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Apple's Mini DisplayPort Officially Adopted By VESA 160

Posted by timothy
from the good-for-tiny-pictures dept.
DJRumpy writes "The Video Electronics Standard Association officially issued its Mini DisplayPort standard Tuesday, based on the technology licensed from Apple. VESA said that all devices using the Mini DisplayPort connector must meet the specifications required by the DisplayPort 1.1a standard, and cables that support the standard must also meet specific electrical specifications. It's a formal confirmation of the news from earlier this year, when VESA announced the Mini DisplayPort connector would be included in the forthcoming DisplayPort 1.2 specification."
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Apple's Mini DisplayPort Officially Adopted By VESA

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    We know this has nothing at all to do with Linux or OS X, but this has never stopped this jolly crowd from doing "granny attacks", lunging from under their stones, when the topic is related to Apple. Set forth, gentleboys!

    • Most of the time, it's the Apple fanboys hogging the spotlight. Doesn't matter what the article is about, according to them, Apple did it first and did it best, and anybody who disagreed is modded into oblivion as a troll.

      So, give the Linux trolls a break; occasionally, they need light to. And it's better if they come out over something as insignificant as a smaller DVI connector than if they start dismantling Apple's claims to novelty, innovation, and quality. We wouldn't want that, would we.

  • HDMI? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ramk13 (570633) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:26PM (#30047960)

    What happened to HDMI? Lots of monitors and computers already have it, it supports audio over the connection (Mini-DP doesn't), and it can support the resolutions the article mentions. There's even already a mini version of it in use. It's a standard in home video and had plenty of adoption with computers. Is there something that Mini-DP does that HDMI doesn't?

    • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Microlith (54737) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:33PM (#30048080)

      IIRC, HDMI's signaling is basically a single DVI link, and isn't rated to push anything past 1920x1200. Pretty much anything higher requires a dual-link DVI connection, which involves more complex cabling and signal routing on the board.

      DisplayPort is a much smaller connector and has an overall smaller PCB footprint, as well as using a thinner cable. I suspect that if Intel doesn't manage to run it by the wayside in a year's time with Lights Peak, you -might- see video cards with combination Mini DisplayPort + HDMI outputs.

      • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

        by ramk13 (570633) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:41PM (#30048242)

        Don't the newer specs of HDMI exceed 1920x1200?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hdmi#Version_Comparison [wikipedia.org]

        And according to the same article (maybe I should read more before posting) DP is actually royalty free whereas HDMI isn't...
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hdmi#Relationship_with_DisplayPort [wikipedia.org]

        • It seems to be cheaper to implement. DVI or HDMI ports need extra hardware over DP to output a signal it seems. For example ATi's upcoming 6 monitor Radeon is all DP, and their current 5870 has 2 DVI, 1 HDMI and 1 DP, but to do 3 monitors you have to use the DP, there are only 2 DVI/HDMI outputs.

          All in all it seems DP is a little cheaper. Also while you are right, new HDMI exceeds 1920x1200, it didn't when DP was first rolled out. For that matter HDMI 1.3 gear is still a bit scarce these days.

          Who knows how

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by washu_k (1628007)
        HDMI 1.3 does support up to double the bandwidth of single link DVI, so it's basically equivalent to dual-link DVI. I don't know if anything supports it.

        There is also a dual-link version of HDMI with a different connector. With the double bandwith it is basically equivalent to quad-DVI. Again, nothing really uses it.
      • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Informative)

        by jfengel (409917) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:48PM (#30048372) Homepage Journal

        HDMI's signaling is basically a single DVI link, and isn't rated to push anything past 1920x1200

        And just to complete the thought: the Mini DiplayPort goes to 2560x1600 and goes up to 8.64 Gbits/second. That's about twice as fast as the HDMI 1.2.

        HDMI 1.3 is actually comparable to Mini DisplayPort, with very similar specifications in terms of bandwidth.

      • I suspect that if Intel doesn't manage to run it by the wayside in a year's time with Lights Peak, you -might- see video cards with combination Mini DisplayPort + HDMI outputs.

        We're already seeing video cards with full-sized DisplayPort, plus HDMI, plus DVI, like the Radeon 5850 and 5870.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by billcopc (196330)

      The problem with any modern connector is licensing. Every time you buy a cable, or a device with {XYZ connector}, some smug bastard gets paid for "inventing" that connector. It's rarely about "what is technically superior", usually it's "what's the cheapest standard we can shove down people's throats".

      Licensing is why today's computers have umpteen slow inefficient USB ports, and zero or one Firewire ports. Apple fucked that one up by charging $20 or so per Firewire device for the longest time, they only

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        Apple fucked that one up by charging $20 or so per Firewire device for the longest time

        Actually, it was $1 per controller. With USB being pushed for replacing keyboards and mice, you couldn't build a computer without USB and expect it to sell, but you could build one without FireWire. If you'd wanted to build FireWire keyboards and mice, you'd have needed a controller (including the $1 license fee, plus the cost of the controller silicon) in each one, which would have made them much more expensive ($1 is a lot on a device that costs $1-2 to make).

