Sunday, March 6, 2016

DisplayPort 1.4 to Use 'Lossless' Compression for Higher-Quality 8K Video Over USB-C

The Video Electronics Standards Association yesterday formally announced its new DisplayPort 1.4 standard, setting the stage for improved video quality and color for external display connections over both DisplayPort and USB-C connectors.

dp_usb_c
Rather than an increase in actual bandwidth, the improvements in DisplayPort 1.4 come due to improved compression, taking advantage of VESA's new Display Stream Compression 1.2 standard to support High Dynamic Range (HDR) video up to either 8K resolution at 60 Hz or 4K resolution at 120 Hz.

DSC version 1.2 transport enables up to 3:1 compression ratio and has been deemed, through VESA membership testing, to be visually lossless. Together with other new capabilities, this makes the latest version of DP ideally suited for implementation in high-end electronic products demanding premier sound and image quality.
dp_1_4_compression
In addition to video-related improvements, DisplayPort 1.4 also expands audio capabilities with support for 32 channels, 1536kHz sample rates, and broader support for "all known" audio formats.

The approval of DisplayPort 1.4 comes even though consumers are still awaiting the arrival of devices supporting the previous DisplayPort 1.3 standard. Intel had been expected to support DisplayPort 1.3 in its current Skylake generation of chips, but the company instead opted to offer dual DisplayPort 1.2 support. As we detailed earlier this year, the lack of DisplayPort 1.3 support in Skylake could lead Apple to hold off on releasing a new 5K Thunderbolt Display until next year when chips supporting the standard become available.

Intel hasn't laid out its DisplayPort support plans beyond Skylake, so it's unknown whether the company will first move to DisplayPort 1.3 or if it can jump straight to the new DisplayPort 1.4 standard. Either way, we're unlikely to see Macs supporting DisplayPort 1.4 until 2017 at the earliest.


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