120Hz HDMI cable: What HDMI cable is required for 120 Hz


About 120Hz HDMI cable, HDMI cables are the most popular cable to connect your computers, set-top boxes, consoles, and Blu-Ray players to your television and monitors. 

Their high bandwidth, versatility, high-refresh rates, and ability to support different resolutions make them perfect for such connections. 

Although DisplayPort is also a good alternative, a 120Hz HDMI is much more than that.

A 120Hz HDMI cable can work with different ports based on the resolution you wish to run at such a high refresh rate. 

Let’s find out about this in detail.

Table of Contents

What does the refresh rate 120Hz mean?

If you like video editing or gaming, you must know what 120Hz is. 

The hertz unit, here, indicates the refresh rates of the display, showing the ability of a display to draw images in one second. 

A 120Hz refresh rate means a display can draw 120 images from the source device in just one second.

The refresh rate of 120 Hz is quite beneficial during gaming. 

The high fluidity gives more frames per second, makes the system more responsive, and thus, lets you have an immersive gaming experience.

Nowadays, you can find consoles and graphic cards with high refresh rates, even for the newest AAA games. 

Thus, you must have a TV/Monitor with a high refresh rate capacity to take advantage of the powerful consoles and graphic cards.

However, at the same time, to use the 120Hz refresh rate capacity of the display, we need high connectivity for transferring more data second to the display devices.

FHD 120Hz

FHD 120Hz

Does HDMI support a 120Hz refresh rate?

Yes, an HDMI connection supports a refresh rate of 120 Hz displays that can generate high frames per second.

Here are some of the latest HDMI versions and their capabilities.

HDMI 1.0: Soon after its release in 2002, this HDMI version became a popular connectivity option for displays by display manufacturers and graphic card manufacturers. 

Being the first iteration, it only supported 24-bit color depth and bandwidth up to 4.95 Gbps.

 The maximum resolution that HDMI 1.0 can support is 1920*1200 pixels @ 60 hertz.

HDMI 1.3: This came as an upgraded version of HDMI 1.0 with better color depth (48-bit), high-resolution support, and better color accuracy. 

For audio signals, there were surround sound and lip-synchronization features. 

The HDMI 1.3 supports a resolution of 1440 pixels at 60 hertz and a maximum bandwidth of 10Gbps.

HDMI 1.4: Released in 2009, this is currently the standard HDMI cable in the market.

 Like HDMI 1.3, it also supports 40-bit color depth and 10 Gbps bandwidth but offers a refresh rate of up to 2160-pixel resolution at 30 hertz with a standard output rate of 1080 @ 144Hz.

HDMI 2.0: This version brought significant improvements to its previous versions. 

Different iterations of HDMI 2.0 can support a bandwidth of up to 18 Gbps with a refresh rate of 240 hertz at a 1080-pixel resolution. 

For 144 hertz output, it supports 1440 pixels resolution.

HDMi 2.1: Released in 2017, this is the latest version and is now adopted as a standard HDMi display option. 

Surprisingly, it supports a bandwidth of up to 40 Gbps. It can support 4320p resolution at 50 hertz and 2160p resolution at 144 hertz.

HDMI 120 hertz based on the resolution

With higher resolution, your graphic cards need to give a higher number of pixels, thus impacting frames per second (fps). 

If you run games at a lower resolution, it will affect the frame rate because a graphic card delivers frames more quickly when there are fewer pixels in one frame. 

However, this is different from the display refresh rate, which does not change during normal operation. 

For example, whether you have 40 frames/sec or 100 frames/sec, if your monitor supports 60 Hz, it will always operate at 60 Hz.

HDMI 120 hertz at 1080 pixels

The most convenient resolution that can be achieved at 120Hz is 1080 pixels. You can get this resolution even at older HDMI versions and do not need any special hardware. You can get this Xbox One X and S and other gaming PCs if you have HDMI 1.4, 120Hz works on your television and monitor.

Further, if your display supports 144 Hz, it can work with HDMI 1.4. However, for high resolution (uncompressed), for 120Hz connections, you may need next-generation HDMI connections. 

HDMI 120 Hz at 1440 pixels

To get a resolution of 1440 pixels at 120 Hz, you will need an HDMI 2.0 connector. As it supports higher bandwidth, it can offer 1440 pixels at 144 hertz and 4K at 60 Hz without any compression.

All the latest graphic cards for PCs and XBOX series X and S consoles support HDMI 2.0. 120 hertz for high-speed gaming. You can also get this refresh rate with HDMI 1.4, which will require 4:2:2: color subsampling. You may need to do some technical tweaks to achieve this, which may damage your desired image quality.

HDMI 120 Hz at 4K

4K resolution at 120 hz is the most immersive and demanding game settings a gamer wants to pursue. It is available only on the next-generation displays and consoles, and thus, you will need an equally upgraded HDMI 2.1 connection. 

You get the highest bandwidth with this 4K at 120Hz HDMI connection. With such bandwidth, you get 120 Hz at 4K but also 144Hz and 240Hz when leveraging Display Stream Compression. In fact, with this compression, it won’t be a surprise to get 8K at 60 Hz.

Do I need a 120 Hz HDMI cable?

The answer is “NO”.

This is because there is nothing like a 120 Hz HDMI cable

You must understand that the refresh rate occurs at the display and not at the source.

 So, a signal, whether it is 120 Hz or 240 Hz, never travels along a cable but is created itself.

The only thing you need to ensure while picking an HDMI cable is that the cable must be certified to support the data you want to travel across it.

It is recommended to use high-speed HDMI cables so that they can handle all the audio/video needs of 1080p HD video content.

So, next time if a sales associate wants to fool you with 120Hz or 240Hz labeling on the HDMI cable, be vigilant. 

120 Hz/240 Hz designation in a cable has nothing to do with the cable’s compatibility with the display devices.

HDMI standardBandwidth (up to)Audio/video capabilities*
Standard HDMI4.95 GB/s1080 pixels at 144 hertz
High-Speed HDMI10.2 GB/s1080 pixels at 144 hertz, 4K at 24 frames per second, wide color gamut, HDR
Premium high-speed HDMI18 GB/s1080 pixels at 144 hertz, 4K at 60 frames per second, 8K at lower fps, 4:4:4 chroma sampling.
Ultra high-speed HDMI48 GB/s1080 pixels at 144 hertz, 4K at 120 frames/sec, uncompressed 8K videos, 8K at 60 frames/sec.

* You must know that all HDMI versions show backward compatibility, so an HDMI cable that supports a 120Hz signal can connect to HDMI 1.3, 1.4, or 2.0 ports.

 Further, at lower resolutions, you will get higher refresh rates as you move to the higher versions of HDMI.

A braided gold-plated HDMI cable

A braided gold-plated HDMI cable


So, don’t be fooled by a 120Hz label next time you buy an HDMI cable. 

You have to choose different versions based on what resolution you want at 120Hz; for higher resolution, go for higher versions like HDMI 2.0 and HDMI 2.1.

For any doubts, contact the Cloom team, and we will help you get the most suitable HDMI cable for your requirement.