DisplayPort - Your Port to the Future

DisplayPort is a new video interface its designers hope will be widely adopted for connecting separate video components as well as making internal display connections. Unique features of this interface make it a step up from HDMI, which is exclusive to the consumer electronics market and not suitable for PCs as a monitor interface. DisplayPort is intended to be a unifying interface in both PC and entertainment hardware. It will be a universal interface between internal and external connections, allowing two-way communications inside and outside PCs and consumer electronics devices alike.

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This standards consolidation of internal and external interfaces is a unique step in an industry with a history of fragmentation. The internal connection will behave much like PCI as an electrical connection between parts within a PC. But it will also feature an end-user plug system for use with separate set-top components. As an external interface, it will allow set-top boxes to communicate between each other and to the display devices itself, offering potential for interactive entertainment. This unified standard is a first for the industry and has considerable muscle behind it already. Developed by the Promoter Group which consists of ATI, Genesis Microchip, Dell, HP, Molex, NVIDIA, Philips, Samsung and Tyco, the display port has some powerful backing for integration with both PC and consumer electronics systems.

The new graphical display interface was submitted to VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association, on August 17, 2005, to publish the specification as an industry standard. If adopted, it will change the way PCs and home entertainment systems connect to today's digital TVs and monitors. HDCP compliance can be added to the standard, a project Philips has been working on for applications where copy protection is required.

Communicating at a transfer rate of 10.8 Gigabytes per second, DisplayPort stands to be the fastest while encompassing only a total of four lanes of traffic. Image quality to display devices using the new standards should be improved, with higher bandwidth allowing images to be refreshed instead of reloaded. Eventually, DisplayPort will start replacing DVI on PCs with its array of improvements. Whether or not it will be widely adopted by the consumer electronics industry as an alternative to HDMI will remain to be seen.

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