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VESA Unveils DisplayPort 1.2

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has formally unveiled DisplayPort 1.2, an extension to the DisplayPort digital communication interface standard. DisplayPort enables transporting of display, audio, and other data.

DisplayPort 1.2 adds a number of new benefits for end users, including:

  • Double the data rate of the previous DisplayPort 1.1a standard (enabling higher performance 3D stereo displays, higher resolutions and color depths, and faster refresh rates);
  • Multiple monitor support from a desktop or notebook computer using only one DisplayPort connector;
  • The ability to transport USB data between a computer and display; and
  • Supporting display USB functions, such as a Webcam and USB hub.

The maximum data transfer rate of DisplayPort 1.2 is 21.6 Gbps--exactly double the data rates in previous iterations of DisplayPort. The higher data rate allows for increased display resolution, increased color depths, and faster refresh rates.

DisplayPort 1.2 also supports multi-streaming--the ability to transport multiple independent uncompressed display and audio streams over a single cable while supporting protected content and high performance applications, such as 3D content. The multi-streaming feature enables the use of multiple monitors connected by cable in a daisy chain or hub configuration.

Whereas the Display 1.1a standard can support one 2,560 x 1,600 monitor at 60 Hz, DisplayPort 1.2 can support two such monitors with one cable, or four 1,920 x 1,200 monitors. Many other combinations are possible, including multiple video sources, multiple displays (even at different resolutions), and multiple audio speakers.

DisplayPort 1.2 facilitates high-speed, bi-directional data transfer, allowing USB 2.0 or Ethernet data to be carried within a standard DisplayPort cable. For DisplayPort 1.2, the maximum data rate of this AUX channel has been increased from 1 Mbps to 720 Mbps, providing suitable bandwidth for USB 2.0. The DisplayPort cable can therefore support USB data to/from the display to support Display USB functions, in addition to sending the video and audio information. Standard Ethernet can also be transported in the DisplayPort cable.

DisplayPort 1.2 is backward-compatible with existing DisplayPort 1.1a systems, including existing cables, but computers will need to be DisplayPort 1.2-enabled. DisplayPort 1.2 is also backward-compatible with the Mini DisplayPort connector.

DisplayPort 1.2 also adds the following new audio enhancements and restrictions:

  • Audio copy protection and category codes;
  • High-definition audio formats such as Dolby MAT, DTS HD, all Blu-ray formats, and the DRA standard from China; and
  • Synchronization assist between audio and video, multiple audio channels, and multiple audio sink devices, using Global Time Code (GTC).

Enhancements for full HD 3D stereoscopic displays include:

  • Life-like motion using up to 240 frames-per-second in full HD, providing 120 frames-per-second for each eye;
  • Support for multiple 3D stereo transmission formats, including field sequential, side by side, pixel interleaved, dual interface, and stacked; and
  • 3D stereo display capability declaration mono, stereo, and 3D glasses.

Further information about DisplayPort 1.2 can be found here.

About the Author

Denise Harrison is a freelance writer and editor specializing in technology, specifically in audiovisual and presentation. She also works as a consultant for Second Life projects and is involved with nonprofits and education within the 3D realm. She can be reached here.

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