DisplayPort 2: What’s Different, and Why It Matters

A man holding a DisplayPort cable and a DisplayPort Mini cable.Hadrian / Shutterstock

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) Just to be announced latest version of DisplayPort technology: DisplayPort 2. This new standard supports resolutions up to 16K and uses traditional DisplayPort connectors or USB-C. Expect to get your hands on it by the end of 2020.

What is DisplayPort?

DisplayPort is the video transfer standard that most people have never heard of. At the basic level, it is almost identical to HDMI. The current iteration of DisplayPort can transfer video and audio 8K to 60hz on TVs and monitors (HDMI 2.1 supports 10K). It comes in a wide and mini form factor (like Mini HDMI). And, like HDMI cables, DisplayPort cables are really cheap.

So, why do people use DisplayPort? Well, on the one hand, it is useful for several monitor configurations. Unlike HDMI technology, DisplayPort offers sophisticated "garland" functionality. You can connect a monitor to your computer via DisplayPort, and then route the DisplayPort cables from this first monitor to the other screens in your configuration. It's clear, intuitive, and IT professionals and PC gamers love it.

But unless you have a high-end monitor or computer, there is a good chance that you can not use DisplayPort at all. Since professionals and gamers generally use it, manufacturers do not have the trouble to install DisplayPorts on computers, monitors, or cheap TVs. So, should you be interested in DisplayPort 2? Is it revolutionary in any way?

RELATED: HDMI vs DisplayPort vs DVI: Which port do you want on your new computer?

DisplayPort 2 is durable and ready for virtual reality

The last iteration of DisplayPort is essentially an upgrade to the current DisplayPort specifications. It's pretty and dry. DisplayPort 2 supports 8K, 10K, and 16K video resolutions with a refresh rate of 60Hz (twice the resolution and bandwidth of current DisplayPort standards). It transfers data at a rate of 77.37 Gbps and supports HDR10. In addition, all DisplayPort 2 devices will require DSC support, a lossless image compression standard that some manufacturers ignore.

A woman experimenting with 4K VR with DisplayPort 2 technology.franz12 / Shutterstock

These specifications are impressive in themselves. But they are more impressive when you consider how they can influence virtual reality game. DisplayPort 2's 77.37 Gbit / s payload delivery is more than ideal for virtual reality gaming, and VESA claims that the upgraded video standard can send 4K video at 60Hz to two headsets at a time (via the chaining function, which is a natural part of DisplayPort 2).

And thankfully, DisplayPort 2 is compatible with older DisplayPort hardware (the shape of the cable has not changed). This should not be a problem for small devices such as phones and laptops – USB-C is also fully compatible with DisplayPort 2 (more information about this in a second).

With 16K video speed and data transfer speeds tailored to virtual reality, DisplayPort 2 seems to stand the test of time. It is possible that we did not attend a video standard upgrade until another decade.

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