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Vesa to enable backlight arrays on laptops, tablets

DisplayPort updated to preserve power

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Display standards body Vesa has announced a new version of its Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) specification that paves the way for laptop screens and tablet panels with TV-like array backlighting.

It's all done in the name of power conservation, of course, and the eDP 1.4 specification includes a number of technologies designed to cut the power draw of directly connected displays.

In addition to support for regional backlight control, eDP 1.4 gives panels a partial-frame update capability - if you don't need to refresh every pixel, don't spend energy doing so. This builds on eDP's Panel Self Refresh (PSR) tech, which has been part of the spec for some years now, builds a frame buffer into the panel and gives the screen the electronics to read that buffer and light up its pixels accordingly.

Lower interface voltages, a wider array of supported link data rates, and better data compression - the quicker the picture information gets across, the quicker the bus can be powered down - all help here.

Vesa has also tweaked the spec to allow multi-touch data sets to be sent from the display, eliminating the need for dedicated signal lines.

eDP will support a broader range of device form-factors, Vesa said.

Stage one in making use of all this is to put the spec into the hands of hardware companies, and that will take place in October. But don't expect it to appear in products you can actually buy until 2014, Vesa warned. ®

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