The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) yesterday announced that it has released version 2.0 of the DisplayPort™ (DP) audio/video standard. DP 2.0 is the first major update to the DisplayPort standard since March 2016, and provides up to a 3X increase in data bandwidth performance compared to the previous version of DisplayPort (DP 1.4a), as well as new capabilities to address the future performance requirements of traditional displays. These include beyond 8K resolutions, higher refresh rates and high dynamic range (HDR) support at higher resolutions, improved support for multiple display configurations, as well as improved user experience with augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) displays, including support for 4K-and-beyond VR resolutions.
The advantages of DP 2.0 are enjoyed across both the native DP connector as well as the USB Type-C connector, which carries the DP audio/video signal through DisplayPort Alt Mode. DP 2.0 is backward compatible with previous versions of DisplayPort and incorporates all of the key features of DP 1.4a, including support for visually lossless Display Stream Compression (DSC) with Forward Error Correction (FEC), HDR metadata transport, and other advanced features. The increased video bandwidth performance of DP 2.0 carried over the USB-C connector enables simultaneous higher-speed USB data transfer without compromising display performance. DP 2.0 leverages the Thunderbolt™ 3 physical interface (PHY) layer while maintaining the flexibility of DP protocol in order to boost the data bandwidth and promote convergence across industry-leading IO standards.
In addition, the new data rates of DP 2.0 come with a display stream data mapping protocol common to both single-stream transport and multi-stream transport. This common mapping further facilitates multi-stream transport support of DP 2.0 devices for a single DP port on the source device to drive multiple displays either via a docking station or daisy-chainable displays.
Higher-resolution Demands Mandate New Developments in Display Interfaces
Industry efforts are underway to push video broadcasting beyond 4K/Ultra HD resolutions, while 8K televisions and PC monitors are already beginning to hit the market. For example, the Japan Broadcasting Company (NHK) has announced plans to broadcast the 2020 Summer Olympics in 8K, and has already begun to broadcast 8K content to viewers.
At the same time, gaming platforms are pushing the envelope on immersive gameplay, driving demand for higher resolutions and video frame rates across PC, laptop, and mobile platforms, including smart phones and VR headsets. Further developments in display interfaces are needed to address these developments.
Tripling Data Bandwidth Performance
The previous version of DisplayPort, v1.4a, provided a maximum link bandwidth of 32.4 Gbps, with each of the four lanes running at a link rate of 8.1 Gbps/lane. With 8b/10b channel coding, that equates to a maximum payload of 25.92 Gbps. DP 2.0 increases the maximum link rate to up to 20 Gbps/lane and features more efficient 128b/132b channel coding, delivering a maximum payload of 77.37 Gbps – up to a three-fold increase compared to DP 1.4a. This means that DP 2.0 is the first standard to support 8K resolution (7680 x 4320) at 60 Hz refresh rate with full-color 4:4:4 resolution, including with 30 bits per pixel (bpp) for HDR-10 support.
Maximizing Gains on USB-C connector
The performance increases enabled by DP 2.0 are through both native DP connectors and the USB-C connector via DP Alt Mode. USB-C allows a single connector for USB data, video data and power. If simultaneous support of SuperSpeed USB data and video is needed, the significantly increased data rates enabled by DP 2.0 give users the ability to have power and SuperSpeed USB data at the same time as super-high-resolution video.
DP 2.0 Configuration Examples
With the increased bandwidth enabled by DP 2.0, VESA offers a high degree of versatility and configurations for higher display resolutions and refresh rates. In addition to the above-mentioned 8K resolution at 60 Hz with HDR support, DP 2.0 across the native DP connector or through USB-C as DisplayPort Alt Mode enables a variety of high-performance configurations. The below are quoted by VESA in the press release:
Single display resolutions
- One 16K (15360×8460) display @60Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC)
- One 10K (10240×4320) display @60Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression)
Dual display resolutions
- Two 8K (7680×4320) displays @120Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC)
- Two 4K (3840×2160) displays @144Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression)
Triple display resolutions
- Three 10K (10240×4320) displays @60Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC)
- Three 4K (3840×2160) displays @90Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (no compression)
When using only two lanes on the USB-C connector via DP Alt Mode to allow for simultaneous SuperSpeed USB data and video, DP 2.0 can enable such configurations as:
- Three 4K (3840×2160) displays @144Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC)
- Two 4Kx4K (4096×4096) displays (for AR/VR headsets) @120Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (with DSC)
- Three QHD (2560×1440) @120Hz and 24 bpp 4:4:4 (no compression)
- One 8K (7680×4320) display @30Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (no compression)
Opening the Door for Higher Refresh Rates including 1000Hz
Additional possible future uses are also suggested by Blurbusters.com for high refresh rate support. These are all of course theoretical, as there is by no means any panel or monitor support for these yet. But DP 2.0 does at least open the door for higher refresh rates if needed. There is no technical refresh rate limitation on DisplayPort, and is simply limited by bandwidth. Refresh rate is handled by the display and signal sources such as the GPU.
- 1080p at 1000Hz (SDR only)
- 1080p at 1000Hz (HDR with Display Stream Compression used)
- 1440p at 1000Hz (SDR with DSC used)
In addition, DisplayPort 2.0 provides very high refresh rates with uncompressed HDR at full 4:4:4 precision.
- 8K 60 Hz HDR uncompressed
- 4K 144 Hz HDR uncompressed
- 1440p >240 Hz HDR uncompressed
- 1080p >512 Hz HDR uncompressed
Improving Power Efficiency
DP 2.0 also supports VESA’s new Panel Replay capability, which is designed to optimize the power envelope and thermal performance of smaller end devices, such as all-in-one PCs and laptops, with higher resolution displays. Similar to the Panel Self Refresh capability in Embedded DisplayPort (eDP), Panel Replay incorporates a partial update feature that enables the system video processor, or GPU, to update only the portion of the display that has changed since the video frame update, thus saving system power. Advantages include the ability to recharge a device more quickly while at the same time using it.
Update 15/1/21: The first products incorporating DP 2.0 were originally projected to appear on the market by late 2020 but this obviously didn’t happen. We have a short updated courtesy of the Verge.
“Monitors supporting DisplayPort 2.0 are currently in development, but none have been released to market yet,” explains a VESA spokesperson in a statement to The Verge. “DisplayPort 2.0 is working now in new system chips that should appear in products later in 2021.”
The delay is due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic apparently with the Verge reporting that hardware developers and engineers typically convene together a few times a year at a Plugtest event. These events are where multiple companies test systems and work out interoperability issues. “In 2020 VESA had no PlugTests, which has slowed the deployment of DisplayPort 2.0,” explains a VESA spokesperson. “VESA is now planning our next PlugTest for this Spring in Taiwan, so we expect to get this process rolling again.”
While this is good news that system chips will start to develop, there is normally a long lag before graphics cards adopt these new connections, and then displays are released to make use of them. Our view is that we shouldn’t expect to see any DP 2.0 capable monitors this year.