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Can I Use A 4K HDMI Cable On A Non 4K TV?

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Can I use a 4K HDMI cable on a non 4K TV? It’s always confusing trying to figure out if a 4K cable would work on your non-4k TV, but the answer is quite simple.

“HDMI cables” are HDMI cables regardless of whatever name is attached to them.

Except it is an HDMI cable with an Ethernet connector, all HDMI cables are practically the same and support HDMI versions down to 1.4.

HDMI

Most of the terms you hear and see when you what to shop for cables and appliances are just “Marketing Strategies.”

With the advent of 4K resolution, 4K TVs, and 4K displays, manufacturers try to lure people into believing that they need special “4K cables” to connect such high-end systems.

Meanwhile, in the real sense, any compatible cable can work for the connection.

Interestingly, this article explains 4K resolution on TVs and how can connect such TVs via HDMI.

What’s a 4K TV?

A 4K TV is a television that outputs 3,840 pixels in its horizontal axis and 2,160 pixels in its vertical axis. This type of TV is currently the best in the market (since 8K resolution is not yet official).

4K TVs offer clearer and better pictures than HDTVs (which are based on 1080p resolution).

However, as 4K TVs are becoming widely adopted and increasingly popular, a lot of myths and controversies have emerged regarding such TVs.

Mainly, modern TVs feature HDMI ARC, which allows the user to use a single HDMI for video and audio transmission.

HDMI ARC is a feature introduced in HDMI v1.4, which is the commonest HDMI version supported by most modern televisions, including the 4K models.

Now, there are controversies about regular HDMI cables not being compatible with 4K TVs, below is the demystification of such controversies.

What are 4K HDMI Cables?

The phrase “4K HDMI Cable” is practically a marketing term to push people to buy what seems to be regular HDMI cables at hiked prices because of the “4k” inclusion.

If your TV supports HDMI v1.4 or newer versions up to HDMI v2.0, you definitely do not need a special 4K cable to connect the TV to your other device.

But if you’ve got the 4K HDMI already and you’re thinking of whether it’d work on your HDTV or another non-4k TV, then the answer is YES.

Can I use a 4K HDMI cable on a non 4K TV?

There are just four types of HDMI cables, and there is nothing like a “4K HDMI Cable.” The four types are:

  • High-Speed HDMI cables without Ethernet: Supports 4K resolution at 60Hz
  • High-Speed HDMI cables with Ethernet: Supports 4K at 60Hz
  • Standard Speed HDMI with Ethernet: Supports 720p and 1080p at 30Hz
  • Standard Speed cables without Ethernet: Supports 720p and 1080p at 30Hz

Well, some high-speed cables support up to 120Hz speed – they are called “Ultra High-Speed HDMI Cables” and they are good for applications where speed is needed.

As you can see from above, there is no such thing as a 4K HDMI cable, it’s merely a marketing “Lingo.”

Coming back to the question, the answer depends on the type of cable you got. Since you both it as a 4K HDMI cable, it is assumable that the cable is a High-Speed HDMI cable, so, it can connect to 4k TVs and non-4K TVs.

In contrast, if the cable speed is poor, that’s when you may need to opt-in for an HDMI cable that has more speed.

The connectors are the same (as long as it is not an HDMI cable with Ethernet).

Standard cables are cheaper, but the price difference between them and High-Speed cables isn’t much, so you should rule off getting Standard cables and go for High Speed instead.

Also, there is nothing like an HDMI 2.0 cable, that’s another marketing slang, don’t fall for it. 

The only place HDMI 2.0 matters is when you’re looking to get specific, latest HDMI features, and it has nothing to do with HDMI, instead, it’s all about your TV or soundbar.

It is your TV or soundbar that needs to support HDMI 2.0, not the cable you use. If your TV or soundbar supports HDMI 2.0, any HDMI cable you use would work.

Understanding HDMI Versions

The most important HDMI versions are HDMI v1.4, v2.0, and the newest v2.1. These versions introduce specific features.

Older TVs support HDMI v1.4 (not really old TVs, but TVs manufactured between 2009 – 2015), while newer models from 2019 support HDMI 2.0 or 2.1.

Now, you may want to ask about the difference between these HDMI versions, right? HDMI 1.4 introduces a core feature called ARC – Audio Return Channel.

This feature allows sending audio and video signals over a single HDMI connection; however, it didn’t support premium audio tracks.

HDMI 2.0 fixed the issue by supporting premium audio qualities, including Dolby Atmos and DTX. The newest version, HDMI 2.1 comes with much more improvement to the features on the previous versions.

HDMI Connector Interfaces

HDMI Connector Interfaces
Photo Credit: Wikipedia

Now, this is something you should be worried about – the connector interface on your device. There are four HDMI connector interfaces:

  • Type A Connector
  • Type B Connector
  • Type C Connector
  • Type D Connector
  • Type E Connector

HDMI Type A and B are the commonest, they were introduced with the first versions of HDMI. Type C is smaller than Type A and B, and it was introduced with HDMI 1.3.

The newer connectors, Type D and E are very small. Your TV is most likely to come with Type A or B. But if it comes with Type C, D, or E, you can get an HDMI Type C to Type A/B connector to run your connections.

The Best HDMI To Buy

These cables are all available on Amazon, eBay, and other popular e-commerce stores that operate online. Nevertheless, you could still buy them from local stores around you.

1. IVANKY HDMI Cable

The IVANKY HDMI cable is pretty fast and compatible with HDMI ARC. It is built to last and can be used on all devices, including projectors, monitors, TVs, DVD players, and even PCs.

More interestingly, this HDMI cable transmits data at a very fast speed, up to 18 Gbps. It is one of the best you would find out there, and it can transmit lossless 7.1 surround sound and 4K videos.

This cable is available in different lengths, from 1ft to 50ft.


2. iBirdie 4K HDMI Cable

Merely looking at this cable, you would clearly see the rigidity. The iBirdie 4K HDMI cable is one of the best out there with a decent transfer speed rating.

It can transfer 8GB every second and is fit for use with TVs, gaming console, PCs, and every other place where an HDMI cable is required.

Furthermore, this cable is inexpensive, available in different sizes, and built to deliver the best performance you’d expect from an HDMI cable of such quality.

Summary

Conclusively, there is no such thing as a 4K HDMI cable, but if you got an HDMI cable you bought as a 4K cable, you can use it for any HDMI connection provided the connector interface is compatible with the HDMI interface on your device(s).

4K HDMI cable is a marketing lingo, it doesn’t exist, practically.

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