MacBook’s USB-C connector helps drive VESA membership to a new high

The MacBook’s USB-C connector has helped drive membership of the Video Electronic Standards Association (VESA) to a new membership milestone — 230 member companies on the roster.

The developer of multiple video standards, VESA attributes much of this growth to the ongoing increase in adoption of the DisplayPort standard, with the new USB Type-C interface contributing to this rapid rise. Multiple products incorporating the USB-C interface have been introduced during the past year, and those that include video sources also incorporate the DisplayPort over USB-C protocol, formally known as the DisplayPort Alt Mode, either as an extended feature on the USB Type-C connector or included with Intel's Thunderbolt interface.

The 12-inch Macbook is the first notebook that incorporates USB Type-C as a video port, using the DisplayPort Alt Mode, as well as its power port. Other currently available products that utilize USB-C connectivity, with DisplayPort Alt Mode for A/V transport, include Google Chromebook Pixel, Microsoft Lumia 950 and 950XL, and Lenovo Yoga 900. 

DisplayPort Alt Mode is the only alt mode natively supported by both standard USB-C connectors and cables. Devices supporting DisplayPort Alt Mode on a USB Type-C connector can connect to an existing DisplayPort device using a reversible USB Type-C to DisplayPort converter cable. Video source devices that support DisplayPort Alt Mode on a USB Type-C connector can also use an appropriate adapter to drive an HDMI, DVI or VGA display. All adaptors and converter cables comply with all USB Type-C characteristics, including reversible plug orientation.

“DisplayPort's Alternate Mode USB-C extension, which we introduced in September 2014, delivers full DisplayPort audio/video performance (driving 4K and higher resolution), SuperSpeed USB data and up to 100 watts of power--all over a single cable,” says Bill Lempesis, executive director of VESA. “Consumer electronics manufacturers are just now ramping up the use of USB-C on their products, which further accelerates the adoption of DisplayPort as the A/V standard of choice for driving 4K and higher resolution from PCs on down to mobile devices."