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Displays Media Networking Hardware

New HDMI Mode Will Allow USB-C Connections (techhive.com) 85

An anonymous Slashdot reader quotes a report from TechHive: On Friday, HDMI Licensing announced a new cable standard that connects USB-C and HDMI devices... The idea, naturally enough, is to to develop an HDMI-to-USB Type-C cable that ties together the most common cabling protocols in both the PC and consumer electronics industries, eliminating the need for an adapter or special silicon. Source devices like PCs, tablets, and smartphones will be able to output HDMI video and multi-channel audio from a USB-C port, just as they can now with DisplayPort.

"The USB Type-C connector is gaining traction in the mobile and PC markets," said HDMI Licensing, LLC president Rob Tobias. "Consumers expect to easily connect these devices to displays with a USB Type-C to HDMI cable and utilize the capabilities and features of native HDMI. This specification will also result in more source devices incorporating HDMI," which already total about 6 billion, he said.

HDMI Licensing expects to see products launching with this new technology "early next year".
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New HDMI Mode Will Allow USB-C Connections

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday September 04, 2016 @03:43PM (#52825801)

    and has abusive licensing fees. My company has been talking about adding this to future products, and they want more money for this than it costs us to add an HDMI port and our profit, combined.

    • and has abusive licensing fees. My company has been talking about adding this to future products, and they want more money for this than it costs us to add an HDMI port and our profit, combined.

      Are you talking about the USB-IF or HDMI LLC levying licensing fees here? The way you describe it, it sounds like you're talking about fees for USB-C, which doesn't make a whole heap of sense as there are no per-unit fees for the USB standards. HDMI on the other hand does, and those aren't very well publicized. Are y

      • by Anonymous Coward

        From how I read it, the fee is to make a USB-C port able to talk with HDMI directly, and charged by HDMI Licensing.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It will take off because the cost of this will be born by the cable buyer instead of the laptop or computer vendor.

      Meanwhile HDMI 1.4 remains the best option to connect rec.709 monitors (eg TN and IPS displays at 1920x1200) while Displayport is the only option to connect 4K and 5K monitors with rec.2020 colorspace (which no monitor supports yet.)

      It will be a while before it happens, but what this means is that all motherboards will only have USB-C connectors on them. If you want to connect USB 1.1 or USB 2.

    • by mlts ( 1038732 )

      That is a downer.

      I've thought the ideal would be something that can take USB-C, Thunderbolt, HDMI, DisplayPort, an IEEE1394 descendant, and a smart, two-way charging protocol, and have it just plain work. Let the devices figure out if they need to use a USB style tree configuration, a Thunderbolt or IEEE 1394 daisy chain, a direct negotiation for HDCP video, or just a direct connect to figure what device had power, what was requesting, and negotiate from there.

      Other than the power aspect, maybe the next "u

    • Hear, hear.

      Now, if they did this with DisplayPort, that'd be a different story, since it's (last time I checked) royalty-free.
      • Hear, hear.

        Now, if they did this with DisplayPort, that'd be a different story, since it's (last time I checked) royalty-free.

        I apologize in advance if this was a joke and the subtle humor eluded me (I'm not familiar w/ DP licensing) but DisplayPort has supported USB-C Alt Mode for quite a while already. Many laptops with USB-C connectors, such as recent MacBooks and the 2015 Dell XPS 13/15 models support it.

        http://www.displayport.org/wha... [displayport.org]

  • DisplayPort is a much better solution for most devices.

    • DisplayWho?
    • And yet, HDMI is on hundreds of millions of HD televisions that aren't going anywhere soon.
      • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@earthlink . n et> on Sunday September 04, 2016 @05:56PM (#52826313)

        And yet, HDMI is on hundreds of millions of HD televisions that aren't going anywhere soon.

        Which is readily solved with an inexpensive DP to HDMI adapter cable. The passive DP++ to HDMI cables are less than $10, and active DP to HDMI cables are less than $20. It seems rare to find a new computer that lacks a mini or full sized DP output. Assuming a USB-C connector has a DisplayPort alternate mode then a DP/USB-C to HDMI cable is trivial to produce, and produce cheaply.

        Assuming the USB-C connector has a Thunderbolt alternate mode then one can connect any of a number of PCIe compatible video chips, allowing for HDMI or any other output to match whatever input that display might have. Price will vary based on desired output quality, of course. Given the many cheaper options I expect this to be used rarely, especially to connect to a 1080p or less TV that has nothing better than HDMI to drive it.

        Assuming that the USB-C connector has a MHL alternate mode then HDMI support is included, if I'm reading the spec correctly. I found an adapter that has a micro-USB male connector on one side and female HDMI on the other and claims to use the MHL protocol for less than $10.

