Are you confused enough yet by HDMI and DVI and composite and component video connections? Brace yourself; here comes DisplayPort. It’s the new digital interface standard developed by VESA, the Video Electronics Standards Association. Already backed by HP, Lenova, and Dell, the standard is designed to carry digital video and audio signals, and supports digital copy protection. The intent is to have a single standard that can be used for PC and television applications, simplifying connections and lowering costs for manufacturers.
But why do we need yet another connection standard? The elephant in the room that nobody seems to want to talk about is the cost of licensing fees for the existing standards. Many of the connectors now in use require some form of royalty payment to one or more companies. Presumably, the DisplayPort would lower or eliminate these costs.
The big question is how long will it take until this new standard is adopted? Molex is planning to ship connectors and cables by the third quarter of this year. The connector looks a lot like a USB connector, which may lead to more confusion. And keep in mind that we’re already encountering problems with existing HDTV sets that don’t have the HDMI connection required to get full resolution signals from some sources. Will a new connector set back compatibility even further? We won’t have to worry about DisplayPort until later this year, and the holiday buying season will give us a clear indication if this standard is going to get off the ground.