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The DisplayPort standard is probably the least appreciated video interface standards in existence. It supports higher resolutions at 30bpp color depth (i.e. 30-bit true color) than HDMI and even dual-link DVI and future revisions of the interface will support USB signals, which essentially means that a monitor with a USB hub will only need a single connection to the PC and to a power source. It also allows multiple monitors to be connected to a single port via a hub while being seen by the PC as independent displays.

It's also very low-profile:

DisplayPort connector compared with DVI-D connector

So far, the only companies that are taking this standard seriously are AMD, NVIDIA, Apple, HP, Lenovo and Dell. Apple, however, pushes their proprietary "Mini DisplayPort" connector that offers no benefits over the standard sized one, aside from having a more narrow (but taller) profile, which allows video cards installed in PCs with standard sized expansion brackets to have up to six outputs. The other companies are only pushing DisplayPort for higher-end products like professional laptops (e.g. Lenovo ThinkPads, Dell Latitudes, HP EliteBooks) and business oriented displays.

For the last two years, I have not seen many consumer-grade monitors with DisplayPort, whereas I've seen plenty with HDMI which is simply not suitable for connecting computers to desktop monitors, as it was originally designed for televisions and set-top appliances. HDMI requires a royalty to be paid for every device sold with an HDMI output or input, and another royalty for the use of the "HDMI" logo, while DisplayPort is royalty-free like Ethernet (although the use of the DP logo requires a fee.) And even with HDMI, most consumers don't even use it - most people continue to use analog VGA even for 1920x1080 displays.

I believe that the reason HDMI is catching on in the desktop world is simply "HD" marketing - the average Joe sees that gigantic "HDMI" logo on a product and thinks "HD!" DisplayPort allows for thinner displays as it allows the video card to directly control the LCD panel, rather than converting VGA/DVI/HDMI signals to LVDS using active logic, and consequently superior longevity, as I've seen plenty of monitors where the LCD components work perfectly, but the cheap electronics used to convert the signals are dead, bricking the monitor.

TL;DR: DisplayPort is easily the best available interface for hooking up PCs to displays, but it's seeing very limited adoption.

Got any thoughts about this?

asked Sep 13 '10 at 02:07

Victor's gravatar image


As with all standards, it takes time to adopt. DVI was suppose to replace VGA, however VGA never did die out through the life of DVI. Another off-topic example is MP3 and AAC, AAC was suppose to be an open and license free replacement to MP3 released in 1999.. yet it has only just recently started conquering over the MP3 market.

I've seen the growth in Displayport rise quite a bit in the past 2 years, almost every video card I see now has a displayport port, some even going as far as making displayport the primary port, with an optional DVI port: alt text

I guess the issue you're concerned with is displays. Display makers have been a bit slow at adopting it, but it's getting there. Also Mini Displayport is not proprietary, it's an official open standard, anyone can adopt and implement it, it just hasn't been very appealing to other computer makers as of it (I do see it being adopted on future (sub)notebooks. The Mac Pro video cards uses normal Displayport ports.

Here's a graphics card that supports 6 displays with Mini Displayport, below is AMD's Radeon HD 5870 Eyefinity card:
alt text

answered Sep 13 '10 at 02:42

Granit's gravatar image


edited Sep 13 '10 at 02:57

Mini DisplayPort technically isn't free to adopt.

Read: http://developer.apple.com/softwarelicensing/agreements/pdf/MiniDisplayPortImpLicense.pdf

One clause is that Apple can terminate your license to sell products with miniDP "if You, at any time during the term of this Implementation License, commence an action for patent infringement against Apple."

Most companies would rather not effectively forfeit their ability to sue a company when they violate their patents.

(Sep 13 '10 at 03:14) Victor Victor's gravatar image

But, that's how it is with all products. A product maker, through agency like FTC, can stop another product maker from selling their products in a specific market (like the US) if proven that they are patent infringing. Doesn't really change much. Microsoft Word got hit with a patent infringing suit, they were forced to stop selling the product in the US unless Microsoft changed that one portion of the product.

(Sep 13 '10 at 03:20) Granit Granit's gravatar image

"Commence an action for patent infringement against Apple" isn't infringing an Apple patent, but suing Apple for patent infringement.

(Sep 13 '10 at 03:38) Victor Victor's gravatar image

Ah I see your point, the first time I read it I was thinking something along the lines of "starting an action or way to infringe against an Apple patent". "action" in the legal since went right over my head, I see what you mean.

(Sep 13 '10 at 03:44) Granit Granit's gravatar image

on to macs, no. mabey on to pc but unless apple wants to go with a bigger video port than no.

answered Sep 13 '10 at 07:32

imacgnome's gravatar image


Mini DisplayPort is fully electrically compatible with DisplayPort.

Apple, as far as I know, is the only company that has implemented DisplayPort across its entire line of PCs - every Mac has it and the 24" and 27" LED Cinema Displays use it as the sole input. Other PC vendors implement it across a limited range of models, preferring to use HDMI on machines that will be sold in stores, due to the "prestige" of HDMI.

Any display that uses DisplayPort can be connected using a simple adapter to any Mac, and the LED Cinema Displays can be connected to PCs with DisplayPort using an adapter. However, you cannot connect a DVI output to a DisplayPort input (i.e. connecting your LED Cinema Display to a pre-unibody MacBook Pro's DVI output using a dongle)

(Sep 13 '10 at 08:56) Victor Victor's gravatar image
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Asked: Sep 13 '10 at 02:07

Seen: 6,644 times

Last updated: Sep 13 '10 at 08:59