Lenient HDMI licensing administration policy leads to HDMI 2.0 ports mislabeled as 2.1 ↺
Despite featuring the latest MediaTek Pentonic 1000 SoC, which was announced last year with support for 4x fully featured HDMI 2.1 ports, Sony's and Panasonic's 2023 TVs are still limited to two 48 Gbps inputs. As revealed by Vincent Teoh from HDTVTest, the Pentonic 1000 SoC specifications appear to be different now, supporting only two full bandwidth ports. The confusion arises since the HDMI licensing administration allows for a loophole linked to the depreciation of the HDMI 2.0 standard.
Teoh is showing an excerpt from the official HDMI Q&A, which mentions that the HDMI 2.0 certificates can no longer be obtained. Thus, TV makers can now claim compliance to HDMI 2.1, even if the TV ports are actually HDMI 2.0 without Fixed Rate Link and 48 Gbps speeds. However, the HDMI administration actually requires manufacturers to specify the exact HDMI 2.1 features that are carried from HDMI 2.0. As an example for a confusing spec sheet, Teoh mentions one CES 2023 TV model that is advertised with HDMI 2.1 ports, but two of its ports are 2.0.
LG was strongly criticized when it released the 2020 OLED TV lineup with HDMI 2.1 ports limited to 40 Gbps instead of the full 48 Gbps bandwidth featured on the 2019 versions, but the TV maker learned the lesson in the meantime, now offering up to 4 full bandwidth HDMI 2.1 connections on its popular C and G OLED TV series. Nevertheless, of all the TV makers presenting new models at CES this year, only Samsung is matching LG’s offer.
Granted, one would not really need more than 2 fully featured HDMI 2.1 ports, but it looks like Sony and Panasonic are still offering the audio eARC on one of the HDMI 2.1 ports, essentially rendering it unusable for video signal transfer. TCL is a surprising exception, as it managed to migrate the eARC functionality to an HDMI 2.0 port.