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DisplayPort revision to get mini connector, stereo 3D

Apple's MacBook monitor port to enter standard

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Laptop vendors will be soon be able to use the same mini-DisplayPort connector found on Apple's latest MacBooks.

The tiny port is to be included in the upcoming DisplayPort 1.2 specification, the standard's overseer, Vesa, said last week. The digital monitor link tech is to get stereoscopic display support too.

DisplayPort 1.2's central improvement is a doubling of available bandwidth to 5.4Gb/s. In part, that's to provide sufficient throughput for a display to switch rapidly - at 120Hz - between left- and right-eye images at 1920 x 1080, enabling stereoscopic 3D pictures.

However, the increased bandwidth will also allow 3840 x 2160 resolutions to be reached with a colour depth of 30 bits per pixel.

Just as resolution can be traded for fast flipping between stereoscopic component images, it can also be reduced to allow simultaneous multi-monitor support over a single connector. Vesa said DisplayPort 1.2 will drive, say, two 2560 x 1600 monitors, or four 1920 x 1200 screens, all assuming the source system has the graphical welly to render the images in the first place, of course.

Apple's DisplayPort mini-connector

Apple's DisplayPort mini-connector: soon to be standard

Vesa anticipates all these monitors hooked up in a chain rather than a four-way split cable.

Vesa reiterated its plan - announced a year ago - to expand DisplayPort's auxilliary data channel so it has sufficient capacity to handle USB traffic, enabling monitors to include USB ports, webcams, microphones and the like.

At this stage it's unclear whether the Apple-designed mini connector will support these features, or will simply provide DisplayPort 1.1 connectivity, exchanging capacity for size.

We should find out by the middle of the year, when the DisplayPort 1.2 specification is set to be published. ®

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