How to Check HDMI Cable Version?

When connecting two multimedia devices, it is very important to be aware of what kind of HDMI cable you have.

As the resolution and refresh rates being featured by display devices such as monitors and TVs are getting higher and higher, so is the requirement for better HDMI cables.

Hence, the question “how to check HDMI cable version” is becoming more and more relevant these days.

Fortunately, there are few methods that you can employ to check what kind of HDMI cable you have.

However, before we delve into that, it is important to understand a few key concepts regarding HDMI interface, version and HDMI cables.

HDMI Interface Version is Not the Same as HDMI Cable Type

For starters, it is important to understand that the HDMI interface version is not the same as HDMI cable version.

HDMI version of the input and the output ports located on the source device (PC, gaming console etc) and on the display device (TV, monitor, projector) define the capabilities of the HDMI interface.

For instance, HDMI version 1.4 ports can offer upto 4K resolution at 30 Hz refresh rate. HDMI 2.0 ports can support upto 4K resolution at 60Hz refresh rate.

The version of the HDMI ports is the primary consideration when determining whether your video connectivity will support certain resolution and refresh rate.

The following table shows the different HDMI versions, their max resolution and refresh rate as well as the maximum bandwidth they can support.

HDMI VersionMax ResolutionMax Refresh RateMax Bandwidth
(Gbit/s)
Effective Bandwidth
(Gbit/s)
HDR?Audio Technology
Supported
HDMI 1.01080p1080p @ 60 Hz4.953.96No- 8 Audio Channels
HDMI 1.1/1.21440p1440p @ 30 Hz4.953.96No- 8 Audio Channels
-Super Audio CDs
HDMI 1.3/1.44096 x 2160 (4K)120 Hz @ FHD Resolution
30 Hz @ 4k Resolution
24 Hz @ 4k Resolution
10.28.16No- 8 Audio Channels
- ARC
- Dolby TrueHD
- DTS-HD
HDMI 2.04096 x 2160 (4K)60 Hz @ 4K Resolution1814.40Yes- 32 audio channels,
- Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA)
- High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC)
HDMI 2.1Upto 10240 x 4320 (10K)Upto 120Hz @ 10K4842.67Yes- 32 audio channels
- eARC

HDMI interface version IS NOT THE SAME AS HDMI Cable version. 

Basically, the version of the HDMI ports should not be confused with that of the HDMI cable.

Also Read: How to Check the Version of the HDMI PORT?

HDMI Cable Versions (or Types Rather)

Technically speaking, there is no such thing as HDMI Cable VERSION. HDMI cables do not have controllers or ICs with software and drivers that can be updated.

HDMI cables are nothing but wires that carry signal from one port to the other.

However, it is the quality of the wiring inside that determines what TYPE of cable a particular HDMI cable is in terms of PERFORMANCE STANDARDS.

The performance standard of an HDMI cable may differ and hence certain HDMI cables may not be able to carry a high data rate generated by the newer HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 ports.

A few years back when the only prevalent HDMI interface was 1.4, there was only one type of performance category of HDMI cables. Hence, choosing a the right HDMI cable wasn’t quite an issue.

However, with the ever increasing rate of data, changes had to be made to HDMI cables as well. Cables now days carry performance certifications given to them by HDMI.org itself.

The following table shows the TYPES of HDMI cables defined by their performance standards.

HDMI Standard
Certification
Max Data Rate
Supported
Specs SupportedBest Port
Standard4.95 Gb/s720 or 1080P @ 60Hz<1.4
High Speed10.2 Gb/sFHD @ 60Hz
QHD @ 60Hz
4K @ 30Hz
1.4
Premium High Speed18 Gb/s4k @ 60Hz2.0
Ultra High Speed48 Gb/s4K @ 60Hz
8K @ 120Hz
10K @ 120hz
2.1

Again, it is worth noting here that while related, the HDMI port/interface version should not be confused as HDMI cable type.

