Tag: DisplayPort

Why is there an audio driver with your computer’s graphics chipset?

The HDMI and DisplayPort outputs make use of the display audio device driver for sound they send to the external display

Some of you may take stock of what device drivers and software exist on your Windows computer and may find two or more audio device drivers on your computer with one being referred to as an “HDMI” or “Display” audio driver. Such a driver will have a reference to the graphics chipsets that are installed in your computer. Why does this driver exist and how could I take advantage of this setup?

The standard audio setup

Most computers are nowadays equipped with an on-board audio infrastructure of some sort. This was initially a sound card but is nowadays an on-board audio chipset like Realtek or Intel HD Audio. Here, it would have its own digital-analogue audio circuitry and would be serving integrated speakers or audio equipment like computer speakers that are connected to the computer’s own audio jacks.

The better implementations would have an SP/DIF audio output which would serve an outboard digital-analogue converter or digital amplifier. In this case, the audio infrastructure would repackage the sound in to an SP/DIF-compliant form either as a PCM stream or a bitstream supporting Dolby Digital.

In this case, the above-mentioned sound infrastructure would work with its own driver software and be listed as a distinct audio device in Windows. With most of the recent laptops that have sound tuning provided typically by a name-of-respect in the professional-audio or hi-fi scene, this driver also has the software component that is part of this tuning.

HDMI and DisplayPort adds a point of confusion

Windows Sound Control Panel

HDMI output for monitor as a unique audio playback device in Windows

HDMI and DisplayPort display connections have the ability to transport a digital audio stream along with the video stream over the same cable. Therefore, display-chipset and graphics card manufacturers have had to support digital-audio transport for host-computer audio through these connections.

In some early setups, it required that the computer’s sound card or audio chipset expose a digital-audio stream via the HDMI or DisplayPort connection. With graphics cards, this typically required a wired connection between an SP/DIF digital output on a sound card or motherboard audio chipset and a digital input on the graphics card.

But recent implementations used a cost-effective digital-audio processor as part of the graphics infrastructure which simply repackages the digital audio stream from the host computer to a form that can be handled by the display or audio device connected via the HDMI or DisplayPort connection. During the initial setup of an HDMI or DisplayPort connection, it will be about determining what audio codecs, bit-depths and sampling frequencies the connected monitor, TV, home-theatre receiver or other audio-equipped device can handle.

Sony STR-DN1060 home theatre receiver press picture courtesy of Sony America

If you connect your computer to your monitor or TV even via the HDMI connections on one of these home-theatre receivers, you will be using the HDMI audio subsystem and display audio driver as outlined here

This also applies to computers and display setups that use the USB-C port as a “DisplayPort alt” connection like some of the laptops that have come my way for product review. But if you are using a USB-C expansion module that has audio connections, you may find that this device may use a USB-based sound chipset to serve those connections. Typically this chipset will use the USB Audio Device class drivers that are part of the operating system rather than the “display audio” drivers.

If you connect your computer to your display via an HDMI audio device like a home-theatre receiver, soundbar or HDMI audio adaptor, you will find that the audio device will be identified as the sound-output device for the “display audio” device.

In this case, you would see another audio device listed in your computer’s audio device list with a name that references your computer’s graphics chipset like Intel Display Audio or AMD HDMI Audio. The only audio-endpoint device that these drivers refer to are whatever audio device is connected to your computer’s HDMI or DisplayPort connection.

In-room AV connection panel

If you use the HDMI input on your in-room AV connection panel like this one at Rydges Melbourne, you would have to use the “display-audio” sound driver for your computer’s sound

Where you connect a computer to a speaker-equipped display or audio device that uses HDMI / DisplayPort alongside a traditional audio input connection like RCA or 3.5mm jack, the “display audio” driver would be used while you use the HDMI or DisplayPort connections. This also applies to the device connection panels you may find in your hotel room and you connect your laptop to the HDMI input on these panels. In this case, you have to use the “display audio” driver when you select the “virtual channel” or source associated with the HDMI input.

What do I do about the existence of these “display audio” drivers?

