DisplayPort update will benefit displays with USB-C connectors

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has published version 1.4 of the DisplayPort (DP) audio/video standard, which should result in better video quality for displays that use DisplayPort and USB-C connectors, such as the Acer H277HU, my pick for the best display for use with the 12-inch MacBook.

DisplayPort is a packet-based, extensible protocol for transporting video and audio data. Initially introduced as an external interface, its flexibility has enabled its adaptation to embedded displays and incorporation into other connectors like the new reversible USB Type-C interface and Thunderbolt. The former is found on the 12-inch MacBook; the latter on most other Macs. DisplayPort’s Multi-Stream Transport (MST) capability enables high-resolution support of multiple monitors on a single display interface.

With DP 1.4, the use of video transport compression enhances the ability to take advantage of the USB Type-C connector, enabling both high-definition video and SuperSpeed USB, while also facilitating High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 8K video across the DisplayPort or USB-C connector. Examples of increased display resolution with the new standard include 8Kp60Hz HDR deep color and 4Kp120Hz HDR deep color. Other new features include:

  • Forward Error Correction – FEC, which overlays the DSC 1.2 transport, addresses the transport error resiliency needed for compressed video transport to external displays.
  • HDR meta transport – HDR meta transport uses the “secondary data packet” transport inherent in the DisplayPort standard to provide support for the current CTA 861.3 standard, which is useful for DP to HDMI 2.0a protocol conversion, among other examples. It also offers a flexible metadata packet transport to support future dynamic HDR standards.
  • Expanded audio transport – This spec extension covers capabilities such as 32 audio channels, 1536kHz sample rate, and inclusion of all known audio formats.