Hence, there is no such thing as HDMI 2.0 cable or HDMI 2.1 cable. There is Premium High Speed certified cable that is CAPABLE of supporting HDMI 2.0 specs and there is Ultra High Speed certified cable that is capable of supporting HDMI 2.1 specs.

People often refer to Premium High Speed and Ultra High Speed cables as HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1 cables respectively, which can make sense to the experts but can be highly confusing to newbies.

Also Read: What Does HDMI Cable Look Like?

So How to Check HDMI Cable Version?

Now that you understand all the important jargon, we can tackle the question in hand, how to check HDMI cable version or rather the HDMI cable type based on its performance certification.

Unfortunately, all HDMI cables looks the same visually. In other words, you won’t be able to tell the difference between a Standard or an Ultra High Speed HDMI cable by just looking at it.

Additionally, as mentioned earlier, HDMI cables do not have any drivers, IC or controllers. Hence you cannot check out their type or how much bandwidth they can carry from within your PC or through a software.

So the options you have to check what HDMI cable you have are quite limited.

Here are two methods that can work.

1. Checking the Performance Specifications of the Cable

You can check what type of HDMI cable you have by looking at its performance specifications.

There are three ways to go about this. You can check its

  1. Data Rate Specification
  2. Resolution and Refresh Rate Specification
  3. Performance Certification

If your HDMI cable’s package or its listing highlights any one these, you would know what version of cable you have.

You will need to have the package or the technical specsheet of the cable though.

Deducing Cable Type through Data Rate:

The Data Rate is provided in terms of Gbit/s, Gb/s or Gbps. Hence if an HDMI cable has rated Gbit/s of 10.2, you have a High Speed HDMI cable capable of supporting upto 4K @ 30Hz.

Similarly, if the HDMI cable is rated at 18 Gbit/s, then you have a Premium Ultra High Speed cable that is suitable for HDMI 2.0 ports or for 4K @ 60Hz TVs and monitors.

Deducing Cable Type through Resolution and Refresh Rate:

Similarly, you can deduce what HDMI cable type you have through its rated resolution and refresh rate.

If a cable is listed with specs as 4K @ 30Hz, then you have a High Speed HDMI cable which is good for HDMI 1.4 port.

Similarly, if a cable offers 4K @ 60Hz, then you have a Premium High Speed cable which is good for HDMI 2.0 ports.

Identifying Cable Type through Performance Certification:

HDMI.org provides performance certification to certain brands of HDMI cables.

These cables can be identified through a label on their packaging. The following are certification labels provided by HDMI.org.

Standard HDMI logo
Standard HDMI
High Speed HDMI
High Speed HDMI
Premium
Premium HDMI
HDMI Ultra High Speed
HDMI Ultra High Speed

Note that, Premium High Speed and Ultra High Speed certified cables have a QR code on the label that can be scanned to verify their certification.

How to Check HDMI Cable Version
Belkin Ultra High Speed with the certification label on the packaging.

Additionally, Premium High Speed and Ultra High Speed cables may also have the labels printed on the cable jacket itself. Other times, you may find the specification labelled on top of the connector.

Ultra High Speed Cable Connector
Specs and certification labelled on the connector itself.

Also Read: Are All HDMI Cables 4K?

2. Checking what HDMI Cable You Have Through Trial And Error

This is more of a brute force method.

If you have misplaced or lost the package of your HDMI cable – which you most certainly would have if it you have an old cable in hand – and if the cable has no labels on it whatsoever, then the only way to check what version it is is through trial and error.

As a rule of thumb, almost all HDMI cables are compliant with the specs of HDMI 1.4. Therefore, carrying 1080p @ 60Hz or 4K @ 30Hz is not an issue for even the most basic and old HDMI cables.

The issue comes up when connecting newer TVs and monitors that feature extreme specs such as 4K @ 60Hz or 4K @ 120Hz or even 8K.

To connect to a 4K@60Hz TV, you will need to have at least a Premium High Speed. So the only way to check if the cable you have in hand actually supports this is to do some trial and error.

