Does HDMI Support 144Hz Refresh Rate?

Does HDMI Support 144Hz Refresh Rate?

One of the mainstream mediums for transferring digital signals like video and audio between computer devices is by using HDMI cables.

This is because HDMI is the standard digital interface, and there’s almost no PC that comes without an HDMI port.

However, most visual professionals, especially video gamers that want to enjoy higher-resolution displays by using HDMI to connect their gaming console to larger screens like TV or monitor usually encounter low Hz refresh rate problems.

This includes screen tearing or flickering, video stuttering, or delayed input response.

This is most common with low refresh rates like 60Hz or 75Hz; but with higher refresh rates like 144Hz, they enjoy a smoother video experience with little to no low refresh rate signs.

So this begs the question: can HDMI support 144Hz refresh rates? If yes, why I’m I experiencing low refresh rate signs?

Well, the short answer is yes, HDMI does support 144Hz refresh rates. But this depends on various factors such as HDMI cable or port version, device compatibility, color depths, and more!

In this guide, we’ll talk about the various versions of HDMI, their support for 144Hz, and some compatibility issues.

We’ll also discuss how to troubleshoot 144Hz on HDMI. 

Let’s dive right in.

What Is HDMI?

HDMI stands for “High Definition Multimedia Interface. In simple terms, HDMI is an hardware connection standard for transferring high quality audio video signals between devices.

It consists of two main parts; the PORT which is found in just about any PC, and the CABLE which connects the “source device” such as Blu-ray players, gaming consoles, laptops, or smartphones with the “sink device” such as HDTVs, Projectors, Soundbars, or AV Receivers.

The Invention Of HDMI 1.0

In 2000, multiple tech companies came together to invent the HDMI connection standard technology.

This new connection standard was a big upgrade from previous video connectors such as Composite RCA (1956), S-Video (1979), VGA (1987), and DVI (1999).

Unlike these previous connection standards, HDMI 1.0 made it possible to transfer signals of high-quality video resolutions such as 1080p with a data rate of 4.9 Gbps.

It also provided a single cable solution where we now need only one – not two separate – cables to transfer audio and video signals.

Newer HDMI Versions With Better Specs

However, like every new technology, HDMI 1.0 had many limitations.

Firstly, its bandwidth of 4.9 Gbps was limited and could not have supported newer video resolutions like 4K and 8K.

It could not keep up with the increments of frame rates, did not support dynamic refresh rates, couldn’t connect with Ethernet, and much more.

So over the years, newer HDMIs with new specs and higher capabilities have been released. 

These versions include;

  • 1.2 
  • 1.2a
  • 1.3 
  • 1.3a
  • 1.4 
  • 1.4a
  • 1.4b 
  • 2.0
  • And the latest version which was released in 2017, HDMI 2.1.

Here’s a breakdown of the various HDMI versions and their capabilities.

HDMI Version Max Resolution Max Refresh Rates Max Bandwidth (Gbit/s) Effective Bandwidths (Gbt/s) HDR? Audio Technology Support
1.0 1080p 1080p @ 60Hz 4.9 3.96 NO 8 Audio Channels
1.1/1.2 1440p 1440p @ 30Hz 4.9 3.96 NO 8 Audio Channels

Super Audio CDs 

1.3/1.4 4096 x 2160 (4K) 120 Hz @ FHD Resolution

30 Hz @ 4k Resolution

24 Hz @ 4k Resolution

10.2 8.16 NO 8 Audio Channels

ARC 

Colby TrueHD

DST-HD

2.0 4096 x 2160 (4K) 60 Hz @ 4K Resolution 18 14.40 YES 32 Audio Channels

Dynamic Resolution Adaptation (DRA)

High-Efficiency Advanced Audio Coding (HE-AAC)

2.1 10240 x 4320 (10K) Upto 120Hz @ 10K 48 42.67 YES 23 Audio Channels

eARC

What Is Refresh Rate

Refresh rates refer to the number of images a screen display per second, which is measured in Hz.

