High-quality video and mobility are the two big trends prompting the Video Electronics Standards Association to become more engaged in the mobile device industry.
The past year has seen a dramatic increase in emphasis on display quality as the core value of mobile devices.
At Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2016, Netflix reported that half of all of its users watched video via the company's streaming service on their smartphones. Since then, studies have indicated that even greater numbers of people are viewing digital content over mobile devices, and this trend will only escalate.
At this year’s MWC, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings predicted that within the next 10 to 20 years, all video will be on the Internet, while Sony debuted its first smartphone with a 4K high dynamic range (HDR) display to further enhance the small-screen viewing experience.
Users are clearly attracted to the engagement and emotional experience opportunities that mobile devices can now provide with high-quality video rendering capabilities, displays and cameras. Communication, web browsing, and high-speed data are things simply taken for granted. High-quality displays and now even virtual reality (VR) are moving mobile device communication to a new level.
This intersection of high-quality video and mobility is the reason why the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has become more engaged in the mobile device industry.
Starting back in 1988, VESA led video standards that were focused on displays for PCs. Over the years, video content creation and consumption have moved from cinema, to high-definition TV (HDTV), to the PC, and now to mobile devices. Today, VESA leads in the area of non-TV video standards, such as DisplayPort.
DisplayPort is an open standard that offers the highest video performance and versatility on computers, smart devices and displays. It is used with the ubiquitous USB Type-C connector in the form of DisplayPort Alt Mode, which enables the highest display performance available, combined with the USB Type-C connector’s high-speed data transfer and power delivery functions.
DisplayPort is also used for high-resolution internal displays, in the form of Embedded DisplayPort (eDP). eDP is used in virtually all new computers with internal displays: laptops, all-in-ones, and many high-end tablets with high-resolution screens.
With smartphone cameras, chips and displays now supporting 4K video, and external displays going to even higher resolutions, external VR displays will also require higher performance. VESA is creating standards that allow these devices to connect and work together, so that OEMs and content creators don’t need to worry about doing so.
Our membership of over 240 companies, big and small, from across the electronics supply chain, focuses on display applications set for future widespread use. This enables us to have solid standards developed by the time OEMs want to build products for these applications.
Case in point: in a few years, VR will require the equivalent of over 200 Gbps (200 billions of bits per second) in bandwidth, which is about eight times the video bandwidth offered today. VESA is working on this problem now, which is one of the reasons we developed the VESA Display Stream Compression (DSC) standard, which provides video compression for the display interface. Updated last year, DSC 1.2 can be utilized both for mobile displays and for emerging HDTVs.
It’s an exciting time both for mobile device developers and consumers. And it’s an exciting time for VESA, as well, because it’s our job to make it all work.
-- The author is Craig Wiley, Board Member, Video Electronics Standards Association, and senior director of technical marketing, Parade Technologies