It was recently brought to our attention by intrepid monitor researcher ‘gouki201’ on Twitter that some monitors from Xiaomi claim to have HDMI 2.1, despite lacking any of the features such as integrated VRR or bandwidth capability. In terms of what it brings to the user, the HDMI port here is no different to HDMI 2.0 and you can’t run them at resolution and refresh rate combinations beyond what HDMI 2.0 would provide. It appears to be HDMI 2.0 masquerading as HDMI 2.1, in other words.
I really thought this would be a one off and surely this goes against the policies of HDMI.org or their licensing standards. In this article on the topic, Simon Baker of TFT Central has done a deep dive into this and communicated directly with a representative of HDMI.org to get their take on things. As it turns out, they’ve deprecated HDMI 2.0 and manufacturers are being encouraged to promote ‘HDMI 2.1’. Even on products which do not include the (apparently optional) features or bandwidth capabilities users will associate with HDMI 2.1. I really hope most display manufacturers realise how obnoxious and misleading this would be and continue to differentiate between actual and complete HDMI 2.1 and HDMI 2.0 for their products. Time will tell how this pans out, but in the meantime be extra vigilant and look specifically at what the monitor claims to offer via HDMI 2.1 rather than just the mere mention of the ‘standard’. If it can even be called that.