Yet another digital display connectivity standard

DVI-I, DVI-D, UDI, HDMI -- a confusing group of abbreviation for many. Interestingly, all of them do similar things and the two later ones attempt to address the same issues including backwards compatibility while being different themselves. As far as standards go, computer and digital displays have pretty much been using one big standard, DVI. However, industry supporters say that connectivity is too confusing, and in fact, will now launch a newer standard, called DisplayPort.

DisplayPort, designed by the VESA group, attempts to do one thing: unify digital display connection interfaces. Like UDI and HDMI, DisplayPort will be backwards compatible with DVI. The specification claims however, that DisplayPort offers greater bandwidth for HD video while at the same time offering a connection interface that's simple and easy to use.  Dell's press release claims:

The DisplayPort specification also addresses the industry need for a ubiquitous digital interface standard with a compact connector, as well as optional content protection, that can be deployed widely at low cost. A protected digital interface that can be easily deployed on a PC enables broad access to premium content sources such as high-definition movies.

The DisplayPort interface is designed to be used for all types of digital display connections, including internal connections in a notebook, monitor, or TV. This capability makes it possible to avoid the costly signal translation from one display format to another that is required with today's display interfaces.

Interestingly, the original supporters for UDI and HDMI also vouched to offer the same things. What consumers hate most however, are too many competing standards that just confuse the purchasing and learning progress. Too many standards also drive up manufacturing costs, where some manufacturers end up implementing an entire range of standards just so that their customers won't be left out. This drives up costs, and in the end, the consumer is the one left paying.  HDMI cables, for example, still cost upwards of $30 for even small lengths.

DisplayPort, however, is now receiving major industry support by Dell, HP and Lenovo -- three major PC giants that make up most of the world's desktop PC shipments. The HDMI forum recently said that HDMI would replace DVI by 2008. DisplayPort's supporters say however, that its standard will be superior to existing and emerging standards.

On the other side of the industry, Blu-Ray and HD-DVD still have yet to come to terms. Drive manufacturers are now implementing both standards into drives and it looks like we will have another DVD-R and DVD+R situation on store shelves. For now however, it is uncertain which digital interface will succeed but DisplayPort definitely has significant industry backing.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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