The question of whether we need a special HDMI cable for 4K is a loaded question. It may depend upon a lot of factors. It is not a simple matter of installing PicoBlade 1.25mm Connectors. There are a lot of moving parts.
If you are looking for a simple answer, then it is negative, you do not need a new HDMI cable for your 4K TV. There are a lot of comments online about this issue. One can extract empirical data from several articles that are present online.
To know how we can avoid overspending on cables, first, we will familiarize ourselves with HDMI cables.
High-Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI as they are commonly known are cables that connect video/audio source to a Projector or a TV. You have got a high resolution from a single cable that can drive mechanisms such as Blu-ray Player, PlayStation, X-Box, and HD Cable Box.
HDMI has continuously been in development. There have been innovations in the workings of HDMI cable. Some amount of tweaking over the past decade has increased the resolution by quite a bit. It can support 720p, 1080p, 2K, 4K, and deep color.
HDMI has the same support for higher resolution. It means that even an older cable can also support video like 720p and 1080p. You do not have to typically go out of your way to purchase a new cable every time you buy a new TV or upgrade your equipment.
The different variant of the HDMI cables are:
Standard HDMI Cable:
An older version of an HDMI cable can transmit 720p and the more appealing 1080p. They were the first of their kind to send both audio and video in high definition, using a single cable.
HDMI Ethernet Cable:
This version had an added advantage of offering internet accessibility. It is mostly in use for PlayStation, which needs internet accessibility, thus has to be connected separately. It eliminated the need for a separate cable. It can connect a device and the network without a third-party device.
After the resolution started going up, it became crucial for a cable to support new formats such as 3D. It was about this time that the concept of 4K was on display. The higher resolution made it more user-friendly, especially for the gamers.
HDMI Active Cable:
A booster chip is installed in the cable to make sure that the signals are consistent even at a greater distance. It proved useful even at greater distances than 20 meters. So now you have the option of placing your devices according to your wishes. It has a slight drawback that the bandwidth deteriorates after a certain distance.
Automotive HDMI Cable
This cable has higher data transfer capabilities and is more commonly in use where 3D and 4K resolution is required. It can only connect to devices that support automotive function.
HDMI Premium Cable
The HDMI licensing industry has explicitly created them for 4K Ultra HD. The cables are tested thoroughly to be able to comply with any future use. They can handle newer formats such as HDR, 4K60, and deep color. In addition to that, they have the Premium HDMI Cable Certification Program for validation. It helps in combating piracy.
What are Features Essential for a 4K TV?
An HDMI cable can easily handle a 4K and HDR. The problem is that as the resolution increase, fewer and fewer cables can adjust to the bandwidth. If for example a cable is not rated for higher bandwidth than you will get loss of quality.
A high-speed cable can comfortably grip your data stream comfortably. You have to be careful that all the other equipment is working in tandem with the display screen. If you are using the 4K signal at one end and the same resolution receiver on the other, than the picture quality, will be exceptional. If that is not the case, then no matter how many cables you change, it will not make a difference.
An HDMI cable has only two points of failure. Firstly, if it is not working, then you will not get any signal. There is no in-between, like in the old TV wires, where you would get the picture in various stages of degradation before the quality got good. In such a scenario you will have to check all your equipment first. Only after that, you can ascertain that the HDMI cable is not working. You can also check your plug socket. Some TV has only one 4K compatible outlet.
The second issue is that of sparkles. It is snow like static or sudden flashes of pixels. It is an indication that you need to check and change the wires. Most of the time, the source and visual screen are not far away from each other. Therefore you only need a few meters of cable. However, on occasion, one might need a longer wire. On that occasion, a cheap wire will not work. The quality will be not up to the mark. So to enhance it you will have to consider:
1. Optical fiber:
This sort of wire will provide higher bandwidth over a considerable distance. You can buy them at the supplies store. It will work fine with your 4K setup.
2. HDMI Active Cable:
They have the capability of enhancing the signal due to small chips installed in them. These chips do not need an external source of energy. Instead, they draw power from the connectors device.
You can always go wireless. It will save you the trouble of all the wires and connectors. Although they will prove to be far more expensive than cables.
Buying and installing a 4K video is quite a feat in the modern age. There are a lot of dynamics that you need to consider before switching over. However, HDMI cable is not big of an issue. Most of the time, what you in your possession will work with the newer model TV such as 4K or 3D. You only need to gather information through proper channels.