Feeds

Any port in a storm: the display tech battle

HDMI. DisplayPort. UDI. Three rivals, only one winner. Which will it be?

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Of course, the display needs to be able to display those colours and the source material has to have them there in the first place. Today, 10-bit displays are becoming more commonplace, but HDMI 1.3 has room to cope with these new colour depths as they begin to be used by screens, players and the content itself.

HDMI 1.3 also includes technology to ensure video and audio data remain synchronised which, again, is less of a concern now but may well become so as devices do more processing on the video data to enhance the picture. It may also prove handy when the two come from different locations: a PC's graphics card and its sound card, for instance.

Yet another nod to the PC world: HDMI is fully compatible with DVI technology, though DVI can only deliver digital images not sounds. HDMI supports the HDCP (High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection), which encrypts video data between devices.

HDMI's strength in the consumer electronics world comes not only from its broad industry support, but also because it's mandated both in the US and in Europe for HDTVs. In the US, HDTVs must have HDMI; in Europe they only need HDMI if they're to carry the HD Ready logo, which is near enough the same thing as it's the standard way of indicating to consumers that a display can do HD.

Remember, HDMI isn't essential to pick up an HD signal - the XBox 360 does HD over a component-video connection, for example - but it is necessary if you want to play HDCP-protected content on an HDTV. HDCP isn't widely deployed yet, but that's certain to change in the near future as more consumers buy into Blu-ray Disc, HD DVD and online HD sources.

DisplayPort

DisplayPort was originally conceived as a replacement for VGA, DVI and LVDS on PCs - essentially to do for the computer business what HDMI was doing for the consumer electronics world. So, while the ability to support beyond-HD resolutions was always part of the DisplayPort package, sound wasn't, because most PCs handle sound and video separately.

DisplayPort
DisplayPort: reaches the computers other ports cannot reach

But just as HDMI has accumulated more PC-focused features, the DisplayPort specification has grown in the direction of consumer electronics, taking on the ability to carry sound data too. DisplayPort was updated to version 1.1 earlier this year, a move which saw the technology incorporate the ability to handle HDCP, though it remains an optional part of the specification, so there's no guarantee a given DisplayPort-equipped device will support it. That may prove a problem for users who want to watch protected HD content on a PC.

The essential guide to IT transformation

Next page: UDI

More from The Register

next story
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
One step closer to ROBOT BUTLERS: Dyson flashes vid of VACUUM SUCKER bot
Latest cleaner available for world+dog in September
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.