Can I Plug a 4k Source Into an 8K HDMI Port?
Technology never rests. It feels like the minute you buy something, it becomes obsolete. Sometimes, however, you end up with a piece of gear that seems to be cutting-edge. If you’ve bought a new AV receiver recently, you may notice that some of the HDMI ports are labeled 8k. You looked around and you can’t really find any 8k sources to buy to plug into such a port. You’ve got a bunch of 4k devices though. Can you plug those 4k sources into 8k HDMI ports? Let’s discuss!
We’ve made our position on 8k TVs clear. They are dumb. There is exceedingly little need for higher resolution in TVs. Are they still releasing 8k TVs? Yes. But it seems as though manufacturers have realized that people are no longer buying based on resolution and are moving on to emphasize black levels, contrast, and color gamut.
When you see 8k on an AV receiver, it simply means that the HDMI port is rated to pass an 8k signal at 60Hz. That same port will also accept a 4k signal and is compatible with up to 120Hz (or frames-per-second). So, to answer the question directly, yes, you can plug a 4k source into an 8k HDMI port.
Why The Stupid Label?
Big numbers are always better than small numbers! If 4k is good, 8k must be at least twice as good! No matter that it creates confusion in consumers. We can think of no other reason why they’d use the 8k label.
The problem is (gasp!) the HDMI Group. They really don’t want manufacturers using the HDMI version number. They prefer that manufacturers use labels that reflect the features supported. This is because the HDMI version may have features that never see wide adoption. It’s up to the manufacturers to implement these features. This leaves it up to the manufacturers to figure out their own labels. They don’t always pick wisely.
Will 8k Ports Be Better?
If you have HDMI ports that are labeled 8k and others that are 4k, will the 8k ports be better for your sources? Probably not. The 8k ports should definitely be used with the current generation game consoles to take advantage of all the latest features. For the rest of your 4k sources, it shouldn’t matter. The HDMI version only tells you about features that may be supported and bandwidth available. The HDMI port won’t increase the resolution or any other aspect of the signal. If your 4k ports pass the signal, the 8k ports will look and sound identical.
Some people are currently typing a comment to tell us this is a stupid article. Of course you can plug 4k sources into 8k ports. Duh! But many people forget what it was like to be new to home theater. It can seem confusing. Not only that, it isn’t uncommon in this world of ours that different labels will indicate that things are incompatible. It makes sense to us that someone would wonder about 8k port and 4k device compatibility. Fear not! Your 4k sources will work just fine with your 8k HDMI ports!