        • by MBCook (132727)

          Don't forget Intel. Intel (who pushed USB) put it in their chipsets. So you couldn't build a PC motherboard with a genuine Intel chipset without getting USB. You'd have to go with someone else, who put USB in their chipsets to compete with Intel (and I think Intel may have given away the design for a reference controllers).

          USB was free (except for connector and a few discrete parts). FireWire had the same costs, plus a little licensing, plus the controller.

          • by drinkypoo (153816)

            You'd have to go with someone else, who put USB in their chipsets to compete with Intel

            usually it was a companion chip "back in the day"

            USB was free (except for connector and a few discrete parts). FireWire had the same costs, plus a little licensing,

            It also did things that USB didn't, like provide guaranteed rate I/O, peer to peer connections, and for that matter the potential to not suck CPU. Today that's less relevant; when you have two or more cores a little USB abuse is no big deal, and today Firewire probably would die immediately.

            plus the controller.

            I used to have boards with USB chips, then it happened again when USB2 came out and the chipsets only had USB 1.1. That was definitely not the problem.

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by profplump (309017)

      I know Apple's laptops don't currently send audio over Mini-DP, but I thought the protocol/cable supported audio, even if Apple isn't using it.

      Am I just wrong?

      • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

        by hattig (47930) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:47PM (#30048360) Journal

        Audio is an optional component in mini-DisplayPort.

        I presume that supporting audio would be done in the display output controller, so within the graphical portion of the computer (integrated within the 9400M, or discrete GPU). Maybe NVIDIA products don't support audio over DP themselves, or more likely Apple hasn't done the drivers to copy audio to the GPU from the audio controller for output via DP?

        • by willy_me (212994)
          I imagine audio could be solved by tunnelling USB through DisplayPort. Most monitors already have a USB hub and DisplayPort was designed to tunnel other protocols. This way the monitor could act as a USB audio device and the controlling computer could simply use it. How it would work when going through the video card is a good question, but specific support for audio is not required when one can simply support USB.
    • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by dangitman (862676) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:42PM (#30048264)
      Multi-channel support. With DisplayPort, you can daisy-chain multiple displays on the one bus. It can also be used to transmit data signals of various types (which HDMI can do, but in a much more limited fashion). And the DisplayPort connectors are much better than the HDMI ones. It's just a thoroughly more modern standard.
    • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by u0berdev (1038434) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:43PM (#30048276) Journal

      ...it supports audio over the connection (Mini-DP doesn't)...

      Actually the DisplayPort (and now Mini DisplayPort) standard DOES support audio, it's simply that Apple's DisplayPort offerings are not taking advantage of it.

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DisplayPort [wikipedia.org]

    • by JonJ (907502)

      it supports audio over the connection (Mini-DP doesn't)

      Huh? I have an iMac connected to a 24" Cinema over Mini-DP and it does sound, is it some black magic from Apple that makes it work?

      • Well, it's not magic, but it is USB - the Apple 24" display is actually a USB audio device as well with a 2.1 sound system in it (yes, 2 stereo speakers and a separate "sub")

      • by Puchku (615680)
        Curious.. which iMac? the new one? 24 in or 27 in? some more detail would be nice..
    • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by A Friendly Troll (1017492) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:44PM (#30048292)

      What happened to HDMI?

      It was made long before DisplayPort as a DVI replacement. HDMI requires royalties and licensing (DP does not). It is also using a CRT-like raster scan and needs a heartbeat, with sound being transmitted during "blanking" (DP transmits data packets and has an embedded clock). Finally, the hardware is more expensive to produce and more complex.

      I'm sure someone knows more - this is what I remember reading some time ago...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by TheRaven64 (641858)

        Finally, the hardware is more expensive to produce and more complex.

        Except that if you want backwards compatibility with DVI then you already have all of that hardware. If you want to be able to plug in a DP to DVI adaptor then you need all of that hardware plus all of the DisplayPort electronics.

        It's a more modern standard, but historically more modern standards that aren't designed with legacy compatibility in mind have not done well. Maybe DisplayPort will get enough backing to buck that trend, but in the meantime expect a horrible mess of analogue VGA, HDMI/DVI, a

        • Is it even possible to buy a graphics card with VGA output these days? From what I can tell, it's pretty much double DVI, with the occasional HDMI/DP added. HDMI isn't very widespread on computers, so DP should have no problems replacing DVI, but when it comes to video equipment it's a different thing...

          I'd say it's comparable to SATA. We still get motherboards with a PATA controller, but pretty much all HDDs and optical drives are SATA these days, including the power connectors. In 4-5 years, we shouldn't

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by TheRaven64 (641858)

            Do you mean a VGA port, or electrical VGA signalling support? If you mean the former, possibly not. If you mean the latter, then the answer is 'definitely yes'. I've only ever seen a couple of graphics cards that only support DVI-D and not DVI-I, which contains a VGA signal embedded in the DVI signal (and can be converted to a VGA signal with a trivial adaptor that just connects some of the DVI pins to VGA pins).