If you are trying to rationalise the driver software that exists on your computer, don’t remove the “display audio” or “HDMI audio” drivers associated with your computer’s graphics infrastructure. This is because if you connect a TV, monitor with speakers or home-theatre audio device to your computer via the HDMI or DisplayPort connections and you remove the “display audio” driver, the sound won’t play through devices connected via those connections.

Instead, keep these “display audio” drivers up-to-date as part of updating your computer’s graphics-infrastructure software. Here, it will preserve best compatibility for the communications, games and multimedia software and Websites you run on your computer if you are using audio-capable devices connected via HDMI or DisplayPort along with this audio-capable hardware hanging off these ports.

Also remember that if you are using an audio-capable display device connected via the HDMI or DisplayPort connections, you need to use the “diisplay audio” driver to hear your computer’s or application’s sound through that device. This may require you to have it as a “default sound playback device” for software that doesn’t support audio-device switching like Spotify or Web browsers.

Computer systems with multiple graphics chipsets

Computer systems that implement multiple graphics chipsets may also run multiple “display audio” drivers for each chipset. Here, the audio to be sent via the HDMI or DisplayPort output would be processed by the “display audio” chipset for the currently-used chipset.

Some setups may require you to manually select the “display audio” chipset that you are using when you are directing the sound via your audio-equipped display device. This may especially apply to the use of external graphics modules.

But on the other hand, a multiple-graphics-chipset computer may implement a virtual “display audio” or “HDMI audio” driver that automatically steers sound output to the HDMI or DisplayPort device via the currently-used graphics chipset without you needing to intervene. This kind of driver will be relevant with computers that implement NVIDIA Optimus or similar logic to automatically select the appropriate chipset depending on whether you are after high graphics performance or longer battery runtime.

A solution for “steering” Windows sound output towards the devices you want

You can steer particular applications’ sound through your laptop’s HDMI output using the display audio driver

When I installed the Windows 10 April Update (Build 1803) on my computer, I had found the improved sound-management ability that this operating system update offers can make better use of this arrangement. I chose to create a sound setup to steer multimedia to better sound outputs while keeping the audio prompts that Windows makes during errors towards a lower-quality output and documented how this is done.

Here, the “display audio” driver will earn its keep as a way to allow the speakers in your smart TV, home-theatre setup or audio-equipped monitor connected to your computer’s HDMI or DisplayPort output to be used only by the software that you want.

There are two situations that this will encompass. One is to have a laptop connected to the large TV or home-theatre setup for some Netflix binge-watching or full-on game-playing but you rather have Windows sound its notification sounds through the laptop’s own small speakers.

The other is where you use a monitor with not-so-great speakers as your primary display but want music or other multimedia to come out through a better sound system connected to your computer. It also includes desktop computers used in an AV playout role with a projector and PA system conveying the audio-video content to the audience but using a monitor with not-so-great speakers as the operator’s display.

The first situation involving a laptop would have the standard audio driver serving the integrated speakers set up as a “default” sound device while the Web browser, game or multimedia software uses the display-audio driver as the output device. The second situation using a monitor with not-so-great speakers would have the display-audio driver as the default driver while the Web browser or multimedia software handling the AV content to be played to the audience uses the audio driver associated with the better sound system.


Simply, the “display audio” or “HDMI audio” driver works with your computer’s graphics infrastructure as a separate audio driver to present sound from your computer to an audio-capable monitor or A/V device connected via its DisplayPort or HDMI connections.

Consumer Electronics Show 2013–Part 2


I am continuing from where I left off with Part 1 which focused on the home entertainment aspect such as the 4K UHDTV screens and the games consoles that are to put Sony and Microsoft on notice.


With Windows 8 already launched, the trend for computers is to see more of the ultraportable computer that come either with a touchscreen or a Windows-8 multi-touch trackpad. Most manufacturers are running with at least one convertible ultraportable model that has swivel-screen, 360-degree hinge or a slide-out design as well as a detachable-keyboard hybrid tablet in order to catch this user interface.

The consumer desktop computers will typically manifest as a touch-enabled all-in-one unit alithough a lot of the 21” large-screen tablet computers of the same ilk as the Sony VAIO Tap 20 are surfacing for this category. THe concept is augmented through the use of “one-machine multi-player” hybrid video/board games that can be played using these touch screens.

