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DisplayPort Alt Mode for USB Type-C Standard FAQ
DisplayPort 1.3 Standard FAQ
DisplayPort General FAQ

DisplayPort Alt Mode for USB Type-C Standard

Q: What is the DisplayPort™ Alternate Mode (or Alt Mode) for USB Type-C?

A: VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association, has published a new Standard that enables the USB Type-C connector and cable to support the DisplayPort interface and audio/video (A/V) transport.

Q: How does the USB Type-C Standard share its interface with DisplayPort?

A: The USB Type-C Standard includes provision for Alternate Modes, which involves repurposing of the connector pins and cable wires for other interface types. Discovery of Alternate Mode support and enablement is performed through leveraging the use of the USB Power Delivery protocol.

Q: What user benefits are derived from DisplayPort Alt Mode on USB Type-C?

A: When using the DisplayPort Alternate Mode, the USB Type-C connector becomes the single system connection point for data, full performance AV interface, and power, either combined or individually. DisplayPort will enable the USB Type-C connector to support video resolutions of 5K and beyond.

Q: Did VESA work together with the USB Promoter Group on developing DisplayPort Alt Mode on USB Type-C?

A: VESA’s development of the DisplayPort Alt Mode for USB Type-C Standard was developed in collaboration with the USB 3.0 Promoter group.

Q: Does DisplayPort Alt Mode over USB Type-C support the higher data rate options of the DisplayPort interface?

A: Yes. The DisplayPort Alternate Mode supports full DisplayPort capability over a USB Type-C connector, including 5K video at 60 frames per second with 24 bits per pixel as recently enabled by DisplayPort version 1.3.

Q: Does USB data, DisplayPort A/V data and power transmission co-exist on a single cable?

A: Yes. The DisplayPort Alternate Mode is supported by the standard full-featured USB Type-C cable. DisplayPort, USB data, and power delivery can all co-exist on such cable.

Q: Can a user connect a video sink or source device that has a conventional DisplayPort connector to another device that has the new Type-C connector?

A: Yes. Existing DisplayPort devices will be able to connect to newer devices using the USB Type-C connector and supporting the DisplayPort Alternate Mode, using a new type of USB Type-C to DisplayPort converter cable. The converter cable will have the ability to be plugged in either direction, meaning the USB Type-C connector could be either on the video source or display sink device, with the DisplayPort connector at the other end. Both types of DisplayPort plugs will be supported (the standard DisplayPort and mini DisplayPort connectors), and of course the USB Type-C connector will still support reversible cable orientation.

Q: Can a user connect a DockPort™ hub to a video source device that uses the new Type-C connector?

A: Yes. An adaptor will be available to connect a DockPort capable source device that uses a USB Type-C connector to a DockPort Hub, which uses a tethered cable with a mini DisplayPort connector.

Q: Like with DisplayPort sources devices today, will I still be able to support HDMI, DVI and VGA displays using an adapter, when using the DisplayPort Alt Mode over USB Type-C?

A: Yes. The DisplayPort Alternate Mode will include the protocol conversion capability that is already a part of the DisplayPort Standard. This will enable cables that include the USB Type-C to HDMI adapter, as well as USB Type-C to DVI and VGA. Such cables will use the DisplayPort signal from the USB Type-C connector and perform the protocol conversion within the cable. To the consumer, this will simply appear to be a cable with a USB Type-C plug on one end, and an HDMI, DVI, or VGA plug on the other end. The conversion circuit will be built into the display-end plug.

Such protocol converter function can also be integrated into a hub device, where the hub is connected to the DisplayPort source using either a USB Type-C to USB Type-C cable, or USB Type-C to DisplayPort conversion cable. The hub would then include an HDMI, DVI, and/or VGA output.

Q: Who owns and develops DisplayPort Standards?

A: DisplayPort is a video interface standard administered by VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association. DisplayPort is the new generation A/V interface developed by the GPU/display industry segment and currently undergoing rapid market adoption. DisplayPort enables high display performance and versatility, a high degree of system integration, and greater interoperability between various device types.

