You’ve just bought the PS5 and can’t wait to try it out.
It has an HDMI port and even a complimentary HDMI 2.1 cable. How cool.
Except your old TV does not have an HDMI 2.1 port. So how does this work?
If you had one of those super geeky, super modern TVs, you think to yourself, connecting this would not be a problem. Should you buy one to be able to use the PS5?
Let’s find out.
HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 cables will work with your PS5. Even though the PS5 is optimized for HDMI 2.1, it has backward compatibility, which allows it to work with older HDMI cables. Please note that the output will match the specifications of the HDMI cable you use—e.g., use HDMI 1.4, your TV displays 4K at 30Hz.
Do HDMI 1.4, 2.0 Cables Work with PS5?
Yes, PS5 works with HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 cables, even though it comes with an HDMI 2.1 port. Backward compatibility makes this possible. New HDMI specifications have backward compatibility, which is to say they are compatible with older HDMI specifications.
The only thing you’ll have to bear with is the quality of the image you get, which will match the cable’s specification, not the higher specification of the PS5.
What does this mean?
It means if you connect your PS5 to an HDMI 2.0 cable, your video will play at HDMI 2.0 frame rates. If you connect your PS5 to an HDMI 1.4 cable, your video will play at HDMI 1.4 frame rates.
In other words:
You can enjoy PS5 on HDMI 1.4 or 2.0 cables, but you won’t get all the features it supports or its maximum capabilities.
What is the Difference between 1.4 and 2.0 HDMI?
The main difference between HDMI 1.4 and HDMI 2.0 is in their bandwidth capacity. Bandwidth refers to the cable’s capacity to transfer data from point A to point B. In this case, where you’re playing PS5, it means your HDMI cable’s capacity to transfer video and audio data from your PS5 console to your TV.
Typically, bandwidth is measured in bits per second (bps). In the world of video, where the data is much, much larger than, say, images or audio-only, data amounts rapidly increase from mere bits to billions of bits. So bandwidth is measured in gigabits per second (Gbps).
The higher the bandwidth, the more data the cable can transfer in a second. What you get as a result is a sharp, extremely detailed image.
HDMI 1.4 has a bandwidth of 10.2 Gbps and will only support 1080p resolution or 4K at 30 Hz.
HDMI 2.0, on the other hand, has a bandwidth of 18 Gbps and supports 4K at 60 Hz.
Meaning, HDMI 2.0 transfers more data within the same time frame than HDMI 1.4. Thus, you will get better graphics on your 4K TV when using HDMI 2.0 cables instead of HDMI 1.4 cables.
The other difference between the two is that HDMI 2.0 supports more advanced technologies compared to HDMI 1.4. For instance, HDMI 2.0 supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) while HDMI 1.4 only supports 3D.
HDR is a high-level imaging technique that captures image details so that the image displayed on the screen is lifelike. This kind of realism gives a better gaming experience.
Can PS5 run on any HDMI cables?
Yes, the PS5 can run on any HDMI cable because it has built-in compatibility with all HDMI cables. That means you can connect your PS5 to any old HDMI cable you have, and the video will still transmit to your screen.
You don’t even have to use a 4K TV. PS5 supports 720p/1080i/1080p/2160p resolutions just fine.
As soon as you connect your PS5 to an HDMI cable and then to your TV, the three systems quickly communicate and identify what their HDMI capabilities are. They then adjust accordingly and come to a level ground where all three can effectively perform their roles in moving data from one end of the connection to the other.
Usually, this entails resorting to the capabilities of the lowest specification. Here is what the three-way connection would look like:
- Your PS5 supports 8K and 4K resolution.
- Your TV supports 4K resolution.
- Your HDMI 1.2 or 1.4 cable supports 720p and 1080p resolution.
- The PS5 can play 8K content, but both the TV and HDMI cable can’t.
- The TV can play 4K content, which the PS5 can play, but the HDMI cable can’t.
- The HDMI cable can play 720p and 1080p content, which both the TV and the PS5 can.
The two more advanced devices will switch to the lower capabilities of the HDMI cable and complete the transmission.
All this happens in microseconds. From your end, it will be a standard connection like any other. Inside the systems, however, a lot will happen to transmit the video to the screen.
So any HDMI cable will do, but there is a caveat:
You will only get limited features.
PS5 capabilities fully show up on HDMI 2.1. That’s where you get dynamic HDR, the most expansive color spaces, supersonic refresh rates, and more.
HDMI 2.1 is still new, and not many TVs and games support it. Consequently, you may not have plenty of options to see all the visual fireworks your PS5 can produce just yet. In the meantime, though, you can make the best of it with your existing HDMI cables.
Your PS5 will work with HDMI 1.4 or 2.0 cables. The PS5 is designed to be compatible with all HDMI cables, so you don’t need a specific HDMI cable to use it. However, your TV will only play the PS5 with the output of the HDMI you’ve used.
The difference between HDMI 1.4 and 2.0 is bandwidth capacity. HDMI 2.0 has a maximum data transfer bandwidth of 18 Gbps, while HDMI 1.4 can transfer data at a maximum of 10.2 Gbps.
Vance is a dad, former software engineer, and tech lover. Knowing how a computer works becomes handy when he builds Pointer Clicker. His quest is to make tech more accessible for non-techie users. When not working with his team, you can find him caring for his son and gaming.