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The Xbox One X is the first device to support HDMI 2.1

The Xbox One X will support certain HDMI 2.1 features without requiring re-certification. (Source: Xbox Enthusiast)
The Xbox One X will support certain HDMI 2.1 features without requiring re-certification. (Source: Xbox Enthusiast)
At Computex 2018, HDMI showed off some new features of the HDMI 2.1 specification on the Xbox One X. The Xbox One X will be the first device to support HDMI 2.1 features such as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). These features will be coming in an upcoming firmware update to the console and will require compatible TVs for the same.

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HDMI 2.1 is still in its infancy with no new devices certified yet as being fully compliant but apparently the Xbox One X is inherently capable of delivering some of the HDMI 2.1 goodies such as Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM) as was demonstrated during Computex 2018. These features will be enabled via a firmware update to the Xbox One X and will work with compatible TV sets. The best part is that the console itself does not require a re-certification for enabling these features.

While the HDMI 2.1 spec supports a lot more features such as support for up to 10K resolution, [email protected]/[email protected], Quick Frame Transport, Quick Media Switching etc, the Xbox One X will be getting the two most important features that would interest gamers viz. the Variable Refresh Rate (VRR) made possible via AMD Freesync 2 and Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM). VRR will match the refresh rate of the display with the console to prevent screen tearing and deliver smooth visuals. ALLM checks the TV for a suitable game mode setting and automatically switches to that to prevent lag while applying image processing. Additionally, the Microsoft rep in the video says that the console is capable of [email protected] and Dynamic HDR in the near future as it already has the required silicon. A firmware update will be released as and when such content is available. 

There are a few things to be noted from this demonstration. Firstly, existing 18 Gbps HDMI 2.0 devices can be made HDMI 2.1 'capable' if they support one or more HDMI 2.1 specs. There are currently no 100% HDMI 2.1 certified devices in the market as the full 2.1 test spec itself is not available but that should change in 2019. Microsoft's ex-Head of Marketing for Xbox, Albert Penello, also recently tweeted that the Xbox One X need not undergo a full re-certification as long as the hardware supports one or more HDMI 2.1 features. Secondly, you need a compatible TV to realize these features as the hardware 'talks' to the TV to identify which features need to be turned on. While the chances of older TVs getting firmware updates are slim, newer models designed with the HDMI 2.1 spec in mind should be capable of supporting at least some of the features of the new spec.

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Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - Managing Editor - 1392 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2012
Though a cell and molecular biologist by training, I have been drawn towards computers from a very young age ever since I got my first PC in 1998. My passion for technology grew quite exponentially with the times, and it has been an incredible experience from being a much solicited source for tech advice and troubleshooting among family and friends to joining Notebookcheck in 2017 as a professional tech journalist. Now, I am a Lead Editor at Notebookcheck covering news and reviews encompassing a wide gamut of the technology landscape for Indian and global audiences. When I am not hunting for the next big story or taking complex measurements for reviews, you can find me unwinding to a nice read, listening to some soulful music, or trying out a new game.
contact me via: @Geeky_Vaidy
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 07 > The Xbox One X is the first device to support HDMI 2.1
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-07- 4 (Update: 2018-07- 4)