DisplayPort 1.3 vs. HDMI 2.0

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

How does DisplayPort 1.3 compare with HDMI 2.0 in terms of performance?

When comparing DisplayPort 1.3 with HDMI 2.0, DisplayPort 1.3 has several key advantages. First, the video bandwidth of DisplayPort 1.3 is much higher than HDMI 2.0.  This means that DisplayPort 1.3 can support higher resolution timing such as 8K at 60Hz, where as HDMI 2.0 can support 4K at 60Hz max. Second, DisplayPort 1.3 has the ability to transmit multiple video streams on one cable through the MST feature allowing multiple monitors to be daisy-chained together (although there are limitations as to the number of displays and resolution supported, which makes it more appropriate for desktop uses than video walls).  Finally DisplayPort includes installer-friendly locking connectors. HDMI doesn’t natively support locking connectors though many Planar products do provide support for threaded hex nuts for special-locking HDMI connector which installers can find in specialty stores or through distribution.

HDMI 2.0 does have two main advantages over DisplayPort 1.3. First, the max cable lengths achievable on HDMI are much higher than DisplayPort. Distances of 30 meters with 1080p are not uncommon with Planar displays. We’ve seen it work with 40 meters at lower resolution. For 4K on our Planar UltraRes products, we’ve regularly been able to get about 10 meters. On DisplayPort, the standard lists 3 meters maximum. Now, longer distances are possible depending on resolution and bit depth, but only up to about maybe 15 meters or so max at a lower resolution and only with a very high quality source and display. And then finally, HDMI has a much higher install base. Nearly every consumer source out there and displays both contain HDMI. Your set top boxes, your Blu-Ray players, your TVs, smart phones and tablets - everything has HDMI. Whereas DisplayPort is mainly confined to PCs and some desktop monitors and a few larger format displays today, but is growing in importance as a standard in the industry for connectivity.

You can see the two standards compared in the table below:


About the HDMI 2.0 Standards

Tuesday, February 03, 2015

What is new about the HDMI 2.0 standard?

In HDMI 2.0, the biggest improvement was nearly doubling the bandwidth, allowing for up to 4K at 60hz video timing. Additionally, one of the new features was support for 4:2:0 sub-sampling.  This reduces the color information by 75% which reduces the overall data rate by 50%. In other words, support for 4:2:0 allows 4k 60Hz 4:2:0 to be transmitted within the same bandwidth as 4k at 30hz 4:4:4 or non-sub-sampled. On Planar UltraRes, because we do have a very flexible and capable architecture, we were able to add support for 4K at 60Hz 4:2:0 with a firmware upgrade that was made available to customers earlier this year.

Other new features include Rec. 2020 color imagery and this is a new wide gamut color space that encompasses most of the visible spectrum. It was released at a similar time as the rest of the UHD standards and it’s intended that sometime in the future that 4K panels will all have the Rec. 2020 color space, although that is likely to be many years out, probably near the end of the decade (thus the name of the standard 2020, perhaps).

Other features include native 21:9 aspect ratio support. So if, for those of you that have a Blu-Ray® player, you’ll notice that there are black bars on the top and bottom of the signal and that’s actually encoded into the video that’s being transmitted rather than just sending the active area that’s in the middle. So this enhancement allows for the content to be sent at a native wide screen aspect ratio to get higher resolution. You’ll also get 32-channel audio with HDMI 2.0 and it can support up to 4 audio streams, as well.

And finally, one of the new features added has been HDCP 2.2 and this is a new encryption scheme that’s intended to be used for 4K content and so it’s expected that native 4K content that requires encryption will be required to use HDCP 2.2. It’s a more robust scheme than HDCP 1.x.  As you may recall, there was a master key hack on HDCP 1.x which compromised the scheme and they came up with a new more robust revision with enhancements to the overall encryption scheme that allow it to be used in areas other than just HDMI and DisplayPort.

It’s also worth noting that HDMI version numbers don’t accurately reflect the feature set of the products. So merely saying the product is HDMI 2.0 compliant in itself doesn’t say a whole lot because almost every feature within that standard is optional. So for example you could have an “HDMI 2.0 compliant product” that doesn’t support 4K or 3D or deep color or audio or many of the other features for that matter. And so in order to properly reflect the feature set in the product, what really should be said is HDMI with 4K support or HDMI with 3D support or HDMI with 4K 60 4:2:0 support. In most cases when people are asking about HDMI 2.0 support, what they’re really asking is if the product supports 4K at 60Hz.

How does HDMI 2.0 compare with HDMI 1.4a?

DisplayPort 1.3 Standard Updates

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

What is new in the DisplayPort 1.3 standard?

DisplayPort is the digital display interface developed by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).  It is an interface primarily used to connect a video source to a display device, like a computer monitor or a video wall.  The main feature addition in DisplayPort 1.3 was a 50% increase in bandwidth allowing support for up to 8K at 30Hz. Additionally, DisplayPort 1.3 added support for 4:2:0 sub-sampling like HDMI 2.0 and this provides the ability to support up to 8K at 60Hz 4:2:0. Other features carried over from DisplayPort 1.2 include Multi-Stream Transport or MST and this is the ability to daisy-chain several monitors together in order to be able to drive multiple monitors from a single output, which is a featured aimed at desktop applications, but has too many limitations to be considered a viable video wall feature.
Other features include 3D and audio including HD audio and finally DisplayPort dual mode also called DP++, which allows HDMI to be output from DisplayPort sources via passive HDMI to DisplayPort cable or adaptor. This will continue to be supported but at a reduced bandwidth, only 1080p max. HDCP 2.2 support was also added to stay on par with HDMI 2.0.

We have heard about the USB type C connector that is coming to DisplayPort.  What is it and what are the benefits?

Yes, another related announcement in the standard is the USB type C connector, which is a reversible connector.  This means that the plug doesn’t have to be oriented in one direction.  This may be familiar to those of you who are using the “Lightning” connector on the Apple® iPhone or iPad where you can plug it in to either direction, upside down or right side up.  The USB type C connector is similar. The main benefit of this new connector is not only does it support super speed USB, but through a feature called DisplayPort Alt Mode, it can also transmit DisplayPort video. And it can do this through a passive adaptor. We would expect laptops and other devices to start supporting the USB type C connector probably sometime in 2015.  There will be a variety of cables available, of course, that interface between the connector types.
Comparing the different versions of DisplayPort, how are the capabilities changing as the versions evolve?

Has been DisplayPort been widely adopted?

Since it’s introduction in 2006, we have seen DisplayPort gain popularity in the computer industry.  Predictions from IDC show that DisplayPort will be available on 95 percent of computer notebooks by 2014.  It is still most common as an interface on computers and related equipment and has had limited adoption in consumer devices and sources. OEMs and device makers ranging from Apple®, Microsoft®, Google®, Dell™, Lenovo ® are among VESA members that offer DisplayPort-only products.


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