There are different levels of refresh rates such as;

60Hz 

75Hz

144Hz

and 240Hz.

When we watch fast-moving videos, the screen needs to show lots of details quickly.

A higher screen refresh rate can show more details and make the pictures look smoother. For example, 144Hz can show more pictures in less time than 60Hz, making the video look even better.

The max refresh rates of laptops and computers are commonly set to 60Hz.

Although you can increase it, it requires more processing power and advanced hardware. 

Gamers want to play high level games that need better picture quality. So, they use HDTVs with higher resolutions and refresh rates.

New video games are made to look better with high picture quality and faster refresh rates. So, gamers use HDTVs with higher Hz to enjoy these games.

How Does HDMI Affect Refresh Rate?

The HDMI version affects how much refresh rate you get, although other things matter as well.

Different HDMI versions can do different things, like show more detail or move faster.

Newer HDMI versions can show more detail and move faster. But older versions can’t do as much

Yes, HDMI cables and ports are designed to work with older and newer device.

But newer versions have more bandwidth and refresh rate to display super detailed and smoother images. 

Also, older versions have lower bandwidth and can’t support as high of resolutions or refresh rates, resulting in lower quality images.

And notice that while newer HDMI versions can show more details and move faster, some can show more details without moving faster.

For example, 2.0 can display 4k resolution.

But HDMI 2.0 has a faster refresh rate of 60 Hz compared to HDMI 1.3/1.4’s maximum of 30 Hz.

HDMI 2.1 can move really fast with 120 Hz @ 10k resolution.

Now you may ask: since HDMI 2.0 is the highest resolution, how about the 144 Hz we said it could support?

So Does HDMI Support 144 Hz?

The answer remains yes. 

HDMI can support 144Hz, although you’ll have to compromise on the quality of resolution depending on the version of the HDMI.

For starters, HDMI 1.0 up till any version released before 1.3 cannot support 144Hz no matter the resolution level.

However, every version of HDMI from 1.3 up to 2.0 can support a 144 Hz refresh rate, but as said earlier, the resolution quality will not be the same throughout.

Here’s a list of the various generations of HDM and how much they fare with 144 Hz.

A Breakdown Of The Maximum Refresh Rate (Hz) Different HDMI Versions Can Support 

HDMI 1.0 – 1.1 

The first generation of HDMI, version 1.0 – 1.1 with a maximum bandwidth of 4.95 Gbit/s can only support up to 60Hz with a resolution of 1080p.

HDMI 1.2 – 1.2a

These generations of HDMI were slight upgrades from version 1.1.

They still had the same max bandwidth of Gbits (4.95) and could support up to 120 Hz but at a lesser resolution of 720p.

HDMI 1.3 – 1.4b

These generations of HDMI were considered high-speed HDMI, and had a max bandwidth of 10.2 Gbit/s.

The HDMI version 1.3 – 1.4b could support up to 144 Hz with a resolution of 1080p, and up to 75 Hz with 1440p resolution.

HDMI 2.0 – 2.0b

Then we have the premium high-speed HDMI generation – version 2.0 – 2.0b – with a maximum bandwidth of 18 Gbit/s.

They could support up to 120, 144, and 240 Hz with a resolution of 720p.

Also, HDMI 2.0 – 2.0b can support up to 120 and 144 Hz with a resolution of 1440p.

Finally, they could go up to 4k resolution at 60 Hz refresh rates, and 5k resolution at 30 Hz refresh rates.

HDMI 2.1

HDMI 2.1 is the newest and best HDMI version in 2023. 

It has super-fast speed and can support resolutions from 720p with 120 Hz to 8k resolution with 120 Hz thanks to its high bandwidth of 42 Gbits.

Plus it’s currently the only HDMI version that can support 144 Hz at 4k resolution.

So to fully answer your question: Yes, HDMI versions from 1.3 up to 2.1 can support 144 Hz, but at various resolutions.

Do All HDMI Cables Work With All HDMI Ports?

Yes, all HDMI cables work with all HDMI ports.

