HDMI 2.1 is the new kid on the block when it comes to TV output. As standard it provides 4K / 120Hz for non-8K televisions. But as this Hisense TV has proven, that is not always the case.
The Hisense U8G doesn’t actually have a HDMI 2.1 port
It was recently brought to our attention that the Hisense U8G TV, which boasts HDMI 2.1 ‘partial compliance’, does not actually have a HDMI 2.1 port in its Australian models. This means that it will not be able to provide 4K / 120Hz output.
But what does ‘partial compliance’ actually mean in this context?
According to Hisense, the U8G offers Auto Low Latency Mode (ALLM), Variable eARC and Variable Refresh Rate (VRR).
“In Australia, the U8G supports HDMI 2.1 features without the physical input. This means that customers can still use features such as ALLM, VRR and eARC all from the HDMI 2.0 port, making the latest gaming technologies accessible at every price point,” a Hisense representative said in an email to Gizmodo Australia.
HDMI 2.1 implies 4K / 120Hz
But here’s the thing. Variable refresh rate for HDMI 2.1 compatible TVs heavily implies it’ll support 4K / 120Hz — or 8K / 60Hz for 8K TVs. And there’s a reason for this — it’s the standard.
“HDMI Specification 2.1 is the most recent update of the HDMI specification and supports a range of higher video resolutions and refresh rates including 8K60 and 4K120, and resolutions up to 10K,” the official HDMI website reads.
But this is not possible without a physical HDMI 2.1 port. As Hisense confirmed to Gizmodo Australia, the U8G only offers VRR at 4K / 60Hz. This is something that older TVs can already do.
When asked if Hisense will be doing anything to be more transparent about what HDMI 2.1 partial compliance means, the company stated that it’s not advertising the physical port.
“Hisense Australia aren’t promoting these TV’s as having physical 2.1 ports and it is not mentioned anywhere on the website. Using the example of the U8G the specs clearly state all ports are [email protected] ports.”
Except it kinda did promote it.
While this statement is certainly true for the website, this clarification wasn’t made when the U8G was first announced.
In fact, an image of the 2021 TV lineup that Hisense sent to Australian media listed HDMI 2.1 under the U8G. This is the same as the U80G and U90G models which (as confirmed by Hisense) both have physical HDMI 2.1 ports:
It does not mention the lack of port on the U8G or partial compliance, like it does on the website spec sheet. In fact, the fine print on the image reads:
“Game Mode does not feature VRR on the 75U7G / 85U7G / 85A7G. Game Mode Pro is featured on the U8G and above ULED TV’s.”
Here is what our article originally looked like:
Below is a similar report from Gadget Guy, captured at the time of writing. While the story mentions HDMI 2.1 compliance, it is only in relation to the A7G model. For the U8G/U80G/U90G models, it specifically says ‘port’.
This is important because many consumers make buying decisions based on coverage from consumer tech websites.
Hisense also only asked us to correct our lineup story today (July 19), after we began investigating and six weeks after the story was originally published.
Are we nitpicking here? Sure. But specifics matter, particularly when it comes to expensive televisions where people will expect certain performance. For HDMI 2.1, it’s 4K / 120Hz.
And when details that are reported widely aren’t corrected until people start asking questions, that’s a red flag.