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HDMI Cables have different versions, I understand that. Aside from the packaging, how can you tell what version an HDMI cable is just from the cable itself? Is there a special coding on the wiring that gives it away, or is the only other way to try one of the advanced features and see if it will work?

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up vote 3 down vote accepted

They'll look like the same. And if you're worried about having a cable being of one version, but with markings that fool you by pretending to be at a better version, there'll be no clue to identify them.

What really changes is the construction (inside wires, connector quality). A cable is tested to a specific version, if somehow its quality is worse than that, it could be sold as a lower-version.

So, how could you tell which version is your cable?

  1. If you have bought the cable from a trusted store, etc, you could trust the package, or contact the manufacturer

  2. Send your cable to a trusted testing lab from the HDMI consortium (an expensive solution...), so that they test your cable with the specifications.

  3. Take two pieces of equipment that are known to comply with the HDMI version you want, and try to use some feature that is only available in that version. Let's say, if you want to know if your cable is 1.4, try some video with 4K × 2K resolution, because only 1.4 would support it.

So, no good /easy / fast ways to determine that.

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I work for a HDMI cable manufacturer and HDMI Adopter. The following answer is provided by our managing director/cable designer.

Contrary to popular belief there is very little change in HDMI cables from one ‘version’ to another. It is for this reason that reference to HDMI version numbers is not allowed as it’s misleading. There are two main differences between cables – 1. Speed, and 2. whether it has Ethernet Channel or not. Each new Compliance Test Specification (CTS) that is released supersedes earlier versions. We as HDMI Adopters could theoretically submit an old cable for new testing and have it pass. This is widely misunderstood with popular thinking that a later ‘version’ cable can do more than an older one.

All you need to know now is whether a cable is ‘Standard’ or ‘High Speed’. The former could be labelled as supporting 1080p and 3D, and if that’s all you need, that’s fine. High Speed extends bandwidth to include upcoming 4K video and other more advanced features. Be cautious in longer length though, as mislabelling is rife. Also, the labelling suffix “with Ethernet” allows for the new HDMI Ethernet Channel, but that’s hardly being used in the real world. Usually costs no extra though, so consider it a bonus feature.

One final note – a well-constructed ‘vintage’ HDMI cable from 2005 should support 3D, 4K and Deep Color, even if it’s labelled “v1.2”.

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