HDMI cables and port interfaces were designed to be backward compatible.

We can connect a monitor that has an HDMI 2.1 port to devices with older HDMI ports. 

The same goes for HDMI cables. An HDMI 2.0 cable can work with ports of older or newer versions.

Although HDMI cables and ports may look alike physically, their capabilities are not the same.

Newer HDMI cables and ports are launched with newer bandwidths and speed standards to catch up with the ever-increasing higher resolution and higher image refresh rates.

So far, four types of HDMI ports are used throughout all generations.

This includes the;

  • Standard HDMI cables, best for HDMI ports of 1.4 or less
  • The High-Speed HDMI cables, best for HDMI ports 1.4 or less
  • The Premium High Speed, best for HDMI ports 2.0 or less
  • And the Ultra High-Speed Cables, best for 2.1 or less

Use HDMI Cables and Ports That Match (If you can)

If you’ve upgraded either your HDMI cables or port, and you’re still experiencing signs of lower refreshing rates than you expected, you’re likely using different versions of HDMI cables and ports together.

Use HDMI cables and ports that match – if you can.

Although HDMI cables and port of different versions can fit together, it’s best to connect HDMIs of the same version.

Meaning if your monitor has an HDMI 1.4 port but you want to achieve 144 Hz at 4k resolution with HDMI 2.1, you won’t get the best quality. You’ll only get 144 Hz at 1080p resolution.

How To Enable 144Hz On HDMI

Sometimes you might have gotten a new monitor with a new HDMI cable that matches the port, but your refresh rate is still not up to 144 Hz.

The next best step to take in this case is to troubleshoot your PC and enable the 144 Hz on your monitor.

To enable 144 Hz on your HDMI;

  • Open your Windows settings. You can simply press the “win” + “I” shortcut.
  • Search for the System tab, click on it, and select the Display icon
  • Now in your System >> Display settings, click on Advanced Display
  • Under the Display information, click on “Choose a refresh rate”, and switch to the refresh rate you want. In this case it would be 144Hz.

If it doesn’t work right away, check for any Windows updates, and restart your PC.

Viola, you’ve successfully upgraded your HDMI to 144 Hz.

Frequently Asked Questions

Is DisplayPort Better Than HDMI For 144 Hz?

DisplayPort is generally better than HDMI for 144 Hz because it supports higher refresh rates and variable refresh rate technology. However, HDMI 2.1 also supports 144 Hz and VRR, so it can also be a good choice.

How Many Hz can HDMI 1.4 Cable Support?

HDMI 1.4 can support a maximum refresh rate of 120 – 144 Hz at 1080p resolution.

However, some devices may not support these maximum refresh rates, and a higher-quality cable may be needed for reliable performance

Do All Displays Support 144 Hz?

No, not all displays support a 144 Hz refresh rate. Maximum refresh rate depends on hardware capabilities such as the display panel, graphics card, and cable. 

Plus, most standard monitors support up to 60 Hz or 75 Hz. But you can upgrade your HDMI to increase your refresh rate to 144 Hz.

What Is The Latest Version Of HDMI?

The latest version of HDMI as of my knowledge cutoff date is HDMI 2.1. 

HDMI 2.1 was released in 2017 and offers higher bandwidth and supports higher resolutions and refresh rates, and is currently the only HDMI version that supports 144 Hz at a high resolution like 4k.

Conclusion

We all want to enjoy smoother screen images, faster response times, and more realistic displays when we play games or watch our superhero cartoons.

So it makes sense to want a monitor with a refresh rate as high as 144 Hz. Plus be curious whether an HDMI can support 144 Hz.

If you’ve read this post to this moment, hopefully, we’ve helped you answer the question. 

And best of all, you now know which version of HDMI to purchase, and the spec of the monitor to look out for.

Author:
I am a computer engineer holding a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, complemented by a Master's in Business Administration from University of Strathclyde, Scotland. I currently work as a Senior IT Consultant in Melbourne, Australia. With over 15 years of...