Q: What type of products will use this standard?

A: Because the USB Type-C connector is designed to be the next generated USB interface, it will appear on Smart Phones, Tablets, PCs, Notebooks, Docking Stations, Displays, Peripherals – Replaces all existing USB ports.

Q: When will I be able to buy these products?

A: Products should be available in 2015.

Q: How will I know if the Type-C connector on my device supports DisplayPort?

A: VESA is working with the USB-IF on port identification logos.

Q: What happens if I plug my display into a Type-C port that does not support the DisplayPort Alt Mode?

A: No video data will be received by the display, so there will be no image on the screen. Doing this will not harm your device.

Q: How do I know which end of the cable to plug into my device?

A: The USB Type-C to Type-C cable is reversible, and so is the USB Type-C to DisplayPort adapter cable. These can be plugged in either direction. The USB Type-C to HDMI, DVI, VGA, and DockPort converters need to be plugged into a video source device that has the USB Type-C connector.

Q: I have a Mac with Thunderbolt that uses DisplayPort for video. Will there be a Thunderbolt to USB Type-C adapter to connect a DisplayPort monitor that uses a Type-C connector?

A: A Thunderbolt connector on a Mac or PC uses the standard mini DP connector and supports DisplayPort as well as Thunderbolt. So for the Thunderbolt connector, you can use the standard mini DP to USB Type-C adapter cable to connect to the monitor.

Q: Will products using the DisplayPort Alternate Mode be certified?

A: Yes. VESA and the USB-IF are working on a comprehensive certification program.

DisplayPort 1.3 Standard

Q: Does this mean DisplayPort 1.2 products are obsolete?

A: Not at all. VESA develops and publishes standards like DisplayPort prior to their actual deployment in the field. DisplayPort 1.2a represents the latest interconnect available to consumers from manufacturers. The new DisplayPort capabilities included in DisplayPort 1.3 will now begin a process of hardware development and certification that will result in such capabilities becoming available to consumers in a range of products over the next few years.

Q: What is the data transfer bandwidth of DisplayPort 1.3?

A: By providing the option to support a new higher data transfer rate known as HBR3 (High Bit Rate 3), which provides a link rate of 8.1 Gbps per lane, DisplayPort 1.3 offers a 50% increase in total link rate to 32.4 Gbps when using all 4 lanes in the DisplayPort cable. Allowing for data coding overhead, this provides a total data transport capacity of 25.92 Gbps.

Q: Will DisplayPort 1.3 enable further performance enhancements to 4K UHD displays?

A: Yes, when including the new HBR3 link rate option, with DisplayPort 1.3 a 4K UHD display can operated at a 120Hz refresh rate using 24 bit color, or a 96Hz refresh rate using 30-bit color.

Q: Does DisplayPort 1.3 support 8K displays?

A: Yes, by using the new HBR3 link rate, DisplayPort 1.3 will support 8K displays with a 60Hz refresh rate at 24 bit color, however, the visibly lossy 4:2:0 pixel format must be used. 4:2:0 is normally acceptable for the playback of pre-recorded content, such as movies, which uses 4:2:0 pixel format for compression, but is not desirable for rendered graphics from computer or other graphics generating video sources.

Q: Does DisplayPort 1.3 need to use image compression to support 8K displays?

A: By utilizing the new higher HBR3 bit rate, DisplayPort 1.3 supports 8K x 4K displays using a 4:2:0 pixel format without the use of additional image compression. To support 4:4:4 pixel format at 8K x 4K, future versions of DisplayPort will employ a ‘visually lossless’ compression scheme.

Q: Will DisplayPort 1.3 enable the use of a single connector for the new 5K x 3K displays?

A: Yes, as DisplayPort 1.3 with HBR3 becomes available for production, we should see computers and displays that support 5K x 3K using a single cable.

