High (HDMI) Anxiety

Got a tech question for Sound & Vision? Email us at AskSandV@gmail.com

A I want to upgrade my AV receiver but plan to wait until high-end brands like Anthem and Cambridge Audio provide support for HDMI passthrough of the HDR10, Dolby Vision, and Hybrid Log-Gamma (HLG) high dynamic range formats. Am I making the right decision? / via e-mail—Estuardo / via e-mail

Q That all depends on how important HDR figures into your future viewing habits. While current AV receivers with HDMI 2.0a connections, Anthem’s MRX 1220 included, are capable of HDR10 format passthrough, the Dolby Vision and Hybrid Log-Gamma HDR formats aren’t necessarily supported by HDMI 2.0a. HLG support was included in the proposed HDMI 2.0b specification, but that version has since been rolled into the forthcoming HDMI 2.1 spec. It’s anticipated that products with HDMI 2.1 ports will start to appear in 2018.

Dolby, meanwhile, has issued a compatibility SDK (software developer kit) that “several manufacturers have already used to obtain passthrough compatibility on upcoming products,” according to the company. And by upcoming products, Dolby doesn’t mean 2018 models, but ones that will arrive in 2017. Which manufacturers? At present, the list includes Yamaha, Denon, Pioneer, and Onkyo. Not only that, but select 2017 models from the same companies will also support HLG passthrough via a future firmware update.

What about Anthem and Cambridge Audio? According to Anthem, the company’s current HDR10-compatible MRX series receivers and AVM 60 preamp/processor are getting a firmware update to make them Dolby Vision- and HLG-compatible this summer. As for Cambridge Audio, its current CXR series receivers use HDMI version 2.0 connections, which aren’t compatible with any flavor of HDR. Happily, the arrival of products with next-gen HDMI 2.1 connections, which support all HDR formats, including ones that employ dynamic metadata, will put much of the uncertainty surrounding HDR compatibility to rest.

Gardner's picture

by when can one hope for latest Cambridge audio receivers that support Dolby almost and newest hdmi / HDR etc standards

pl advise?