HDMI 2.0 vs. 2.1 for PS5

HDMI 2.0 vs. 2.1 for PS5

Plugging your PS5 into a display might seem like a simple task, but the cable you choose can significantly impact your gaming experience. Enter HDMI, the high-definition multimedia interface that transmits video and audio signals between your console and your TV. But with different versions available, like HDMI 2.0 and the newer 2.1, understanding the distinctions can be tricky. This guide dives deep into the differences between these two versions and helps you decide which one is the right fit for your PS5 setup.

PS5 and HDMI

The good news is that the PS5 itself boasts an HDMI 2.1 port, ready to handle the latest advancements in visual fidelity. However, to truly unlock the PS5’s full potential, both your cable and TV need to be compatible with HDMI 2.1. Using an older HDMI 2.0 cable or TV with your PS5 might bottleneck its capabilities, leaving some impressive features on the table.

HDMI 2.0 vs. 2.1: Key Differences

Now, let’s delve into the nitty-gritty: what exactly sets these two HDMI versions apart? Here’s a breakdown of the key differences.


Imagine a highway – the wider the lanes, the more traffic it can handle. Similarly, bandwidth in HDMI refers to the amount of data it can transmit per second. HDMI 2.0 offers a bandwidth of 18 Gbps (gigabits per second), which was pretty impressive a few years ago. However, HDMI 2.1 kicks things up a notch with a whopping 48 Gbps bandwidth. This significant jump allows for smoother visuals and features that weren’t possible before.

Resolution and Frame Rates

Resolution refers to the number of pixels displayed on your screen, while frame rate determines how many frames are displayed per second. Both of these factors contribute to the overall smoothness and detail of your gameplay. Here’s how HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 fare.

HDMI 2.0

This version can handle resolutions up to 4K (3840 x 2160 pixels) at a maximum frame rate of 60fps (frames per second). While this is still impressive, some modern games push the boundaries by offering higher frame rates for a more responsive and fluid experience.

HDMI 2.1

Here’s where things get exciting. HDMI 2.1 unlocks the potential for stunning 8K resolution (7680 x 4320 pixels) at a smooth 60fps. This translates to incredibly sharp and detailed visuals, making you feel like you’re right in the middle of the action. Additionally, HDMI 2.1 supports 4K resolution at a blazing-fast 120fps. This higher frame rate delivers buttery-smooth gameplay, especially in fast-paced action titles.

Other Features

Beyond resolution and frame rates, HDMI 2.1 boasts some additional features that enhance your gaming experience.

Variable Refresh Rate (VRR)

This technology synchronizes the refresh rate of your display with the frame rate of your PS5. This eliminates screen tearing, a visual glitch that can occur when the two rates are out of sync, resulting in a smoother and more visually pleasing experience.

Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM)

This feature automatically optimizes your TV’s settings for the lowest possible input lag, minimizing the delay between your controller actions and what you see on the screen. This is crucial for competitive gamers where every millisecond counts.

Do You Need HDMI 2.1 for PS5?

HDMI 2.0 vs. 2.1 for PS5

Here’s the million-dollar question: do you absolutely need HDMI 2.1 for your PS5? The answer depends on your gaming preferences and setup. If smooth, high frame rate gameplay is your jam, especially in competitive titles, then an HDMI 2.1 setup is a must.

Check your TV’s specifications. If it only has HDMI 2.0 ports and a 60Hz refresh rate, upgrading to HDMI 2.1 won’t unlock its full potential. However, if you plan on purchasing a new TV soon, consider future-proofing your setup by getting one with HDMI 2.1 support.

As next-gen games continue to evolve, they might push the limits of HDMI 2.0.

Visualizing the Difference 

Imagine this: You’re playing a fast-paced shooter on your PS5. With an HDMI 2.0 setup, the visuals might be crisp at 4K resolution, but during intense moments, you might notice a slight stutter or screen tearing as the frame rate struggles to keep up.

Now, picture the same scenario with an HDMI 2.1 setup. The action unfolds seamlessly, with buttery-smooth movements and incredible detail thanks to the higher frame rate and bandwidth. It’s like the difference between watching a slideshow and a smooth, high-definition movie.

Choosing the Right Cable

So, you’ve decided to upgrade to HDMI 2.1. Great choice! But before you grab the first cable you see, there’s one more thing to consider: cable certification. Look for cables with the HDMI 2.1 certification logo. These cables are guaranteed to meet the bandwidth and feature requirements of the HDMI 2.1 standard. While some non-certified cables might work, they can be unreliable and limit the performance of your PS5.

Cost Considerations 

Upgrading to HDMI 2.1 might involve some additional costs for a new cable and potentially a new TV. However, consider it an investment in your gaming experience. High-quality HDMI 2.1 cables can range from $20 to $50, while TVs with HDMI 2.1 ports might be slightly more expensive than their HDMI 2.0 counterparts. But the enhanced visuals, smoother gameplay, and future-proofing benefits can be well worth the investment.

Final Thoughts

Choosing the right HDMI connection for your PS5 can significantly impact your gaming experience. While HDMI 2.0 offers decent performance, HDMI 2.1 unlocks the full potential of your console, allowing you to experience stunning visuals at high frame rates and enjoy features like VRR and ALLM. Consider your gaming preferences, current setup, and budget when making your decision.


Q. Will an HDMI 2.1 cable work with an HDMI 2.0 port?
A. Yes, an HDMI 2.1 cable is backward compatible and will work with older HDMI 2.0 ports. However, you won’t be able to unlock the full capabilities of HDMI 2.1, like 8K resolution or 120fps, on devices with older ports.

Q. Do I need a new TV to use HDMI 2.1?
A. Not necessarily. If your current TV has an HDMI 2.1 port and a high refresh rate (120Hz or higher), you can utilize the full potential of HDMI 2.1 with a compatible cable.

Q. Can I use an older HDMI cable with my PS5?
A. Technically, yes. An older HDMI cable will still transmit a signal, but you’ll be limited to the capabilities of that cable (most likely HDMI 2.0). This means you might miss out on features like VRR and potentially experience lower frame rates.

Q. What are some good HDMI 2.1 cable brands?
A. Several reputable brands offer high-quality HDMI 2.1 cables. Some popular options include Belkin, RocketCable, UltraHD, and AmazonBasics (certified version).

Q. Is it worth upgrading to HDMI 2.1 now, even if I don’t have a next-gen TV yet?
A. If you plan on purchasing a new TV soon or want to future-proof your setup for upcoming next-gen games, then upgrading to an HDMI 2.1 cable is a wise decision. It ensures compatibility with future advancements in gaming technology.