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Does HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 Support 120, 144, and 240 Hz?

Find out if HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 support 120, 144, and 240 Hz refresh rates and if a higher bit/color depth affects the max refresh rate an HDMI cable can handle.

HDMI cable Brandon Jones / TechReviewer

Last Updated: December 28, 2021

Written by Brandon Jones

To determine if an HDMI cable version supports a particular refresh rate, measured in Hertz (Hz), you will have first know the resolution you want to use for your display. Higher resolutions take up more data, and each HDMI version has different limits.

In this article, I'll help you find out which cable is best for your setup by telling you which supports 120 Hz, 144 Hz, and 240 Hz refresh rates.

After finding which type of cable you need, if you want to make it even easier, be sure to check out my recommended HDMI 2.1 and 2.0 cables below.

HDMI 2.0 and 2.1 Refresh Rates

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HDMI 2.0 can handle up to 240 Hz when using 1080p resolution, 144 Hz when using 1440p resolution, and 60 Hz when using 4K resolution.

HDMI 2.1 cables can handle up to 120 Hz when using 4K resolution and 60 Hz when using 8K resolution. Lower resolutions than 4K can all handle up to 240 Hz when using an HDMI 2.1 cable.

Keep in mind that your monitor or TV still has to support these resolutions and refresh rates for them to work. The resolution and refresh rate is limited by your display and not determined based on the HDMI cable.

Below are tables for both HDMI cable versions to simplify each resolution and refresh rate.

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Note that the max officially supported refresh rates for each resolution are in the tables below. Each HDMI cable version is made for specific resolutions and refresh rates but may still work with higher refresh rates. With that said, it's best to stay within the officially supported resolutions and refresh rates.

HDMI 2.0

Max Supported HDMI 2.0 Refresh Rates
60Hz120Hz144Hz240Hz
1080p Yes Yes Yes Yes
1440p Yes Yes Yes No
4K Yes No No No
8K No No No No

HDMI 2.1

Max Supported HDMI 2.1 Refresh Rates
60Hz120Hz144Hz240Hz
1080p Yes Yes Yes Yes
1440p Yes Yes Yes Yes
4K Yes Yes No No
8K Yes No No No

Does a Higher Bit Depth Lower the Max Refresh Rate?

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Besides resolution and the maximum refresh rate, the limits are also determined by the Bit Depth (Color Depth), which refers to the amount of color info stored in an image. Most monitors and TVs have a bit depth of 8-bit, but some displays can display higher amounts. The higher the bit depth, the more colors stored in an image.

A higher bit depth also takes up more data since more information is stored in each image. Because of this, if you raise the bit depth, it may affect how high of refresh rate you can use.

For example, an HDMI 2.0 cable supports up to 18 Gb/s of total signal bandwidth. If you have a 4K display running at 60 Hz and a bit depth of 8-bit, it takes up around 15 Gb/s. If you raise the bit depth to 10-bit, it takes up the entire 18 Gb/s bandwidth.

While that example may work, the higher bandwidth used may cause artifacts/dropouts from missing data not transferring. Artifacts or dropouts look like black boxes showing on your display or other strange-looking issues like static. It's best to use the highest version of HDMI cable available and use the recommended resolution, refresh rate, and bit depth of your display to not run into these issues.

Which HDMI Cable Type Should You Get?

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Since HDMI 2.1 is backward compatible with older HDMI versions, it's probably best to buy an HDMI 2.1 cable for future-proofing. You will ensure that you'll get the most out of your display without worrying about which one to buy. HDMI 2.1 is also needed for devices that support eARC, for better quality audio to soundbars and audio receivers. If you want to make it even easier, be sure to check out my recommended HDMI 2.1 and 2.0 cables below.

With that said, to get all of the features and speed increase, be sure to check if your display and device (PCs, game consoles, etc.) both support HDMI 2.1 and its features.

Keep in mind that HDMI cables can only go up to specific lengths. If you want a very long HDMI cable, you may need to go with HDMI 2.0 instead and follow one of these HDMI extension methods.

