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Why was DisplayPort invented?


The history of DisplayPort technology stretches back to the times when desktop computers were the most popular. It has since become a common video transmission interface primarily used in digital displays such as computers and PC monitors.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) are the brains behind the DisplayPort. They incorporated packetized data transmission, a similar technology applied in USB ports and ethernet.

VESA invented the DisplayPort solely to improve the quality of digital display and allow for multiple displays, a godsent feature for multitaskers.

Why was DisplayPort invented?

The increase of resource-intensive applications has increased demand for displays that offer better resolution, richer colour, and convenience offered by an interface that supports multiple displays.

VESA DisplayPort to DisplayPort Cable
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DisplayPort traces its creation back to 2006 when VESA approved the first version. The primary purpose of its invention was to replace the older interface standards that included VGA and DVI and improve the quality of digital signals displayed on monitors.

Since the first version of DisplayPort 1.0 was created, there has been a subsequent iteration of the versions to improve resolution and bandwidth.

Here is a table to explain further:

DisplayPort SpecificationYearTypical Monitor ResolutionMax. Data Rate
1.020061440p @ 60 Hz5.18/8.64 Gbps
1.120071440p @ 60 Hz8.64 Gbps
1.220094K @ 60 Hz17.28 Gbps
1.320144K @ 120 Hz

8K @ 60 Hz (with DSC)

25.92 Gbps
1.420164K @ 120 Hz

8K @ 60 Hz (with DSC)

25.92 Gbps
1.4a20184K @ 120 Hz

8K @ 60 Hz (with DSC)

25.92 Gbps
2.020198K @ 60 Hz77.36 Gbps

Ever since the first DisplayPort was approved, it has improved its bandwidth and resolution with the development of newer, better versions. 

Fusion 4K DisplayPort Cable 1.3
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For instance, in 2014, DisplayPort 1.3 was established. This DisplayPort version carries a bandwidth of 25.92 Gbps. This is a 50% increment from the previous 1.2 version, which had a bandwidth of around 17 Gbps. 

The High Bit Rate 3 (HBR3) transmission mode is another improvement with the DisplayPort technology that was introduced in 2014. With the HBR3 transmission mode, DisplayPort 1.3 could transmit a 5120×2880 display at a refresh rate of up to 60hz. 

DisplayPort 1.3 was popular and used in many devices during this period. However, in 2016 a newer version, the DisplayPort 1.4, was created. 

The evolution  did not stop there. DisplayPort 1.4 was again modified to DisplayPort 1.4a, which was published in 2018.

VESA DisplayPort Cable 1.4
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DisplayPort 1.4a featured DSC 1.2a and in 2019, VESA released DisplayPort 2.0.

The latest DisplayPort technology packs 20 pins that have been split into two connector sizes; the full DisplayPort connector and the Mini DisplayPort. These were invented to offer more flexibility to accommodate both Thunderbolt and USB technologies.

Designed for high power performance with low power implementation, DisplayPort provides a foundation for amazing future digital experiences while allowing device compatibility with the current crop of equipment.

Newer devices such as netbooks, ultra-thin notebooks, and home-theatre appliances are today designed to fit in space-constrained places and also achieve easy portability to cope with the users who are always on the go. 

The extended DisplayPort MultiMode (DP++) allows you the flexibility to convert your DisplayPort signal to DVI, VGA, or HDMI with the proper adapter.

DisplayPort technology fits the bill to provide premium display performance where it really matters.

What is the point of a DisplayPort?

The DisplayPort is an important interface for transmitting both video and audio signals from a computer to an external monitor. It was developed as a high-performance signal transmission to replace older display modes such as VGA and DVI.

VESA Certified DisplayPort Cable plugging into laptop
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There has been growing interest in DisplayPort and, more so, the unique functions that it performs. 

We take this opportunity to highlight a few important reasons to use DisplayPort:

Increased productivity

In today’s fast-paced world, the art of multitasking is key. Using two or three monitors side-by-side not only looks cool but can actually boost productivity. 

Programmer working on multiple monitors

DisplayPort allows the connection of multiple monitors. It becomes easier for you to de-clutter your work by parking the content that is not of immediate focus on different monitors.

When you try to resize windows to fit within a single monitor, you are more likely to strain your eyes trying to view content. With a single cable and using the DisplayPort Multi-Stream Transport, the digital signal is carried from one source device to multiple displays.

Ultimate gaming experience

If you are a gaming enthusiast, then you are one of the reasons DisplayPort exists. You can enjoy the full capabilities that come with advanced graphics. 

Woman playing game on multiple monitors

DisplayPort delivers high-performance PC gaming display configurations; with a combination of multiple monitor capabilities and high resolution.

Through a single cable, DisplayPort offers 4K Ultra HD support at 60Hz. 

DisplayPort supports the use of multiple monitors, which further enhances the PC gaming experience-providing the gamer with an exciting environment only rivalled previously by wearing a head-mounted display.

Is DisplayPort better than HDMI?

While both the DisplayPort and the HDMI can be found on most GPUs these days, picking out which is better between the two can be confusing. And, though you may debate whether the DisplayPort is better than HDMI, these two digital standards are not really in competition.

Display port vs HDMI port

Both technologies share similar specifications and capabilities. The video and audio quality are very similar. Their latest versions allow 3D images and copy protection and provide high-speed, fully digital connection. In all sense, the DisplayPort and HDMI complement each other.

DisplayPort implements low power while giving high display performances mainly in high-end devices with limited connector space. It has more of a computer focus. 

On the other hand, HDMI is favoured when it comes to connecting consumer AV products and televisions.

The DisplayPort is a popular choice for professional video editors and gamers because of its higher bandwidth that supports higher display resolutions as well as refresh rates. It is also highly extensible and has an excellent colour depth.

However, over time, DisplayPort has established itself as a better alternative for the following reasons:

  • It offers a higher resolution that produces quality images.
  • Easy integration with other systems.
  • Optimal display performance.
  • Great interoperability.

Conclusion

DisplayPort was invented in 2006,  three years after HDMI first made its way into the market. The technology was developed by VESA and specifically designed as an interlink between the graphics card and the monitor.

Through the use of a packet-based transmission system, DisplayPort allows flexibility in the use of bandwidths. It comes in different link versions, including one, two, and four, with increasing data capabilities.

Apart from DisplayPort being royalty-free, it opens up the world of digital displays and computing by setting new and better standards for consumer electronics through continued iteration of its versions.


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