The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has announced the latest version of DisplayPort technology: DisplayPort 2. The new standard will support resolutions up to 16K and use either a traditional DisplayPort or USB-C connector. . Expect to be able to use it in 2022.
What is DisplayPort?
DisplayPort is the new video signal transmission standard. On a basic level, it’s almost identical to HDMI. The DisplayPort standard can transmit 8K video at 60 hertz and audio to TVs and monitors (HDMI 2.1 supports 10K). It comes in big and small (like Mini HDMI). And, like HDMI cables, DisplayPort cables are pretty cheap.
So, why would anyone use DisplayPort? In general, it is useful for many monitor setups. Unlike HDMI, DisplayPort has a fancy “daisy chain” feature. You can plug a monitor into your computer via DisplayPort, and then run a DisplayPort cable from that first monitor to the other displays in. Computer professionals as well as PC gamers love this feature.
But unless you own a high-end monitor or computer, chances are you won’t be able to use DisplayPort. Since professionals and gamers often use it, manufacturers don’t bother to install DisplayPort in cheap computers, monitors or TVs. So should you care about DisplayPort 2? Is it groundbreaking in any way?
What is DisplayPort 2?
DisplayPort 2 supports 8K, 10K, and 16K video resolutions with a refresh rate of 60 Hz (twice the resolution and bandwidth of current DisplayPort standards). In essence, the latest version of DisplayPort is an upgrade to the current DisplayPort specifications.
DisplayPort 2 transfers data at 77.37 Gbps and it will have HDR10 support. Additionally, all DisplayPort 2 devices will require support for DSC, which is a standard for lossless image compression that some manufacturers overlook.
These specifications are very impressive. But DisplayPort 2 is more impressive when you’re playing virtual reality games. DisplayPort 2’s 77.37 Gbps delivery isn’t just ideal for VR gaming, and VESA claims that the upgraded video standard can send 4K 60 Hz video to up to two VR headsets at once (via the daisy-chaining, which is quite a natural part of DisplayPort 2.
And, thankfully, DisplayPort 2 is backward compatible with older DisplayPort hardware (the cable geometry hasn’t changed). This shouldn’t be a problem for small devices like phones and laptops – USB-C is also fully compatible with DisplayPort 2.
With 16K video and virtual reality data transfer speeds, DisplayPort 2 looks to be future-proof. We probably won’t see an upgrade to the video standard for another decade.
DisplayPort 2 Piggy-Backs on USB-C
While DisplayPort 1 requires a DisplayPort connector, DisplayPort 2 can also work over USB-C.
USB-C is set to replace the DisplayPort and HDMI ports on most electronics today (it’s already standard on MacBooks). This is possible because the USB-C cable supports what is known as alternate mode. This is a bit confusing, but each USB-C cable contains four lanes of data transmission and each lane has a bandwidth of 20 Gbps. In alternate mode, the orientation of these lanes can be changed, so a computer can send data at 80 Gbps to a monitor.
DisplayPort 2’s 77.37 Gbps data transfer rate is suitable to replace USB-C. This doesn’t mean you’ll need an adapter to connect a USB-C cable to a TV or monitor. So your next DisplayPort 2 compatible TV or monitor will have a USB-C port, and you’ll be able to stream video from any phone or computer to it via USB-C.
DisplayPort 2 launch time?
VESA had planned for DisplayPort 2 to hit the consumer market by the end of 2020, but that release has been pushed back several times. Currently, DisplayPort 2 is expected to arrive in mid-2022. But really, this transition depends on the manufacturers of computers, phones, TVs and monitors. The USB-C port won’t cut it, the device’s internals must be upgraded to the latest DisplayPort standard.
It is likely that DisplayPort 2 will integrate with high-end devices and monitors before it comes to laptops and TVs. HDMI 2.1 is capable of handling 10K video, so there’s not much incentive for manufacturers to immediately abandon this technology for low-cost products.