Another trend that is appearing for some of these products is the display having an increased pixel density with 1080p resolution appearing on 13” and smaller screens or 4K and similar resolution displays appearing on the mainstream screen sizes. This has been driven by Apple’s implementation of high-pixel-density “Retina” displays in some of their MacBook lineup. Of course, Windows 8 would have native support for adapting its Desktop and Modern user interfaces to these higher pixel densities and most software developers would be encouraged to adapt to the newer pixel densities.

Acer is launching the Aspire S7 Ultrabook and the Iconia W700 and W510 detachable-keyboard tablets. Dell has also launched a 1080p display as an option for the XPS 13 Ultrabook.

Toshiba have provided newer products such as the Satellite U845t which is a touchscreen Ultrabook that runs for approximately US$800. This 14” (1366×768) WIndows 8 computer has an option of an i3 or i5 CPU, 500Gb on the hard disk and 32Gb SSD cache, up to 6Gb RAM and equipped with HDMI, Ethernet, SDHC card slot and 3 USB ports (1 with USB 3.0). Here, they intended to position the U845t as the Ultrabook equivalent of the “reasonably-priced car”.

They also ran with the Qosmio X875 which is a gaming laptop with a 1Tb hybrid hard drive with 8Gb SSD cache. It also has the “Black Widow” performance design with up to 32Gb RAM, up to 2Tb storage and a 3GB NVIDIA GTX 670M GPU display and NVIDIA 3D as an option.

On the other hand. HP are launching 2 affordable “Sleekbook” ultraportables that are driven by AMD processors. Both of these are what you would call a “lightweight mainstream” laptop with a 15.6” screen, replaceable batteries, numeric keypads and multi-touch trackpads. They also have Dolby sound tuning as a way to make that music or video sound better. The basic model comes with the A6 processor, 6Gb RAM and 500Gb hard disk storage while the premium “Touchsmart” variant comes with a touchscreen, the faster A8 processor, 6Gb RAM and 750Gb hard disk storage.

Lenovo exhibited their Horizon 27 touchscreen desktop all-in-one which is able to work as an “action table”. As well, Lenovo are planning to “split” their brand by having the Lenovo brand for home and small-business computing equipment and the “Think” brand associated with “ThinkPad” and “ThinkCentre” for their large-business computing equipment. This direction reminds me of Ford’s and Chrysler’s Australian operations in the late 60s and early 70s where they were trying to run a separate brand for their luxury cars with “LTD” and “Landau” for Ford’s efforts and “VIP” for Chrysler’s efforts.

Panasonic were showing their 20” 4K-display “VAIO-Tap-style” tablet with Windows 8 as a prototype for their computer entry.

Dell launched their Latitude 10 essentials tablet which is their effort at pushing the price of a full Windows 8 tablet down to a reasonable price of US$499. This has the Intel microarchitecture and comes with a 10” screen as well as 32Gb of SSD storage. They also issued a 1080p screen option for their XPS 13 Ultrabook.

Gigabyte have fielded an extra tiny desktop PC with Intel i7 horsepower. This machine is a similar size to the Apple Mac Mini, but like machines of this ilk, you don’t have room to expand compared to larger computers.

ASUS also fielded the Transformer all-in-one tablet which can boot Android 4.1 and Windows 8. It has for its display an 18.4” screen with 1080p resolution.

Regular computer technology

Intel has been tweaking the Atom CPUs as a stronger system-on-chip for low-tier portable computing and released limited runs of the Ivy Bridge chipset which are tuned for power conservation and system performance.


Computer monitors

There are some technologies that are appearing for this class of device such as the increased pixel density such as a 4K UHDTV screen (2560×1440) for 20” and above or 1080p HDTV (1920×1080) for lesser screen sizes, use of a 21:9 aspect ratio, affordable IPS LCD displays and touchscreen displays.

Here, LG had launched a 4K 30” screen as well as the EA93 21:9 screen which has a 2560×1080 resolution and 4-way split abilities. Similarly ASUS launched an ultrawide 21:9 monitor with similar specifications to this monitor. As well, Sharp had exhibited a 32” 4K-resolution monitor which is the thinnest in this class. This IGZO-driven screen comes in at a thickness of 1.5”.