        Assuming the USB-C connector has a, quite likely, USB mode then one can find a USB to HDMI adapter already for reasonable price. A quick search shows I can get one for less than $30, which also happens to be a USB-C to HDMI adapter. Adapters with USB-A connectors look to be almost double that but it may just be a matter of not finding the cheapest ones in my search.

        I'm quite certain that the HDMI people are getting paid for the privilege of us using their connector and/or protocol on anything we buy. What they seem to be doing here is wanting us to pay for the privilege of the HDMI protocol on future USB-C devices even if we have no intention of ever using that capability.

        Looks to me like a sneaky way to add a HDMI tax on a device for all for the benefit of the few that would actually use it. As they seem to tax per port then if I have a device that can output HDMI on DP and USB-C then I'm paying double for something I am unlikely to use. As the cost to me is likely less than the $10 I'd expect for an adapter that lacks this feature I can't complain much. What I do see though is a flood of money potentially going their way from the sale of devices with this feature.

    • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

      Actually, HDMI 2.0a is a much better solution for *most* devices - since most devices are TVs that already support it. 2160p @ 60Hz w/ HDR10 or 12 bit DolbyVision packed in 4:2:2 is WAY more than your eyes will ever perceive from a normal distance.

      • Until you want 4k@144hz...
        Oh and yes a human can distinguish the difference in framerates above 60Hz, especially with interactive media. The
        This is why current vr headsets run at 90fps of 120fps, humans do distinguish it and the latency between head tracking and display update can cause simulation sickness.

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          At which point HDMI will support 4K @ 144Hz. HDMI is meant for consumer electronics, until TVs or VR headsets can handle 4K @ 144Hz it doesn't really matter.

          I understand well the implications, I have a Rift and my day job involves streaming 4K HDR video.

          The highest end consumer VR today is 2x 1080x1200 x 90Hz. It's not bad but definitely not at the limit of human vision. Double that and it will (notwithstanding peripheral vision enhancements) start to approach those limits. If HDMI bandwidth is increas

      • I was in Fleet Farm (a Minnesota-based rural economy-oriented big-box store), and they had a DTV converter box that had a (ordinary) USB-3 input jack. They also sold a WiFi streaming multi-media player that output to HDMI (natch!).

        Well, that is an epic fail. If I bought the streaming player and the converter box, I could not hook them up.

        On the other hand, maybe those two devices are not meant to be purchased together. The converter box is for analog dinosaurs (me, my converter box with one of the d

        • by Dahamma ( 304068 )

          Yes, EXACTLY - you are not "most". You proved my point ten times over with your post (natch!).

          And I'd love to check out Fleet Farm.. Where I grew up it was called Rural King, so I can imagine it pretty well ;)

    • Displayport will be routed over the USB-C connector.

  • Woohoo Standards! (Score:3, Informative)

    by bstrobl ( 1805978 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @03:50PM (#52825829)
    Honestly the USB-IF should have come up with their own official display profile at this stage, this is becoming ridiculous. We now have Displayport, MHL and HDMI as Alt-modes as well as displayport over thunderbolt carried by type-c. Ugh.

    Connector is great and all but the current implementation is trash.

    My guess is only one gets used while rest will be ignored, most likely Displayport due to existing implementations as well as Thunderbolt requirements and more up-to-date versions (DP 1.3 vs HDMI 1.4 only). No manufacturer will want to pay additional money in order for all of them to be supported (increased licensing costs as well as more expensive chipsets).
    • After reading up on this some today I see it's more complicated than just having multiple competing video display modes on one connector, the cables will also be different.

      A USB-C cable may not necessarily be able to carry HDMI unless specifically designed to do so. For example, a Thunderbolt 3 cable, which uses the USB-C connector, will fall back to USB-C if either device does not support the faster Thunderbolt protocol. Such cables will certainly be more expensive than a cable that does only USB-C. Thu

  • Hellloooooo DRM! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Yeay, now we get to have DRM stuff on our USB chipsets!
    Yeay!
    I'm oh so happy!

  • DP 1.3 vs. HDMI 1.4 (Score:5, Informative)

    by pushing-robot ( 1037830 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @04:17PM (#52825917)

    Source devices like PCs, tablets, and smartphones will be able to output HDMI video and multi-channel audio from a USB-C port, just as they can now with DisplayPort.

    Yes, and they can do 4K @ 120Hz over DisplayPort's USB-C implementation, or 4K @ 30Hz over ours! Just the same!

  • so they can sell yet another "upgrade" to some HDMI-2.x transfer via USB-C, right? Vade retro, Satanas!
  • by Sqreater ( 895148 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @04:27PM (#52825945)
    Oh, great, now how many cables and connector types are we supposed to keep track of in order to correctly connect our devices? I've set aside an entire room for cable variants now.
    • Oh, great, now how many cables and connector types are we supposed to keep track of in order to correctly connect our devices?