Checking if You Have a Premium High Speed Cable

To check if you have a Premium High Speed Cable (aka HDMI 2.0 cable, 18 Gbit/s cable):

  1. Check if the cable works on a Full HD (1080) PC monitor or a Full HD TV
  2. Then check again if the cable works in your 4K@60Hz TV or monitor.

If the cable works in first instance but fails completely and shows a blank screen in the second instance, then you DO NOT have a Premium High Speed cable.

Additionally, if the cable works in the second instance, but the specs are capped at 4K @ 30Hz, then again you do NOT have a Premium High Speed cable.

You most probably have a High Speed 10.2 Gbit/s HDMI cable.

It is important to check the cable on a Full HD monitor or TV first in order to establish whether the cable is faulty or not to begin with.

Checking If You Have an Ultra High Speed Cable

You can follow the similar trial and error method to check if you have an Ultra High Speed (HDMI 2.1) cable.

  1. Check if the cable works on a Full HD (1080) PC monitor or a Full HD TV
  2. Check if the cable works on your 4K @ 120Hz, or your 8K TV or monitor.

Again if the cable works in the first instance, then firstly we can deduce is that it is not faulty.

If it does not work on the second instance, then you either have a High Speed or a Premium High Speed cable.

Again, in order for you to conclude that you have an Ultra High Speed cable, not only does the TV or monitor have to run, it must run at specs HIGHER than 4K @ 60 Hz!

Also Read: Do HDMI Cables Have Different Ends?

FAQ

How to Tell if HDMI Cable is 2.0?

HDMI Cable 2.0 is the colloquial term for Premium High Speed cables that can support the specs of HDMI 2.0 interface.

As mentioned above, the easiest way to tell if you have an HDMI cable is to look at its specs either through its listing online, or through the package it came in.

HDMI 2.0 cables should have any of these highlighted in its specs:

  • Name/Label: Premium High Speed
  • Specs: 4K @ 60 Hz
  • Data Rate: 18 Gbit/s (Gb/s, Gbps)

It may also have certification label provided by HDMI.org as follows:

Premium
Premium HDMI

The other way to know is to test the cable yourself. Plug it into your 4K HDMI monitor or TV and check the refresh rate it caps at. If it caps at 30Hz, then you have an older HDMI 1.4 cable. If it caps at 60Hz then you have an HDMI 2.0 cable.

Also Read: Is HDMI Backwards Compatible?

How to Tell if HDMI Cable is 2.1?

You can follow the same idea as above.

HDMI 2.1 cables have the following specs either highlighted on their listing or on their package:

  • Name/Label: Ultra High Speed
  • Specs: 8K @ 120Hz or 4K @ 120Hz
  • Data Rate: 48 Gbit/s (Gb/s, Gbps)

They also have may carry the following certification label:

HDMI Ultra High Speed
HDMI Ultra High Speed

You can also test your cable on your 4K @ 120Hz TV and see if it works and if it is actually operating at 120Hz or not.

Also Read: Does it Matter Which HDMI Port I Use?

Final Words

This article aimed to serve as a comprehensive guide on how to check HDMI cable version.

Basically, identifying a High Speed or HDMI 1.4 cable is not an issue at all since all HDMI cables are backwards compatible and are technically compliant with 1.4 specs at the very least.

The issue is with identifying whether an HDMI cable is 2.0 or 2.1 (Premium High Speed or Ultra High Speed).

This can generally be done through reading the specs on the listing or on the packaging. If you have misplaced the packaging or if you can’t find the listing, then the only other way it to test it yourself.

If you have anything more to add, or if I have missed something of value in this article, please let me know in the comments below.

Also Read: What is HDMI Input Used For?

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Author:

Atif Qazi
Atif Qazi is the founder of PCGuide101. He is a digital nomad who loves everything PC. He is a PC builder, tech enthusiast, engineer, and a lover of single player lore-rich RPG games.

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