LAS VEGAS Intel and Samsung officially put their weight behind the Displayport 1.1 specification at a press conference at the Consumer Electronics Show here Tuesday (Jan. 9). With their support the competing Universal Display Port (UDI) effort is essentially dead.
DisplayPort backers see the interconnect as the digital successor to analog VGA, the Digital Visual Interface used on TVs and PCs and the Low Voltage Differential Signaling links used inside notebooks and monitors. UDI, a variant of the High Definition Multimedia Interface seeing rapid uptake in HDTV sets.
Intel and Samsung, along with chip designer Silicon Image which owns much of the intellectual property to HDMI had supported UDI. UDI was publicly launched in late 2005. But UDI activity slumped after the DisplayPort effort emerged with backing from major PC makers including Dell, Hewlett-Packard and Lenovo as a standard of the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).
"Samsung has been the only panel makers involved continuously in both efforts," Brian Berkeley, vice president for advanced technology, in the LCD unit of Samsung Electronics said at the CES press event.
"At this point we have received many inquiries about DisplayPort support from major computer companies and no inquiries about support for UDI," Berkeley added.
Simon Ellis, an Intel technology manager whose business card still reads "UDI Champion," said his company also now backs DisplayPort 1.1 as the way forward.
"We realized two PC technologies could not be successful," Ellis said. "The connector is the stickiest component in the PC. There is huge resistance to any new connectors because once you put them in and have third party products linking to them, it is very hard to take them away," he added.
Intel has been quietly working in the background for about a year to port its High-Bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) software from HDMI to DisplayPort which uses a very different architecture, said Don Whiteside, director of technology standards and policy at Intel. HDCP version 1.3 is now available for both HDMI and DisplayPort.
Three chip makers are working to integrate HDCP 1.3 into their sampling chip sets. They included Genesis Microchip. (Alviso, Calif.), Analogix and startup Parade Technologies Inc. (Sunnyvale, Calif.) which is focused solely on DisplayPort silicon.
Bruce Montag, a technology strategist for Dell, made the case for DisplayPort. Because it can replace VGA, and DVI external and LVDS internal links it will support large volumes and thus low costs PC makers like. It has an extensible micro-packet-based architecture, unlike the raster-scan architecture of HDMI and thus can support novel features for video and voice calling. And it supports a road map to quad HD displays and beyond.
Bob Myers, a distinguished technologist in HP's display unit, said HDMI will continue to be an interface well suited to HDTV sets where it was used in as many as 60 million systems last year. DisplayPort, but contrast will be used on PCs, PC monitors, projectors and notebooks, he said.
"We don't see competition between HDMI and DisplayPort. They will both be used in different markets," Myers said.
However, in today's convergence markets companies such as Dell and HP sell big-screen TVs to link to Media Center PCs as well as set-top boxes. That means the two will ultimately come into some market conflict, a reality for which HDMI backers are already gearing up.
Les Chard, head of HDMI Licensing LLC, said HDMI has been and will continue to be used in a growing group of PCs and has unique advantages over DisplayPort.
"We are every bit as fast as they are, and we are not limited on data rates in the future," said Chard in an interview at a separate CES event on Sunday (Jan. 7).
Some OEMs have chafed at the four cent per port royalties and $10,000 annual fee charged for HDMI licenses. Chard said although VESA is making DisplayPort available freely, companies behind the spec are allowed to charge reasonable and non-discriminatory royalties, which are yet to be determined.
Some have also charged HDMI lacks ac coupling which prevents the silicon from going into fine process technologies needed for future integrated chips. AC coupling is "what's next on our road map," said Chard.