      Just one. That's the point.

      • Oh, great, now how many cables and connector types are we supposed to keep track of in order to correctly connect our devices?

        Just one. That's the point.

        One type of connector - USB-C - but multiple types of cables (USB Type-C to HDMI, USB Type-C to USB Type-B for older devices such as disks, etc.).

      • by Anonymous Coward
        No the point is to collect HDMI licensing fees.
        • by blindseer ( 891256 ) <blindseer@earthlink . n et> on Sunday September 04, 2016 @06:21PM (#52826409)

          No the point is to collect HDMI licensing fees.

          Precisely. It's rare to see HDMI on anything new, at least in my experience. They already collected their fee on the devices they've sold that included the port. They will collect in the future on anyone that buys an adapter that wants to preserve compatibility with these older devices, assuming that it's not replaced too.

          I see this as an attempt to hang on a bit longer to collect their fees. They are hoping that people will seek this capability out in order to maximize backward compatibility and/or manufacturers will be willing to pay the fee so as to add another feature to their device in order to grab a few more buyers that are checklist shoppers.

          The only problem this solves is the diminishing income they have from fewer new devices with HDMI ports.

          • by Desler ( 1608317 )

            Precisely. It's rare to see HDMI on anything new, at least in my experience.

            You mean except for every single TV?

            • Precisely. It's rare to see HDMI on anything new, at least in my experience.

              You mean except for every single TV?

              A solution already solved with existing inexpensive USB-C to HDMI cables. People will have to buy a cable to match the two devices regardless of the connector on each. I'm finding it real difficult to come up with a problem this is supposed to solve.

              I suppose it is possible to see future TVs with USB-C inputs but then the question is, why even bother supporting HDMI on that port? USB-C alternate modes already include MHL and DisplayPort. HDMI is limited to 4K @ 60Hz currently. DisplayPort will do 5K @

      • Oh, great, now how many cables and connector types are we supposed to keep track of in order to correctly connect our devices?

        Just one. That's the point.

        Perhaps you speak generally and this does not apply, how is supporting HDMI on USB-C supposed to help? HDMI on USB-C is really only useful if one is interested in connecting a new device that does not wish to set aside the space and expense of a single purpose port like HDMI but also wishes to support legacy HDMI. Since USB to HDMI adapters are already available pretty cheap I see this as a solution looking for a problem.

        Setting aside the HDMI on USB-C announcement there are still the many other cables th

  • The USB spec is already confusing, and they want to make it worse. We already have multiple voltage and ampere ratings to deal with. There's a confusing number of connectors as it is. I will admit though that this problem will solve itself in time as old devices die and we are soon left with mostly just USB-A, USB-micro-B, and USB-C.

    The USB-C spec already includes two video modes, MHL and display port. As I see it HDMI is largely dying as a spec, just let it die. At work we have a lot of older computer

    • This and the merging of thunderbolt with USB type c means you can have external video cards you can plug into a monitor all from the USB port.

    • by Trongy ( 64652 )

      The corporate office where I work has many meeting rooms with projectors or TV screens. Typically there are two connectors wireed to the meeting room table - VGA d-sub and HDMI. I will never get the time back which I have spent watching presenters faff around with getting their display working.

      More generally, the problem for the device owner is to have a connecting cable which will work with any foreign display they need to present on. I'd rather use DisplayPort myself, but the most commonly available digit

      • I think I see your problem but this HDMI over USB-C only complicates things. It's rare to see a laptop that does not have a Thunderbolt, MiniDP, DVI, or even VGA to go along with an HDMI port. If the HDMI port is lacking then there are cheap adapters for MiniDP and (fat) DP. If the port is DP++ then HDMI support is there from a passive cable. Passive adapters are typically less than $20. Active adapters can be as much as $80 for the multi-ported ones from Apple, but more like $40.

        With a cable that has

  • USB type C can already go underthunderbolt and thunderbolt supports external video cards to boast performance ... weird.

    In actually they are merging together as they just use each others protocols and can adjust electrical settings and drawl on demand.

  • by SensitiveMale ( 155605 ) on Sunday September 04, 2016 @05:14PM (#52826133)

    I can't wait until everything is routed over USB-C.

    Displayport.
    Thunderbolt.
    HDMI.
    USB.
    Everything.

    I especially can't wait until internal hard drives are using USB-C for data and power.

    • I especially can't wait until internal hard drives are using USB-C for data and power.

      I remember when FireWire was supposed to come to internal hard drives for data and power. I still come across PCs at work with an internal FireWire port for this reason. Obviously it didn't happen. Lots of things killed it.

      FireWire isn't dead yet though, I still see it on professional audio equipment.

      Here's an idea, let's do FireWire over USB-C. Too much? Well, we passed "too much" on USB-C a long time ago.