HP had launched a run of 20”-27” monitors such as the deluxe Envy 27 that has an elegant bezel-free IPS display, HDMI digital audio with optical SPDIF output as well as a 3.5mm pre-out jack. It has the above-mentioned HDMI connector, a DisplayPort connector and a legacy VGA connector. The sound subsystem in this model is, like most of the premium and midrange HP consumer laptops, tuned by BeatsAudio.

The Pavilion xi Series (20”, 22”, 23” 25” and 27”) has IPS and the full input complement (VGA, DVI and HDMI). Except for the 20” variant, they can work with the 1920×1080 resolution. The Pavilion P Series (18.5”, 20” and 21”) are pitched as the “budget business” models which can work at 1366×768 or the 20” and 21” models can work at 1600×900 resolution.

They also released the U160 which is a USB-powered portable DisplayLink monitor. This 15” screen, which works at 1366×768, comes in a leather case and is pitched to work as a second screen for that ultraportable notebook computer.

Speaking of DisplayLink, the organisation that represents the “display over USB” concept has demonstrated a “single-pipe” USB 3.0 external-display setup. This “proof-of-concept” uses one USB 3.0 cable to provide external power to the laptop alongside the transfer of display, USB-peripheral, audio and Ethernet between the laptop and the monitor. It is more about the idea of encouraging the development of a USB monitor dock which is effectively a laptop power supply, USB hub, Ethernet network adaptor and external display and audio. As well, the DisplayLink MacOS X driver has been updated to work with 4 adaptors using USB 3.0 technology.

ASUS exploted the DisplayLink concept further with their VariDrive expansion module. This is a laptop expansion module that has a DVD burner, DisplayLink video to HDMI or legacy VGA devices, Ethernet and Audio via HDMI and connects to that ultraportable via USB 3.0.

Network technology

802.11ac Wi-Fi wireless

There is an increasing number of wireless routers, access points and USB “stick” client adaptors that work with the new draft 802.11ac wireless-network specification.

These are are also being equipped with performance-improvement and QoS-optimisation chipsets from the various chipset vendors. An example of this is Qualcomm’s StreamBoost technology which manages the WAN (Internet) and LAN (home network) sides of the equation for optimum throughput for the small network.

As well, D-Link have launched an online-gaming-optimised 802.11ac Gigabit router with the Qualcomm Atheros VIVE technology. Netgear are also making for an easy-to-set-up experience for their newer routers by implementing the QR codes on their management user interface so you can integrate your Android phone to the home network very quickly. They also fielded the D600 which is the first 802.11ac DSL modem router that can work with today’s ADSL networks. But it also has a Gigabit Ethernet WAN connection for use with next-generation broadband.

Of course, most of the router manufacturers are touting cloud technology for this product class. This is primarily about remote access to data held on storage that is attached to these routers via a Web interface or a client-side mobile app.

Shoehorning the home network, and the HomePlug technology

There have been a few interesting devices that can improve your home network.Firstly, NETGEAR have shown a plug-in simultaneous-dual-band wireless range extender / Wi-Fi client bridge that offers a feature that snaps at the heels of the Apple Airport Express. Here, this device has AirPlay / DLNA audio playout so you can connect an amplifier or a pair of active speakers and push audio content from your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop PC through that amplifier or speakers. At the moment, I don’t know if this device can also work as a regular access point.

The HomePlug AV specification is still pushed as a “wired with no-new-wires” option for the home network and Engenius have released a device that capitalises on this fact. It combines a HomePlug AV 500 bridge, a 5-port Gigabit Ethernet switch and an 802.11n N300 Wi-Fi access point as the ultimate network-hub option for the far end of the house, the old bungalow or that funky old 1970s caravan that is serving as a teenager’s sleepout or extra office.

For that matter, HomePlug network technology isn’t just showing up as network-infrastructure hardware but as being integrated in connected devices. This is more so with a Netgear Airplay audio adaptor / USB server and some of Hisense’s latest connected TV designs. As well, other chipmakers like Broadcomm and Sigma are supplying chipsets for at least the HomePlug AV specification. This could reduce the cost of the hardware for this network segment.

Similarly, the HomePlug AV2 Gigabit MIMO standard which exploits the earth wire as well as the active and neutral wires in the mains wiring is coming closer. This is expected to yield good things for the home network such as each node being a repeater as well as this “no-new-wires” technology hitting the Gigabit mark.

