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Xbox Series X's HDMI 2.1 port has a small compatibility problem

Xbox Series X
(Image credit: Microsoft)

A number of HDMI 2.1 chipsets from Panasonic have been affected by a bug, it seems – one that can inhibit 4K/120fps HDR and 8K/60fps HDR content on the likes of Xbox Series X consoles, as well as NVIDIA graphics cards.

As revealed by German site Heise Online, these chipsets can be found in the latest Denon, Marantz and Yamaha HDMI 2.1 receivers, and can inhibit passthrough from certain graphic cards – including those used in the Xbox Series X. 

The issue can cause an entirely blank screen, rendering the tech more or less useless – although Audioholics has been able to request some workarounds for the issue. While the issue will be limited to those connecting their next-gen Xbox to a new AV receiver, much of the selling point of these HDMI 2.1 receivers is their next-gen console compatibility, and it's something of a dud note ahead of the console's mid-November launch.

Much of the hype around next-gen consoles stems from 4K and 8K gaming capability enabled by HDMI 2.1 – with games technically able to passthrough to a compatible television at 4K/120fps or 8K/60fps, which is far beyond the current 4K/60fps benchmark that many games on the current console generation still struggle to hit.

But a big part of why gamers are upgrading is these new specs ceilings, even if it may take a while for devs to truly squeeze max performance out of the PS5 and Xbox Series X consoles.

Is the problem being fixed, or what?

According to a statement from Official Sound United, users can try the following steps to ensure no further issues:

  • 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.”
  • 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.

OSU also notes that the company is working on a more permanent solution, while Yamaha has confirmed it will update users in the “near-term”.

While the Xbox Series X is still a few weeks away, if you’re having the issue with an NVIDIA card, it might be worth checking your receiver and contacting the manufacturer.