    • by short ( 66530 )
      Internal hard drives (=flash drives) are becoming NVMe [wikipedia.org].
    • I can't wait until everything is routed over USB-C.

      You don't get it. Everything will be routed through USB-C, but it will be only one protocol at a time. So you will have to carefully choose your port, cable and device that go together if you ever want Displayport, Thunderbolt, HDMI or whatever else which isn't plain USB working correctly.

  • Sigh. HDBaseT. Sigh.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously, they are just confusing the market by serially adding one data standard to another connector, ad infinitum. Queue to Grandma/Grandpa attempting to plug any connector into any other port, because they have been trained by the one device that just happens to support cross-compatibility.

    Already the large USB connector looks about the same size and shape as the HDMI port, which looks roughly the same size and shape as the DisplayPort connector, which is roughly the same size and shape as the eSATA

    • Thunderbolt is a major security issue as thunderbolt devices (along with all PCI, PCI express, expresscard and FireWire) have direct memory access. Direct memory access allows reading and writing directly to the system memory bypassing the operating system and any protections it has. This is for performance reasons and makes some degree of sense until you start to put it on external interfaces users will plug anything into... FireWire was not allowed in a lot of companies for exactly the this reason.

      USB has

      • The prevalence of these multipurpose, and therefore two-way, connections are problematic as you point out. I suppose it is possible to require all ports be forced to legacy protocols through adapters to make them one-way again. That only works so long as the parts to do that are available.

        Perhaps rather than trying to source computers and peripherals that use secure connections it may be possible to find someone willing to make cables that are secure. Computers and displays are expensive but the cables a

      • USB 3 has DMA support doesn't it?
        Everything is getting DMA; HDMI and everything else will have it. All you'll be able to count on is enforced memory restrictions as far as device access. Which still leaves one open to devices messing with each other's DMA.

        Firewire has had restrictions for a long time now; depending on hardware and OS support-- I think for about a decade.

        The BIG concern should be the cheap hardware out there-- electrical USB-C problems and the crap connectors.... and the never ending list

        • No USB does not have DMA exposed to external devices, the USB host controller may use DMA as it is just another device on the PCI/PCI-Express bus, however it is not expose and queriable by devices. Yes, later in FireWire, some operating system drivers (Linux and Windows) would request the FireWire controller disable DMA support, but the hardware needs to be built to have this functionality. Finally such functionality would break thunderbolt as DMA is a fundamental part of how PCI-Express works and as a such

  • We all know USB already has various security issues by its nature. And until they added (the little used) Ethernet causality down HDMI cables, we were pretty safe from video cables being an attack vector, but if we start all pushing it down USB. What's to say my companies smart TV on a firewalled subnet that I also use as a secondary display doesn't also connect thunderbolt or USB down one of these cables? No more just not plugging suspicious devices into USB ports when all the machine has is USB ports. Thi

  • I don't believe the title here is accurate. It's not a new HDMI mode that allows the USB-C connections. The HDMI spec was expanded to support the USB-C connector. The USB-C spec supports alternate modes, which now includes the HDMI alternate mode.

    Would not a more accurate title be:
    "New HDMI Spec Defines USB-C Alternate Mode"?
    Or:
    "HDMI Will Soon Allow Connection By USB-C Port"?

    Then there is this line from the linked article:
    "Connecting a USB-C device to an HDMI display has been something of a mess, until n

  • by bernywork ( 57298 ) <bstapleton AT gmail DOT com> on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:25AM (#52828033) Journal
    After Anker recalled their USB-C cables the other day, there was an article on The Register about it, the comments section had a great bunch of comments in it including: "it's a design error An electrical specification which allows multiple, software-controlled supply voltages, but does not require connected devices to tolerate the highest available voltage. What could possibly go wrong?" I can see a lot of fried TVs when people push 20A at 5V into their TVs because of a bad cable. Anyway, comments section worth a read: http://forums.theregister.co.u... [theregister.co.uk]
    • by thegarbz ( 1787294 ) on Monday September 05, 2016 @03:10PM (#52830685)

      USB-C Spec is fine. The problem is not adhering to the spec which could be done in any scenario.

      e.g. The original USB spec covered powersupply in great detail. The spec says "No device shall supply (source) current on VBUS at its upstream facing port at any time. From VBUS on its upstream facing port, a device may only draw (sink) current."

      So they redundantly said the same thing twice.
      Let's just say I wouldn't ever recommend buying a hub off ebay or any even slightly shady looking vendor. About 100% of the hubs that people say "don't work" actually apply 5V to the upstream port. I even found a frigging reference design from a Chinese manufacturer of USB hub chips which showed on the schematic a 5V supply connecting to all the upstream and downstream facing ports. Naturally most cheap manufacturers just copy and past the reference design with the cheapest components possible.

      A spec isn't a bad spec just because it's not followed or enforced.

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