Mini DisplayPort Could Become Standard


DisplayPort got a big boost as a video connection standard when Apple decided to use it across its entire notebook line.

Of course, being Apple, they couldn’t use it as is, and instead introduced the Mini DisplayPort version, which was more compact, and, sadly, would also require special adapters to be purchased by MacBook owners. Now version 1.2 of the standard is poised to bring some improvements that will likely make it more attractive to consumers and manufacturers alike.

One of those improvements is the possible standardization of the Mini DisplayPort form factor, which could be a definite boon for MacBook owners, since the market for adapters would become much more competitive. Apple currently offers a free license for the Mini DisplayPort standard, but it has the right to refuse this license to anyone for any reason. Were it to become an official standard supported by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA), any manufacturer could use it, without Apple’s say so.

That’s not all that’s in store for the promising young standard. Version 1.2 should also bring twice the available bandwidth, allowing for 3840×2160 resolution on a single screeen, two at 2560×1600, or four at 1920×1200, and support for 3D video playback.

More bandwidth could also be used for USB support, allowing the DisplayPort connector alone to power and run displays with built-in cameras like the iSight, and with integrated USB hubs. That would mean that a monitor like the 24-inch LED Cinema Display wouldn’t require a separate USB cable connection.

Support for functions beyond display is a definite advantage, but, as MacUser points out, DisplayPort brings with it the built-in DRM that’s responsible for the HD playback woes of new MacBook owners. Broader use of the standard should expand the list of supported monitors, so this problem could be somewhat mitigated by the time revision 1.2 arrives.