1.4 is NOT High Speed

Published: 12/04/2015

Although we have already covered this in our FAQ I thought it important to cover again the differences of high speed and standard speed HDMI and where they fit within HDMI version numbers.

It is very concerning especially to receive calls like this from installers, two of the three had already installed the cables into the customers premises. For the one who hadn’t installed the cables the customer had called me to ask which cables they should use, a short while later I got a call from the installer.

The customer was specifically interested in making sure that the installed HDMI cables would be future proof, he specifically asked about 4k (Ultra HD) resolutions. The installer, as with many people believed that all 1.4 specced HDMI cables would be fine for this purpose. I asked if they were high speed cables and they replied ‘yes, they are 1.4’. Same sort of answer I've had from almost all installers and many others in the past.

So let’s cover this again briefly, 1.4 spec does not designate a cable as high speed. High speed HDMI, which is an absolute requirement for 4k (ultra HD), existed before 1.4 HDMI specification. HDMI 1.4 cables can be either standard speed or high speed. If you are running cables loosely, outside walls, it won’t matter to much as you can change them. If you are running your cables in walls and cavities howeverit's very unlikely you want to purchase and lay new cables again in the near future.

Last thought on high speed, despite labelling, there are very few true high speed HDMI cables available in the 7m+ range. A simple and easy way to tell is to look for some type of passive electronic booster somewhere on the cable or built into the HDMI plug. If there isn’t one there then it’s extremely unlikely that it’s a high speed cable, even though the packaging might say otherwise