Renowned AV electronics tuning, technology and certification company THX Ltd has announced that it has just awarded its THX Certification High Performance Guarantee for the first time on a range of 8K capable HDMI 2.1 cables.
The cables in question are Canadian brand Pixelgen Design Inc’s PXLGlass 8 and Series 8 home theater interconnect series – and the THX certification is important for the simple reason that it essentially ensures a high level of transmission performance and consistency across the cables guaranteed by Pixelgen Design between cutting -Edge HDMI sources.
The more data HDMI cables have to carry, the harder it is for them to successfully transfer all that data between devices without the signal experiencing signal degradation or dropping out completely. This is particularly problematic with the new HDMI 2.1 specification, which requires transmission of sustained data rates of up to 48 Gbps – enough to carry 4K/120Hz with HDR and VRR or 8K/60Hz signals.
If you have a source and display cable for these types of video feeds, it’s almost certainly not enough to simply buy the cheapest HDMI cables you can find and you’ll face problems like dropped frames, loss of audio, jittering in the picture and even completely blank screens. Especially when the cable needs to transmit the data over a longer distance.
Licensing group HDMI.org has helped consumers find HDMI cables capable of 48Gbps by establishing a proprietary certification process that sees confirmed 48Gbps-capable cables carry an ultra-high-speed Receive an HDMI cable badge or logo on their packaging and marketing materials. While THX-certified Pixelgen 8K HDMI 2.1 cables have also received HDMI Ultra High Speed certification, to be the first cable brand to receive THX certification for full-bandwidth HDMI 2.1 8K support, the manufacturer also had to pass a number of Passing tests of an organization that has been known for decades for the rigor of its requirements. Performance characteristics monitored by THX included:
- high-speed uncompressed signal validation of the cables – including checking for invalid pixel values between the source and destination to ensure only uncompressed signal transmission occurs through the cable.
- Low-Speed Communications Protocol Tests – Ensuring proper 37Mbps lossless upstream audio connection, CEC compliance, and that HDCP 1.4/2.2 and 2.3 are working as expected alongside the high-speed signaling of the cables
- Fitness-to-Application Testing – Rigorous real-world/real-equipment testing across a wide range of 8K HDMI sources, displays, and repeater devices.
- Interoperability Testing – Using the cables with a large matrix of 8K-capable AV equipment to ensure interoperability between multiple AV equipment vendors.
The most exciting of Pixelgen Design’s two new THX-Certified 8K HDMI cables are the “active” (powered) PXLGLASS 8s. These use premium 4-wire OC3 optical fibers to carry the 48Gbps high-speed FRL signals downstream to an 8K display, while using copper-based wires to exchange critical low-speed communications such as HDCP 2.3, eARC, and CEC . This hybrid approach is key to the robustness and reliability these premium cables must achieve in order to transfer so much data perfectly over the 7.6m, 10m and 15m cable lengths in which the PXLGLASS 8s will be available . Prices for this active cable range start at $389 in the US.
As expected, the passive THX-Certified 8 Series HDMIs only come in much shorter lengths: 0.5m, 1m, 1.5m, and 2m. These much more affordable cables start at $42.
Both ranges of cables are available either directly from pixelgendesign.com or from various resellers listed on Pixelgen’s website.