasonic touted at IFA 2013 today that its 65-inch WT600 4K Ultra HDTV is the world’s first to include the new HDMI 2.0 standard. But recent news from Sony indicates that may not be as big of a deal as Panasonic claims it to be. According to Sony, all of its 4K televisions will be able to be upgraded to HDMI 2.0 by way of a simple firmware update by the end of the year.
HDMI 2.0 is a necessary evolution to the cable standard we’ve all gotten used to. If 4K Ultra HD televisions are going to take off, they’ll need a digital audio/video cable standard that can handle a lot more data at much higher speeds. Some have argued that Displayport could potentially step in as the connection of choice for the next generation of 4K Ultra HD TV’s, but HDMI’s ubiquity and strong support from television manufacturers has always made that a tough argument. And with Sony’s recent announcement at IFA 2013, HDMI’s dominance is pretty much guaranteed, as it turns out that an upgrade to HDMI 2.0 is as simple as a quick download over the Internet.
As part of its news conference, Sony prominently featured the launch of its 4K Video Unlimited service, a new line of 4K TVs, and a 65-inch curved LED television. But tucked in among all those new product announcements was a tiny little blurb on HDMI 2.0. According to Sony, it is prepared to “support the HDMI 2.0 specification on its line-up of 4K Ultra HD televisions with an easy firmware update to be available over the Internet by the end of this year.”
There you have it. HDMI 2.0 is just a firmware update away. Or is it? It’s great to know that some early 4K adopters won’t have to pull out a screwdriver or hire a technician to replace an input board to accommodate a new connector type, but what about cables? Not all HDMI cables are created equal. Will today’s existing high-speed HDMI cables be able to support 4K Ultra HD resolutions at 50/60 FPS with this firmware update, or will a new ultra high-speed cable start appearing in stores shortly?
We may have to wait to find out, but not very long. HDMI Licensing, LLC’s press conference is scheduled for Friday afternoon in Berlin, where we’re sure to get all the details on HDMI 2.0