Friday, April 6, 2007


It really is hard to stay current with High Definition, and technology in general. No matter how long you wait to buy the newer, more advanced models; something better comes out a few months later. Always! Guaranteed! I think this next piece of news is going to be somewhat frustrating for a lot of people. Just when you thought you were "current" with 1080p and HDMI, we learn that over the next couple years DVI and VGA (the two types of cables you use to connector to your computer monitor) will be phased out and replaced by a new standard connector called Displayport version 1.1 (no doubt will change in version as time goes on). The standard comes from the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), who every major manufacturer and many small ones are a member of. What's the relevance? Well VESA's approval of this new standard means that every company from A-Z will likely be adopting this standard in the near future.

Two years ago, dvi was the primary HD connector of choice. One of my early hdtvs, the Sony KF-42WE610 had a DVI port, and it was "future proof." At the time, that is! No more than two years later, just after PC's and hdtv's standardized dvi, HDMI has replaced it in the home theatre environment. High Definition has come a long way in defining itself, but its not done yet. The good news is that unlike two years ago, it is now safe to buy. Purchasing an hdvt that doesn't have a Displayport 1.1 won't really be an issue for a while and quite honestly, unless hooking your PC up to your tv is an absolute must, it may not be that necessary in the future. I would speculate this will be more of a deal for PC users in the future than it will be for home theatre enthusiasts, as HDMI is now solidly grounded and vested in HD components.

It will also take the next two years to phase this standard into products and to slowly phase DVI and VGA out. The 2007 Q3 models of hdtv's will introduce new features such as HDMI 1.3, deep color, and higher response times/refresh rates. By 2009, who knows where we'll be? If manufacturers dare replace HDMI with Displayport 1.1, then all your home theatre components will need an overhaul. However, I highly doubt this will be the case. If anything, I would see Displayport being the connector of choice for PC's, and perhaps being an additional connector at the back of your hdtv as an option to interface with the PC/laptop. But without further ado, I'll finish with the rundown on Displayport 1.1:

  • DisplayPort 1.1 gives manufacturers of LCD panels, monitors, graphics cards, PC chipsets, projectors, peripherals, components, and consumer electronics a next generation digital interface that is designed to replace LVDS, DVI, and eventually VGA. It provides the ability to connect to both internal and external displays with a common digital interface. This common interface capability means that DisplayPort can carry pixels directly from any display source to any LCD panel, simplifying the design complexity that is present today. As presented at CES 2007, a DisplayPort Interoperability Guideline is nearing completion that recommends best practices for providing DVI and HDMI connectivity via the DisplayPort connector and simple cable adapters.

  • DisplayPort 1.1 adds support for High Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) version 1.3. HDCP support enables viewing of protected content from Blu-ray and HD-DVD optical media over DisplayPort 1.1 connections (the movie studio's are loving this!). In addition, it also offers DisplayPort Content Protection (DPCP) which was developed by Phillips and includes support for 128-bit AES encryption.

  • DisplayPort 1.1 provides for low voltage and low power operation, and enables improved interoperability and reduced EMI through its unique embedded clock architecture. Significant advantages over DVI and VGA include a small USB-sized connector with available latching, two-way display connectivity, optional audio support, higher performance than dual link DVI at 10.8 Gigabits per second, supports WQXGA (2560×1600) resolution, and a unique micro-packet architecture that enables new display features.

  • Available throughout the industry as a free to use, open and extensible standard (unlike HDMI which requires royalties), DisplayPort is expected to accelerate adoption of secure digital outputs on PCs, enable higher levels of display performance, and introduce high volume digital displays that are simpler, thinner, and easier to use than VGA.