What is HDMI?
HDMI is the most widely used video and audio interface, at least for private use. Also the PrimeMini 4 Mini-PC uses two HDMI 2.0 ports as audio and video interface.
Nevertheless, the use of HDMI is not as straightforward as one might think. There are a lot of different HDMI versions and specifications and a few things have to be considered when using the PrimeMini 4’s HDMI ports properly.
HDMI stands for “High-Definition Multimedia Interface” and is a proprietary digital interface for the transmission of digital video and audio data. For the development of the HDMI interface, several major electronics companies came together in 2002. Among others, Sony, Philips and Panasonic participated in the development of HDMI from the beginning. The common HDMI connector types are standard (Type-A), as in the PrimeMini 4 and in the left picture, Mini (Type-C) and Micro (Type-D) HDMI.
HDMI versions explained
The first HDMI version 1.0 was specified by the end of 2002. By 2019 and with version 2.1 we have reached the 7th or 13th HDMI version, depending on the method of counting. Each of these versions has different or additional specifications. Keeping track is not easy and HDMI is by no means always the same as HDMI.
For example, “Super-Audio-CH” is supported from version 1.2, “3D-Video” from version 1.4 or “HDR” from version 2.0a. However, for the normal consumer, the supported maximum image resolution and the maximum refresh rate will be of primary interest.
Full HD @60Hz = HDMI 1.0
4K UHD @30Hz = HDMI 1.4
4K UHD @60Hz = HDMI 2.0
4K UHD @144Hz = HDMI 2.1
8K @30Hz = HDMI 2.1
Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) with a refresh rate of 60 hertz is already supported as of version 1.0. 4K UHD (3840 x 2160 pixels) was possible with the HDMI version 1.4, but only with 30 hertz. Although this refresh rate is sufficient for most feature films, for sports broadcasts or action films with fast movements, a refresh rate of at least 60 hertz is recommended. 4K with 60 hertz became possible with the HDMI version 2.0. The latest HDMI version 2.1 already supports 8K (7680 x 4320) with 30 hertz or 4K with 144 hertz.
4K with HDMI
The processor performance and the HDMI specification of the PrimeMini 4 with its HDMI 2.0 ports allow an image output in 4K. But that’s still not enough to guarantee a 4K image. Of course, the connected screen must be 4K-capable. However, what many users do not pay attention to, is that the HDMI cable used, must be designed for a 4K data transmission, too. To make the confusion complete, since 2010 the HDMI cable manufacturers haven’t been into commitment to using the official HDMI version-naming anymore. But how can you make sure to get the right HDMI cable for the PrimeMini 4, so that a 4K resolution can actually be output? Some cable manufacturers started to use the official version-naming again when HDMI 2.0 was released. HDMI cables with version number 2.0 are therefore 4K-capable. Other manufacturers label theirs as “4K” or with the “HDMI Premium Certified Cable”-seal, these wires are also suitable for image output in 4K. Often, a QR code is printed on the packaging, by means of which this information can be verified.
If all this is considered, you can enjoy 4K with the PrimeMini 4. With the two native connections of the PrimeMini 4 even on two screens at the same time.