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Shorter HDMI 2.1 Cable

Longer HDMI 2.1 Cable

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Shorter HDMI 2.0 Cable

Longer HDMI 2.0 Cable

Max HDMI Cable Length

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Each type of HDMI cable has a limitation of how long it can reach. There's no specific "max" length a cable can go, but a limitation from the material they're made with.

Most newer copper HDMI cables reach around 15 to 25 ft (5 to 7.5 m). HDMI cables made with fiber optic can reach much farther. On average, fiber optic HDMI cables can reach around 50 to 200 ft (15 to 60 m).

Below are the three types of copper HDMI cables with their average length limits and resolutions they can handle at their max cable length:

Max Length of Copper HDMI Cables
TypeMax Cable LengthSpeedSupported Resolutions
Standard HDMI 49 ft (15 m) < 10 Gb/s 720p 60 Hz | 1080i 60 Hz
High Speed HDMI 15–25 ft (5–7.5 m) 18 Gb/s 1080p 60 Hz | 4K 30 Hz
Ultra High Speed HDMI 10–15 ft (3–5 m) 48 Gb/s 4K | 5K | 8K | 10K 120 Hz

Why HDMI Cables Have a Max Length

Most HDMI cables are made of copper, limiting the cable's length because it loses signal strength the farther it reaches. Signal loss can happen with cables made of other materials also. This signal loss (attenuation) is measured in decibels per distance—the greater the distance, the more signal loss.

The signal level may not be high enough if an HDMI cable is too long due to too much attenuation. If you need to support a longer distance, you'll need an extender, repeater, or fiber optic HDMI cable. Otherwise, you will need to find a way to use a shorter HDMI cable.

How to Extend HDMI 2.0 Cables

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HDMI Repeater

An HDMI repeater extends the connection for shorter runs by connecting two HDMI cables and amplifies the signals for better transmission.

Determining the max length when using a repeater depends on the HDMI repeater and the HDMI cable type, but I give the average ranges below. Remember that HDMI repeaters are directional, so be sure to use the device's correct input/output sides.

HDMI Repeater Range
ResolutionLength
4K @ 60 Hz 60–100 ft (18–30 m)
4K @ 30 Hz 100–130 ft (30–40 m)
1080p @ 60 Hz 135–195 ft (40–60 m)

To be safe, assume a repeater can reach only the shorter end of those ranges.

Fiber Optic HDMI Cable

Fiber optic HDMI cables are like standard HDMI cables but made with optical fiber inside the cable and meant for farther distances up to 164 ft (50 m) for 4K @ 60 Hz.

These cables aren't meant to be used with an extender, repeater, or switch and should be used alone. They also must be installed in the correct direction, with the output/display label connecting to the side with the display.

Learn more about fiber optic HDMI cables in my article: What Is a Fiber Optic HDMI Cable and Is It Worth Getting?.

HDMI Over Ethernet Extender

The HDMI over Ethernet extender is similar to an HDMI over fiber optic extender but uses an Ethernet cable for a shorter extension. An HDMI over Ethernet extender can extend the connection up to 130 ft (40 m) for 4K @ 60 Hz or 230 ft (70 m) for 1080p.

Learn more about HDMI over Ethernet in my article: HDMI Over Ethernet - How to Extend HDMI With Cat 5e/6a.

HDMI Over Fiber Extender

An HDMI over Fiber extender uses an optical fiber cable to transmit the data to reach a much farther distance. You could use an HDMI over Fiber extender to extend the connection up 1,000 to 3,300 ft (300 to 1000 meters) for 4K @ 60 Hz.

Learn more about HDMI over fiber in my article: HDMI Over Fiber - How to Extend HDMI With Fiber-Optic Cable.

Learn About TVs

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Want to learn more about TVs? Check out the articles in my TV series:

Learn About HDMI

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Find answers to your HDMI questions by checking out the articles in my HDMI series: