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Source-based tone mapping will be introduced with HDMI 2.1a during the 2022 Consumer Electronics Show, but between that and the newly defined HDMI 2.1, buying cables doesn’t get any easier.

The HDMI Forum announced that HDMI 2.1a will be introduced during CES 2022. The new specification replaces the older HDMI 2.1 specification introduced in 2017, but little changes for customers.

According to The edge, HDMI 2.1a supports source-based tone mapping devices.

The addition means that on Apple TV or PlayStation 5 can perform an HDR tone mapping before sending the data to the TV. Outsourcing processes to the source device could lead to shorter delay times, improved image calibration and better mixed content mapping.

The HDMI forum says this update could be added to devices via a firmware update. Hardware manufacturers can wait to introduce the specification in new products.

The HDMI specification isn’t the easiest to understand. According to the HDMI Forum, manufacturers do not have to adopt any new functions in order to label products with the latest specifications. In early December, the HDMI Forum actually removed the HDMI 2.0 specification and placed all devices that use HDMI 2.0 as a subset of HDMI 2.1, even though HDMI 2.0 devices like the MacBook Pro don’t support some HDMI 2.1 features.

Manufacturers are asked to clearly identify which features a product uses, but it is not always clear. Marketing names can often obscure the real capabilities of a cable or port, and identification tags are not always used.

Customers need to be just as vigilant when purchasing a TV, monitor, or cable to ensure they are getting the right HDMI features. The CES takes place from January 5th to January 8th and AppleInsider will cover the show as it progresses.

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