Q: When will I be able to buy products that use DisplayPort 1.3?

A: Products that support new DisplayPort features defined in DisplayPort 1.3 will be available in 2015. First implementations will likely use DisplayPort Alt Mode over USB Type-C.

Q: How will I know if my device supports new DisplayPort 1.3 features?

A: Vendor packaging and on-line information should indicate the DisplayPort features supported for each product.

Q: Will DisplayPort Alt Mode on the Type-C connector support DisplayPort 1.3?

A: Yes. All of the features associated with DisplayPort 1.3 will be available for the DisplayPort Alt Mode.

Q: Will Thunderbolt, which uses DisplayPort for video, support DisplayPort 1.3?

A: We expect that other interconnect technologies that use DisplayPort as a video transport will adopt the DisplayPort 1.3 features.

Q: How many 4K displays can I connect to my computer using DisplayPort 1.3?

A: DisplayPort 1.3 with HBR3 will support two 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) displays at 60Hz refresh and 24-bit color, using the VESA video timing that is used with DisplayPort connections. However you will also need to check if the video source device will support such monitor configuration.

Q: Does DisplayPort 1.3 enable support for the latest content protection?

A: Yes, DisplayPort 1.3 enables support for HDCP version 2.2, and this will be a required for 4K@60 content playback. This requirement will apply to DisplayPort-to-HDMI 2.0 converters as well (including Type-C to HDMI 2.0 converters).

Q: Can I connect a DisplayPort 1.3 device to a new television that supports HDMI 2.0?

A: Existing DisplayPort source devices, such as PCs, already support HDMI televisions up to 1080p through the use of a DisplayPort to HDMI adapter. DisplayPort 1.3 defines new adapters that will enable DisplayPort source devices to support HDMI 2.0, enabling the support for 4K UHD with up to 60Hz refresh and up to full 24 bit color with the 4:4:4 pixel format. These adapters do not require the new HBR3 link rate, requiring only HBR2, but will depend on some of the protocols within the DisplayPort 1.3 Standard. Some DisplayPort 1.2a systems will be upgradable through firmware to support this new feature. These new adapters will also be available in DisplayPort Alt Mode over the USB Type-C connector.

Q: Does DisplayPort 1.3 still support adapters to VGA, DVI and HDMI?

A: Yes.

Q: Does DisplayPort 1.3 enable support for camera RAW format data?

A: Yes.

Q: Is VESA’s new Adaptive Sync supported?

A: Yes. This was previously known as “Free-Sync” from AMD.

Q: How does DisplayPort 1.3 impact the capabilities of Multi-Stream?

A: Using the DisplayPort Multi-Stream feature, combined with the new HBR3 link rate options, DisplayPort 1.3 can enable the following example display configurations, without the use of compression:

• Two 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) displays
• Up to Four 2560 x 1600 displays (see note 2 below)
• Up to Seven 1080p or 1920 x 1200 displays (see note 2 below)
• One 4K UHD display with up to Two 2560 x 1600 displays

(1) The examples above assume the following:
• HBR3 and Multi-Stream supported by both the video source and displays
• 60Hz refresh with 24 bit color, using the 4:4:4 pixel format and VESA monitor timing
(2) The number of connected displays might be limited by video source capability. Typical personal computer support a maximum of 3 to 6 displays.

General DisplayPort FAQ

Q. Is Thunderbolt replacing DisplayPort?

A. No. Thunderbolt technology actually leverages DisplayPort to deliver HD video to displays, helping to move media faster and simplify connections between devices. The support of DisplayPort within the Thunderbolt interface further shows the level of commitment towards DisplayPort within the PC industry. DisplayPort over Thunderbolt continues to support existing DisplayPort monitors as well as DVI, HDMI and VGA video output.

