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September 22, 2014

New Reversible USB Type-C Standard Gains Support for DisplayPort Video

by John_A

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced a DisplayPort Alternate Mode for the upcoming USB Type-C connector standard, which will let USB-Type C connectors and cables deliver DisplayPort signals.

As noted by AnandTech, DisplayPort technology built into USB Type-C has the potential to connect monitors, cables, docking stations, and more. With the ability to support displays and carry video data via USB, USB Type-C could potentially serve as the next Thunderbolt connector, powering 4K and higher resolution displays.

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The DisplayPort Alt Mode repurposes some or all of the four existing SuperSpeed USB lanes to deliver full DisplayPort performance, and uses other signaling available in the USB Type-C connector for DisplayPort’s AUX channel and HPD (Hot Plug Detection) function. This enables computers, tablets, smartphones, displays, and docking stations to implement the new USB Type-C connector at both ends while using the DisplayPort Standard over USB Type-C to transmit high-resolution A/V along with USB data and power.

Finalized in August, the USB Type-C connector specifications are much improved over previous USB generations. The slim connector is entirely reversible, making it easier to plug in, and due to its thin design, it’s suitable for both mobile device and larger computers. It’s also certified for USB 3.1 data rates of up to 10 Gbps and can deliver a maximum of 100W of power.

With an alternate DisplayPort mode and four lanes of signaling, one USB Type-C cable could be used to provide power to a device while also driving a connected display. According to VESA, Type-C ports and the first DisplayPort Alt Mode capable devices (using DisplayPort 1.2a) will be available beginning in 2015.

Earlier this morning, a rumor suggested Apple’s upcoming 12-inch MacBook would take advantage of the new reversible USB Type-C connector, which is plausible as that device is rumored to begin shipping in mid-2015.




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