            SATA was designed to be identical in software to IDE, so an OS with IDE support could run

      • by jcr (53032)

        One other problem with HDMI is that although they have a nominal max cable length of 15 feet, you're lucky to get it to work if the cable is over five feet.

        -jcr

        • What are your sources for this? I've got a 45' HDMI run going from a wall-mounted projector into my attic, spanning my living room, and dropping down into the opposite wall to my receiver. No problems whatsoever, even at 1080p/60.

          If you're seeing problems below 15', I'd consider the quality of your cables/output source rather than the HDMI standard.
          • by jcr (53032)

            I've got a 45' HDMI run going from a wall-mounted projector into my attic, spanning my living room, and dropping down into the opposite wall to my receiver. No problems whatsoever, even at 1080p/60.

            Lucky you.

            -jcr

        • One other problem with HDMI is that although they have a nominal max cable length of 15 feet, you're lucky to get it to work if the cable is over five feet.

          -jcr

          No it doesn't. It has rules on signal performance and if you can manage that, it can be a mile long.

    • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

      by vux984 (928602) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @01:56PM (#30048524)

      it supports audio over the connection (Mini-DP doesn't),

      Display port does support audio. I don't know if its actually implemented anywhere though. Are you sure mini-DP doesn't?

      Is there something that Mini-DP does that HDMI doesn't?

      At the electrical level they work quite differently and displayport is much more better suited for certain tasks like embedded applications, laptop screens, etc. Its like SATA vs PATA in some respects with displayport being SATA. It can use fewer wires.

      Displayport is also license free, while HDMI requires a license. That, of course, makes displayport a bit cheaper.

      Overall displayport is the superior technology in nearly every respect. But HDMI was out first and is the more established one. If displayport had been out of the gate first, hdmi wouldn't exist.

    • Re:HDMI? (Score:5, Informative)

      by LoRdTAW (99712) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @02:03PM (#30048652)

      HDMI is basically a single link DVI signal along with a digital audio stream. Both the audio and video gets their own pins and wires. But display port is a packet based system so audo, video and other signals can be multiplexed across the same set of wires. Display port 1.1 allows for eight 24 bit 192kHz digital audio channels. There can be 1, 2 or 4 digital lanes, similar to how PCI express works, more lanes = more bandwidth. The maximum bandwidth is over 8Gbps (3 meter cable limit)and there is also a 1mbps aux channel. A single display port cable can deliver a 2560x1600 60 Hz 30 bpp video signal. Dual link DVI port can do the same but it cant scale as well as display port will.

      The HDMI connector is mechanically flimsy and can be easily damaged by the heavy shielded cables that hang from them of if yanked on. Display port is designed for those heavy cables and resists tugging and pulling that would otherwise damage an HDMI connector. Its also screw-less connector so no more fiddling with thumb screws.

      • Re:HDMI? (Score:4, Informative)

        by wagnerrp (1305589) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @02:48PM (#30049370)

        HDMI is basically a single link DVI signal along with a digital audio stream. Both the audio and video gets their own pins and wires. But display port is a packet based system so audo, video and other signals can be multiplexed across the same set of wires.

        DVI, HDMI, and DP are all packet based systems. DVI and HDMI have three lanes (DVI-DL has six) and DP has four lanes. All of them send all data over all lanes. There is no specialization of the data channels.

    • by vijayiyer (728590)

      Mini-DP is royalty free. HDMI is not.
      Mini-DP is packetized and can be switched and, in principle, carry multiple streams over a single connection.

    • My problem with HDMI is the port design itself. I had a Tivo HD using an HDMI cable and I unplugged it maybe a dozen or so times in under a year.

      One of the times I guess I wound up killing the Tivo's socket and couldn't fix it.

      There are a lot of horror stories out there about that. Too tight of a cable or cable gets moved to the side a little while moving some equipment around and pretty soon your thing can become toast.

      Personally I like the old DVI/VGA way of doing things. Usually the worst you can do i

    • HDMI doesn't work (Score:4, Interesting)

      by awtbfb (586638) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @05:17PM (#30051568)
      I'm all in favor of something that does the job better than HDMI. If you need closed captioning in the US, HDMI doesn't work for you. It omits the [avsforum.com] necessary data [avsforum.com] from the video source. [webaim.org]
    • Why would they compare it with HDMI? They'd rather be misleading and say "The Mini DisplayPort is 10 percent the size of a full DVI connector" (emphasis mine), which, if the images on that page are actual size, is also wrong.

  • Meh (Score:3, Funny)

    by 200_success (623160) on Tuesday November 10, 2009 @04:23PM (#30050788)
    I'm holding out for the Micro DisplayPort standard. I'll bet that Apple will announce such a thing within a year.

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