Q. What does Thunderbolt mean for DisplayPort? Are Intel and Apple dropping support for the standard?

A. Both Apple and Intel remain committed to DisplayPort. Apple continues to be one of the largest users of DisplayPort and Intel announced in December 2010 that it planned to accelerate adoption of DisplayPort. Intel was joined in that announcement by AMD, Dell, LG Display, Lenovo and Samsung Electronics LCD Business.

Likewise, industry analysts remain positive on DisplayPort:

Research firm In-Stat predicts a 100 percent increase in external DisplayPort device shipments from 2009 to 2014.

According to IDC, DisplayPort penetration will experience a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 106 percent between 2009 and 2014.

IDC estimates that DisplayPort will be on 89.5 percent of commercial desktops in 2014 and DisplayPort’s penetration in commercial notebooks will increase to 95 percent in 2014.

Q. What is the current version of the DisplayPort standard?

A. With the publication of DisplayPort Standard Ver.1.2a, the DisplayPort standard Ver.1.1a standard was retired.

Q. Which types of products include DisplayPort?

A. PC manufacturers are offering DisplayPort in notebooks and desktops as a single connector solution for connecting to all types of displays, including current and older generation monitors, projectors and HDTVs. DisplayPort is also available as a standard feature on the latest monitors and projectors.

Q. Are customers actively asking for DisplayPort?

A. Customers have been asking for smaller connectors, easier set up, thinner cables, fewer cables, higher color depths, higher refresh rates, higher resolutions, digital projectors, thinner and sleeker displays, and ubiquitous display connectivity from a single connection–all features that DisplayPort provides. DisplayPort is the smart choice for future PC and display compatibility.

Q. What are the most significant benefits that DisplayPort provides a PC user?

A. The main product benefits that DisplayPort provides are higher performance as a standard feature, multiple display support from a single connector, ubiquitous connectivity to any display device, audio and display over a single cable, and an ultra small connector that is perfect for space-constrained applications like ultra thin notebooks, netbooks and multi-connector graphics cards. DisplayPort also enables ultra sleek, easy to use direct drive flat panel monitors. DisplayPort’s micro-packet architecture sets the stage for future display features such as single-cable, multi-function monitor connectivity and daisy-chained displays for improved multi-monitor connectivity and usage. DisplayPort provides the ultimate range of connectivity options enabling a single connector on the PC to connect to monitors, projectors and HDTVs that may have VGA, DVI, or HDMI inputs, making DisplayPort an easy, universal and cross-application solution.

Q. Wasn’t DisplayPort conceived as a computer interface originally, or was it contemplated for CE systems since its inception?

A. DisplayPort was created to be a universal replacement for separate PC display interfaces including LVDS, DVI and VGA. DisplayPort does include many features important in consumer electronics, including surround sound audio and content protection for Blu-ray disc support.

Q. How is VESA handling the issue of interoperability to be certain that DisplayPort equipped products are able to work together?

A. VESA has developed a DisplayPort Compliance and Interoperability program to assure that products carrying the DisplayPort certified logo interoperate successfully. Look for the “DisplayPort Certified Logo” on DisplayPort products.

Q. Is there a logo program indicating that a company’s product complies with the DisplayPort standard?

A. Yes.

Q. How is DisplayPort different from HDMI? Aren’t they very similar?

A. DisplayPort and HDMI are very different technically, and each has a different product focus. HDMI is the de-facto connection in the home theatre and is used widely on HDTVs as an A/V interface. Some PCs and monitors include HDMI to enable connectivity with HDTVs and other consumer electronics gear. While DisplayPort has a rich consumer electronics feature set, it is expected to complement and not necessarily replace, HDMI. DisplayPort is focused on PC, monitor, and projector usages as a replacement for DVI and VGA where high performance and backwards and forwards compatibility over standard cables are valued. The DisplayPort connector is compatible with HDMI signals, enabling product interoperability. A dual-mode PC that implements both HDMI and DisplayPort only needs a simple DisplayPort cable adapter to make an HDMI connection to an HDTV.

