AV Receiver: Danone and Marantz Resolve HDMI 2.1 Bug with Adapter SPK 618

AV-Receiver: Denon & Marantz lösen HDMI-2.1-Bug mit Adapter SPK618

I am Interview with Grobi.TV Roland Kruger, Head of Technical Marketing (DE + AT) at Sound United, gave further information about the HDMI adapter solution and a firmware update that is required to use the adapter. Kruger first discussed the Danone and Marantz AV lineup for 2021, according to which Denon will launch the flagship AVC-X8500H in June to replace the AVC-X8500H.a Which also provides new HDMI boards for HDMI 2.1, which will already be equipped with a new FRL chip. Previous owners of the AVC-X8500H will also be offered an upgrade to the new HDMI board. A comparable upgrade to the AV8805 preamplifier for the AV8805 is available from Marantza Planned

Schematic upgrade for AVC-X8500H AVC-X8500HA

Schematic upgrade for AVC-X8500H AVC-X8500HA

Schematic upgrade for AV8805A to AV8805

Schematic upgrade for AV8805A to AV8805

Important Firmware Update U25.7

The firmware update mentioned with the internal version number U25.7 has been delivered by Denon and Marantz since April 21 and is a mandatory requirement for the new HDMI adapter solution. The update also fixes other problems in the field of HDMI, for example it greatly improves ARC (Audio Return Channel) support, which is to fix dropouts and blockages in many TVs, especially from Samsung and LG. is believed. A possible signal loss has also been eliminated when looping through signals from PlayStation 4, PlayStation 4 Pro, PlayStation 5 and Apple TV. With the RTX-3000 graphics card, signal loss can occur when the resolution was changed prior to the update. Sound United recommends that you always use the latest Nvidia drivers for these graphics cards. This update brings better compatibility with Sony’s 8K TVs and Samsung and LG TVs when using FRL (fixed rate link) and DSC (digital stream compression) signals.

U25.7 improved through firmware update
Improved U25.7 through Firmware Update (Picture: Grobi.TV/ Sound United)

The update also serves as a preparation for the certification of official HDMI 2.1 devices for Sound United. Because only recently has there been a defined test course from the HDMI organization for so-called repeaters, ie AV receivers. Previous AV receivers were not explicitly advertised with HDMI 2.1, but only with new functions from the latest HDMI standard. Official certification for current receiver generation HDMI 2.1 must occur during the year.

These devices are affected by the HDMI 2.1 bug

Regarding the HDMI 2.1 bug, it was once again stated that all devices using the TMDS format with 18 Gbit / s up to 4K60, PlayStation 5 in all resolution variants and RTX 3000 graphics cards in all 4K120 resolution variants were affected. Are not. . Only 4K120 X 4K series (all FRL modes) and RTK-3000 graphics cards with 8K24A HDR, 8K25A HDR and 8K60A HDR (A = Uncompressed without DSC) and some 8K AV receivers do not give a picture when looping through Using -Modes compression.

Previous problem with Xbox Series X with 4K120

Previous problem with Xbox Series X with 4K120

Unaffected and affected equipment and previous workarounds

Unaffected and affected equipment and previous workarounds

This is caused by the typical FRL pattern

The problem is caused by a bug in the Nuvoton FRL hardware decoder. The TMDS signal generated by the transmitter, such as a game console or graphics card, is packaged in the FQL encoder for FRL with 4K120 or 8K60 in the corresponding data packet and transmitted to the receiver, in this case the AV receiver, and from there. Nuvoton chip decoded. Depending on the bandwidth required, this transmission can take place in 66,368 different patterns, under which 12 of these packet arrangements cannot be processed by the Novotan decoder and then no picture and sound can be generated. And from 4K120 the Xbox Series X uses one or more of these patterns.

Cause of problem
Reason for the problem (picture: Grobi.TV/ Sound United)

Not a problem with the PlayStation 5 because the game is not a console and will never use any of these patterns, even if Sony activates the 4K120 or 8K60. Because Sony uses an encoder from Nuvoton in the PS5, which also cannot generate 12 affected packet arrangements for the FRL.

With Nvidia, the error does not occur at least in 4K120, as RTX-3000 graphics cards in this constellation, which always work with 40 Gbit / s, do not use any of the affected patterns. Only some of the 12 patterns mentioned in the 8K resolutions have been re-used, which is why no picture and sound can be seen through here.

Other possible solutions have been discarded

For the problem solution presented today, Sound United also considered replacing the affected Nuvoton chip or the entire HDMI board. However, it turned out to be extremely time consuming as an AV receiver, for example, was removed from the customer’s configuration, packaged well and shipped. In addition, this will require a new setup of AV receiver. Initially, an external dongle was also considered, which would have been easy to integrate, but also required an external power supply and could possibly be due to a problem in the area of ​​HDMI sockets and holding them.

Thoughtful but not implemented solution
Thoughtful, but not implemented solution (image: Grobi.TV/ Sound United)

Low power consumption and practically no lag

This is why Sound United is finally selected for the outer box presented today, which has dimensions of 140 × 32 × 94 mm (W × H × ×). This box does nothing more than decode the incoming FRL signal, TMDS AV streams for the video and audio it contains, without changing these signals, new to the FRL format suitable for the AV receiver and in the FRL format, Also does not use 12 patterns. Encode and then transmit them to the AV receiver. According to Kruger, the entire process should be low in scope Microsecond Respectively. The power consumption of the adapter must be 0.3 watts in standby and thus in the range of AV receiver (~ 0.2 watts) and additional consumption of 2.3 watts during operation. On, but still without an incoming signal, it is about 0.5 watts.

SPK618 finally chosen as the solution

SPK618 finally chosen as the solution

SPK618 power consumption and latency

SPK618 power consumption and latency

Sound United has specified the above shipping date for the HDMI Adapter solution from the end of May in the stream until June 2021. The sent adapter is connected to the serial number of the AV receiver and is therefore also part of its guarantee.

It was also confirmed that future AV receivers of the current generation would be produced with modified chips for the correct fixed rate link. However, this does not mean that every Denon or Marantz AV receiver available in stores since April will automatically run with a correct chip. According to Kruger, this is a continuous process, which will lead to new versions of the chip in future models.

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