NEW YORK –When it comes to the HDTV interface, industry watchers agree that HDMI, originally developed by Silicon Image, is the hands-down winner.
But in the mobile world, no such consensus applies. The mobile industry hasn’t indicated its interface preference for streaming HD video from a smartphone or a tablet to an external large-screen TV.
Analogix Semiconductor, Inc. (Santa Clara), focused on DisplayPort-based interconnect technologies, is hoping to tip this uncertain balance, by joining STMicroelectronics’ effort to push MYDP (Mobility DisplayPort).
MYDP is a mobile digital interface designed to reduce the number of communication signal pins for the mobile market. Earlier this year, ST, billing it as a companion to the DisplayPort standard, submitted an MYDP proposal to the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).
ST and ST-Ericsson are now both behind MYDP.
Carlo Bozotti, ST’s CEO, expressed in May ST’s commitment to extend the adoption of DisplayPort beyond monitors to mobile devices. Bozotti then said: “DisplayPort can contribute a lot to our top-line evolution.”
Although VESA’s comment period hasn’t started for MYDP, Analogix is jumping the gun and announcing Wednesday (Sept. 7th) that the company’s own SlimPort family of transmitter and receiver chips – which use the same underlying technology as DisplayPort – is compatible with the ST-promoted MYDP digital interface.
Consider this move an opening salvo in the MYDP vs. Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL) battle.
As Jon Peddie, president of Jon Peddie Research, explained, the MYDP interface doesn’t specify the connector type. “That makes it up to the device makers to decide whatever connector they want to use.” MYDP features a MUX that allows the DisplayPort signal to share signaling with USB, allowing the standard Micro USB port to be used for both DisplayPort and USB connectivity, he added.
Both Analogix and ST, armed with SlimPort and MYDP, intend to go head-to-head against Silicon Image and MHL.
More than three years ago, Silicon Image and a consortium of companies developed MHL, a new mobile audio/video interface standard for connecting mobile phones and other portable devices to high-definition televisions (HDTVs) and displays.
MYDP is ‘a rogue’ interface
Industry observers and analysts are hedging their bets on MYDP – for now – over concerns that it’s just a re-invention of the MHL wheel.
Randy Lawson, IHS iSuppli, principal analyst for display electronics and consumer market research, noted, “I do believe that MHL has much promise, despite a slow start (MHL was announced in 2008; but the first official standard was not released until last year and first products only coming out now from Samsung).” He described HDMI “the de-facto standard for HD display interface,” because its ubiquitous status in HDTVs, and on-going growth of HDMI transmission ports into the mobile space (like laptops). “That would seem to bolster a view that MHL has ample opportunity for future design-ins,” he added.
Peddie agreed. “MHL has some consortium backing and therefore has more brain power and maybe political power behind it. So if I had to pick a winner it would be MHL.”
Peddie, however, also acknowledged the strong adoption rate DisplayPort has achieved in the PC, notebook, tablet and monitor spaces. As acceptance of DisplayPort grows, “it would be a natural progression of DisplayPort to support HD display connectivity from mobile devices.”
The two analysts agree on this: MYDP and MHL are trying to accomplish the same thing. Lawson said, “I am not aware of any significant trend to support DisplayPort in mobile devices [at this point]. And I would say that the capability added would seem redundant anyway.” Calling MYDP “a rogue,” Peddie said that it threatens to take the industry “back to the future of a different connector on every system trying to do the same thing.”