DisplayPort 1.2 gets announced, no one notices

Adds USB 2.0 and Ethernet connectivity

VESA HAS ANNOUNCED the latest iteration of the DisplayPort standard called 1.2 and the new version adds a couple of handy features and some that are more marketing spiel than actual features at the moment. However, with the announcement coinciding with CES, no one seems to have taken any notice of it.

VESA has gone and doubled the bandwidth on offer from 10.8Gbps to 21.6Gbps and it claims that this will not only offer support for much higher display resolutions, but will also improve the colour depth, refresh rate and multiple display capabilities. So what does all this mean? Well, for one DisplayPort 1.2 supports single display resolutions of up to 3840×2400 pixels at 60Hz, or in this new 3D obsessed century, 2560×1600 pixels at 120Hz for 3D displays. A wide range of 3D display features have of course been added, including support for 3D glasses and even 240Hz displays at full HD.

Increased resolution isn’t exactly something that’s going to be of huge importance to most users as displays over a certain size and resolution are just not within most people’s budgets. However, one feature that is interesting is the support for dual displays via a single connector either via a hub or daisychaining. There’s a limitation in terms of resolution here at 1920×1200 pixels per display, but this seems quite reasonable and accommodates the specifications of most current consumer displays.

What we’re most excited about are the improvements made to the AUX channel, which was fairly neglected by the older DisplayPort 1.1 standard as it only offered 1Mbps bandwidth. The new 1.2 standard increases the AUX channel’s bandwidth to a whopping 720Mbps which makes room for both USB 2.0 and 10/100Mbit Ethernet connectivity alongside the display signal. This means that it should be easy for manufacturers to implement USB hubs in displays in the future without the need for a secondary cable. The implementation of Ethernet doesn’t offer the same kind of immediate advantages, but we can see this being implemented in some vertical markets.

Other new features include support for a wide range of HD audio formats with all the copy protection features needed and of course in multi-channel. This makes us wonder if VESA has its sights set on having DisplayPort replace HDMI, although with the entire consumer electronics industry backing HDMI, this could be a tough nut to crack. Apple’s mini DisplayPort connector is also part of the new standard, so we should be seeing this connector on some Apple devices in the future.

The good news is that high quality DisplayPort 1.1 cables will work with the new 1.2 features, although you do need a graphics cards with a DisplayPort 1.2 port and of course a display with the same interface to take advantage of most of the new features. We’re still waiting for a wider adoption of DisplayPort by the display manufacturers, especially as we’re finally starting to see several graphics cards and notebooks with DisplayPort support. Maybe version 1.2 will be what kicks off the transition away from multiple display interfaces, but we highly doubt it, as the good old D-sub connector still seems to be the most popular display interface out there, despite being outdated and superseded by much better technologies.S|A

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