Some advanced high bandwidth HDMI 2.1 gaming features are causing growing pains for makers and owners of some 4K/120 Hz and 8K listed audio components.

Home theater audio brands Yamaha, Denon and Marantz recently posted notices to users of certain 4/120Hz and 8K AV receiver models with high frame rate HDMI 2.1 connectivity that compatibility issues have been reported preventing high frame rate images from advanced game consoles from being displayed.

The problem that impacts a direct HDMI 2.1 connection with supporting high frame rate TVs and certain next-gen game consoles and advanced gaming PC graphics cards reportedly could be related to some hardware chip designs.

To remedy the problem, the audio component companies have provided different workarounds.

For example, when users fail to receive an image playing 4K/120Hz with HDR gaming sources, Yamaha posted a web page recommending users connect the consoles directly through the HDMI 2.1 input on the supported TV display and use a connection between the eARC HDMI ports on the TV and the AVR to stream the audio out to the audio component for processing.

“The latest AV receivers from Yamaha currently support HDMI pass-through of 4K/60Hz signals with HDR (HDR10 and Dolby Vision) and may be used with the latest gaming devices. The newest Yamaha AV receivers also currently support HDMI eARC, which allows 4K/120Hz sources to be connected directly to a compatible TV, with the audio fed to the AVR via eARC,” Yamaha’s support page states. “From the time we first announced the newest AV receivers from Yamaha, such as the RX-V4A, RX-V6A, RX-A2A and TSR-700, we have stated that we will support emerging HDMI 2.1 capabilities (such as 4K/120Hz pass-through) via future updates. We will address the reported HDMI 2.1 issue via these planned future updates in order to provide customers with the best solution available.”

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Sound United, parent of the Denon and Marantz brands, is offering similar or even more complicated solutions, in one case requiring the use of a separate external adapter box that will connect between the receiver and television set to correct the problem.

Denon’s support page said it will provide purchasers of certain “4K/120 Hz and 8K receivers” a model SPK618 HDMI adapter solution designed to remedy a compatibility issue between select Denon A/V receivers and select gaming consoles that support 4K/120Hz and 8K video resolution output.

“If you experience a black screen and no audio when trying to pass through 4K/120Hz or 8K signals from gaming devices connected to the 8K input of the Denon A/V receiver, this adapter will help you to get a proper gaming experience. You will be able to register on this page starting May 15th to receive the SPK618 HDMI adapter at no cost,” the Denon support page reads.

Purchasers of certain 4K/120Hz and 8K Marantz AVRs were notified that the company continues to work on a permanent solution, but in the interim users experiencing issues with high frame rate gaming connections to the AVR should try the following:

“You can connect the system to the display directly via HDMI and use the display’s ARC/eARC functionality to feed the native audio back to the AVR using the connected HDMI cable between the AVR and display. This will allow users to decode the native audio format sent from the source. With this method, the display’s CEC/ARC option must be enabled as well as the AVR’s HDMI Control and/or the AVR’s ARC option. In the AVR, this option is located within the GUI under “Video – HDMI Setup,” the Marantz support page reads.

“Another workaround is to leave or change the source’s video output to 4K/60Hz instead of 4K/120Hz until a permanent solution is available. This will ensure reliable communication between the source, the AVR and the display. The source’s default is set to output at 4K/60Hz, so if no change was initiated out of the box, then nothing further needs to be done,” the company continued.

As a reminder, anyone trying to utilize HDMI 2.1 ports and advanced features should be using one of the latest certified HDMI Ultra High Speed cables (look for a valid certification label). This is required for 48Gbps 4K/120Hz and 8K/60Hz signal support. In addition, the shorter the cable length (typically 8-feet or under) the fewer the problems related to the cable tend to be.

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By Greg Tarr

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