New MacBook Pro Models Include HDMI 2.0 Port Instead of HDMI 2.1
Apple in 2016 removed all of the ports from its MacBook Pro models except for Thunderbolt ports, a design that persisted for years -- until today. The newly announced 2021 MacBook Pro models include an SD card slot and an HDMI port alongside three Thunderbolt ports.
As noted in Apple's technical specifications for the new machine, the HDMI port is unfortunately not top of the line -- it is an HDMI 2.0 port instead of an HDMI 2.1 port.
The HDMI 2.0 port supports a single 4K display with a refresh rate of up to 60Hz. HDMI 2.1 technology would have allowed the port to run a 4K display with a 120Hz refresh rate.
It's curious that Apple did not include HDMI 2.1 in the MacBook Pro models because the Apple TV 4K that was released earlier this year does have an HDMI 2.1 port.
With the Thunderbolt 4 ports, the M1 Pro
MacBook Pro models overall support up to two external displays with up to 6K resolution at 60Hz. The M1 Max
MacBook Pro models support up to three external displays with up to 6K resolution and one external display with up to 4K resolution at 60Hz.
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Top Rated Comments
There are almost certainly 4 TB4/PCIe4 channels. The fourth one is likely split between the SD card and the HDMI port (and perhaps a couple other peripherals, we'll have to see what System Information says next week). HDMI 2.1 utilizes up to 48Gb, TB4 has a 40Gb channel. You do the math. Even with the SD card using only a lane or two, a lot of the HDMI 2.1 benefits wouldn't be there.
On a side note, this is a good example of "you get what you ask for". Instead of having the fourth TB4 port and the flexibility to do what we want with it, the dongle-haters have prevailed and now we lose the flexibility. SMDH.
At home usage on 4k 120 or 8k displays isn't really a huge deal for me considering I use a thunderbolt dock or DisplayPort over USB-C which is better than HDMI anyway.
For that reason I see the built in HDMI as a quick display connector, not as the primary port for at home or at office desk connecting.
"Huh, I can buy a $180 Apple TV or a $2K laptop... YEAH I'LL BUY THE LAPTOP!!111one"
It's annoying but I guess it makes money.
Like the SD card slot, I see the HDMI port as a "built-in dongle". It's there to serve a specific common usage: interfacing with HDMI gear such as projectors.