Q. Does DisplayPort include content protection?

A. DisplayPort 1.2 supports HDCP v1.3 ensuring that protected content such as Blu-ray Disc movies may be easily viewed over a DisplayPort connection that includes HDCP support.

Q. Why are DVI & VGA being replaced in PCs, monitors, and projectors?

A. Several factors are driving the need to replace DVI and VGA within the industry. VGA is becoming increasingly difficult to implement as silicon process geometries continue to shrink with the latest chipsets and GPUs, and it is anticipated that VGA will become an extra cost feature in the near future. VGA does not have content protection, and it’s usage may be curtailed due to digital content license agreements. The large VGA and DVI connectors with thumb screws are difficult and sometimes impossible to accommodate in the latest ultra-sleek notebook and netbook designs, and connecting and securing these cables to monitors is difficult in confined spaces. Both the DVI and VGA specifications are frozen, meaning no changes may be made to make enhancements necessary for their continued support in future products. In addition, Intel and AMD expect that analog display outputs such as Video Graphics Array (VGA) and the low voltage differential signaling technology (LVDS) panel interface would no longer be supported in their product lines by 2015.

Q. Why is DisplayPort the best DVI / VGA replacement for PCs, monitors, and projectors?

A. DisplayPort is the ideal replacement for legacy connectors since it supports the higher resolutions, refresh rates, and color depths found in monitors and the long distance performance and easy plug & play experience needed in projectors over standard cables. Since DisplayPort uses the latest low voltage technology, it is easily supported in the next generation silicon processes found in the latest chipsets, GPUs, and display controllers, and it is an extensible VESA standard. Many of DisplayPort’s unique benefits, such as ultra sleek direct drive monitor design and single cable multifunction monitor connectivity are not available with alternatives such as HDMI. Also, business and enterprise customers may not want to implement all of the consumer electronics features that are required in HDMI products. High resolution support and high performance are standard features with DisplayPort, whereas these are optional or premium features with other interfaces. DisplayPort is designed to meet the future needs of the PC industry while preserving connectivity with DVI, VGA, and HDMI.

Q. What does ‘High Performance is Standard’ mean?

A. DisplayPort simplifies the cable purchase experience by standardizing on performance. You no longer need to pay a premium to ensure that you have the right cable for your display application, or be uncertain as to whether your cable will work with your display. DisplayPort Certified cables are assured to deliver the highest resolutions, fastest refresh rates, and deepest color depths as needed by your monitor or projector. DisplayPort delivers the highest audio, display, and bi-directional communications performance in the industry without requiring consumers to buy special cables. With DisplayPort, high performance is standard.

Q. What are some examples of where high performance is important?

A. DisplayPort’s high performance is important for enabling new digital display experiences. For example, DisplayPort can easily support high end monitors featuring Resolution up to 4K x 2K at 60 FPS and 24 bpp, Refresh rate up to 240 FPS for 1080p at 24 bpp, Color Depth up to 48 bpp, even at 2560 x 1600 at 60 FPS and Color Accuracy (provides in-band color profile data). In addition, DisplayPort enables long cable support, up to 15 meters, enabling a much anticipated easy plug and play digital experience with projectors. With DisplayPort, high performance is standard.

Q. Can DisplayPort support 3D Stereo?

A. Yes, DisplayPort v1.2 includes protocol support for transmitting left and right eye display data. DisplayPort v1.2 enables Beyond Full HD Stereo support at 120Hz.

Q. What are some of the other unique capabilities in DisplayPort?

A. DisplayPort has many unique features that set it apart from other display interface standards. DisplayPort is designed specifically for low voltage implementation, has a unique bi-directional, high-data rate Auxiliary channel for sending commands and data between a monitor and a PC, features a micro-packet architecture that is capable of transmitting compressed as well as uncompressed display data, and features powered connectors providing up to 1.5W of power – all features unique to DisplayPort. DisplayPort also includes an optional latch on cable plugs, providing a secure connection to projectors and monitors, a necessary feature missing from HDMI.