You’re looking through your home’s dedicated drunk draw and sifting through years’ worth of miscellaneous cables.
You begin organizing them and find that there were actually several HDMI cables hidden in there. After examining them closely, you even find that they seem to be in excellent condition!
Ecstatic, you begin hooking one of them up to your gaming monitor. Then, you stop and wonder, “is this cable even compatible with it?”
All of the HDMI cables look more or less the same, so how can you know what version or speed it is? What do the different cables’ versions or standards mean in terms of the cable’s maximum resolution and bandwidth?
Keep reading to find out!
1. Check the Product Description
The first place to look for a cable’s version and speed is its product description.
While a few HDMI cables will have tags attached to them with all of their information, many will not.
If your HDMI cable doesn’t have a tag, try looking at its packaging or user manual. These are gold mines for people looking for detailed cable specs, such as its maximum resolution, bandwidth, speed, and more!
However, we understand that HDMI cable packaging isn’t something you usually hold onto and it may have ended up in the recycling as soon as you unpacked it.
So, if you can’t find your cable’s packaging, try looking for the specs online.
The first place we recommend checking is Amazon since they tend to have detailed product descriptions complete with all the necessary information. They also sell a wide range of cables, so the probability of you finding your cable model there is considerably high.
If you can’t find your cable there, we suggest heading to other popular tech retailers’ websites, like BestBuy.
If you live outside North America and can’t find your cable in American or Canadian tech stores, check out the websites of electronic retailers in your area.
For instance, Euronics is a popular tech retailer throughout Europe.
2. Check the HDMI Cable for Prints
Several HDMI cables have their specs printed directly onto the cable.
Please note that it’s unlikely you’ll find this information printed there if you own a nylon braided cable since this type of printing is usually only used for plastic-coated cables.
This information is usually printed in white, blue, or green. The font can be quite small, so carefully examine your cable when trying to find it, and consider wearing your reading glasses if needed.
It’s unlikely that the cable’s print will contain all of the necessary specs, but you may be able to find the words “High-Speed HDMI Cable” or something similar that will reveal the cord’s resolution, refresh rate, and bandwidth.
If you’re unsure of what these different cable labels mean, refer to the HDMI Cable Version Speed table found at the end of this article.
3. Check the Max Resolution and Refresh Rate Using a Computer
So, you’ve checked online and the cable’s print, but still can’t find your HDMI cable’s maximum resolution and refresh rate?
Don’t worry. There’s another way you can find this information without having to call the manufacturer’s customer care.
You can check the cable’s maximum resolution and refresh rate on your HDMI-compatible laptop or desktop.
The one downside to this solution is that your computer’s specs could affect the results. For instance, if your computer’s maximum resolution is lower than the cable’s, it may not show the cable’s actual maximum resolution since it can not be displayed on your monitor.
The same logic can be applied if the cable’s refresh rate is higher than your monitor’s.
To do this, you will need to connect an external device (e.g. a PC, streaming stick, etc.) to your monitor using the HDMI cable you want to find the specs of.
Once everything is connected, you’re ready to follow the steps below to access this information on your computer.
Kindly note that this process will not work if your devices are improperly connected.
Once you’ve found the HDMI cable’s version or standard, refer to the table below to identify its maximum resolution and refresh rate.
Windows 10 & 11
Step 1: Click your computer’s Start button in the bottom left corner.
Step 2: Select Settings from the menu.
Step 3: Navigate to System.
Step 5: Click Display.
Step 6: Now you should be able to see the maximum resolution supported by the HDMI cable.
Step 7: Once you’ve taken note of the cable’s maximum resolution, head to Advanced Display Settings.
Step 8: Now you should be able to identify the cable’s maximum refresh rate, which will be a number followed by the letters Hz.
Step 1: Go to the Apple Menu in the top right corner of your screen, characterized by an icon of an apple.
Step 2: Select System Preferences from the drop-down menu.
Step 3: Navigate to Displays.
Step 4: Then, click on Display Settings.
Step 5: Now you can see the cable’s available refresh rate next to Refresh Rate.
Step 6: To find the cable’s available resolution, press and hold down your keyboard’s Option key. Sometimes this key is also labeled alt, depending on where you purchased your Mac.
Step 7: Select Scaled when the pop-up window appears. Now, you should be able to see all of the available resolutions and identify the highest one.
Watch the video below demonstrating how to find your cable’s highest available resolution on a Mac.
Table of HDMI Cable Versions & Speeds
|Cable Version/Standard||Max Resolution and Refresh Rate||Max Bandwidth|
|Standard||1080p 30Hz or 720p 60Hz||4.95Gbps|
|High-Speed||1080p 144Hz or 4K 30Hz||10.2Gbps|
|Premium High-Speed||1080p 240Hz or 4K 60Hz||18Gbps|
|Ultra-High Speed||8K 60Hz or 4K 120Hz||48Gbps|
Yesenia Achlim is a technical copywriter and editor with a focus on AV equipment. She aims to break down complicated topics and make technology accessible, no matter your technical expertise. When she’s not teaching you how to replace a projector lamp, you can find her reading and baking.