Portable routers

AT&T and Sierra Wireless used this show to launch the second model of the touch-screen MiFi. But this one is equipped with the 4G LTE as its WAN (Internet) connection.

D-Link also exhibited the SharePort Go 2 which is a pocket-sized 802.11g/n Wi-Fi router that works with an Ethernet connection or a USB wireless-broadband adaptor. The Wi-Fi segment is the only LAN segment available to this travel router but it can also share content held on an SD card.

Printer technology

There hasn’t been much happening for printers at this year’s CES. Typically new models may be launched at separate events like CEBit in Hannover, Computex in Taipei or Photokina in Cologne due to some focusing on small-business needs or photography printing needs. As well, the manufacturers run their own events to launch their own printers.

This is  although Canon had launched the PiXMA MX392, MX452, MX522 and MX922. These have in common high-capacity cartridges with a front-load design similar to Brother inkjets and the HP OfficeJet Pro 8600a series. This is a welcome move away from having to open a lid on the printer when the ink runs out.  They are also optimised with a high duty cycle which would also please business owners who want a lot more out of them. Most of the networked models in this series also are set up for Google Cloud Print.

Storage Technology

Toshiba has shown a microSDHC card reference design which implements the TransferJet technology. This is a near-field wireless data transfer for microSDHC devices rather than having this integrated in the device’s electronics. I wonder how the operating systems would cope with the idea of this technology so you can select files to transfer but this could work well for cameras and MP3 players.

Seagate have premiered their Wireless Plus mobile NAS which is like the GoFlex Satellite except it has a larger capacity of 1 Terabyte. Surprising for this product class, this unit is the first mobile NAS to implement DLNA MediaServer technology so it could stream to Internet radios, smart TVs or DLNA media player software.

They also launched the Central NAS which works with a Samsung TV app or can stream to any DLNA-capable media device. It could then mean you can do more with your files at your Samsung smart TV rather than just view them.

The HP Pocket Playlist is HP’s first mobile NAS device. It can share stored Hulu or Netflix content which is loaded to it through PC software that ties in with the PlayLater option. For that matter, it can serve 5 Wi-Fi devices on its own.

Western Digital also launched the WD Black hybrid hard disks that integrate SSD and spinning-platter technology in a 2.5” housing. They would be pitched to OEMS for use with the next laptops or ultraportables.


Stay tuned to the last in this series which will encompass mobile technology as well as the smart home and automotive technology.

Product Review–Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook


I am reviewing the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook which is Dell’s main foray in to the  Ultrabook thin-and-lignt market. The model I am covering is the more expensive unit which has a 256Gb solid-state drive

There are economy model of this computer, one with Intel i5 processor and 128Gb solid-state drive as the cheapest option and another mid-range model with an i5 processor and a 256Gb solid-state drive.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook Rydges Melbourne

– this configuration
AUD$1499 – online price from Dell
Processor Intel Sandy Bridge i7-2631M cheaper option – Intel Sandy Bridge i5-2467M
RAM 4Gb shared with graphics
Secondary storage 256Gb solid-state storage
cheaper – 128Gb solid-state storage
Display Subsystem Intel HD
Screen 13” widescreen (1366×768) LED backlit LCD
Audio Subsystem Intel HD
Network Wi-Fi 802.11g/n
Bluetooth 3.0
Connectivity USB 2.0 x 2
Video DisplayPort
Audio 3.5mm audio input-output jack
Operating System on supplied configuration Windows 7.0 Professional
Windows Experience Index – this configuration Overall: 5.6 Graphics:  5.6
Advanced Graphics: 5.9
Insert variants with relative price shifts

The computer itself

Aesthetics and Build Quality

Like other Ultrabooks,, this Dell XPS 13 is very light and doesn’t take up much room in your shoulder bag. The unit is wrapped in an aluminium finish with the keyboard surrounded in a rubber-feel panel which doesn’t feel as sweaty to use.

At times the computer does feel warm underneath after a long session of use. This is more noticeable around the back edge and is more so if you are engaging in video-heavy or CPU-heavy tasks.

User Interface

Dell XPS 13 UltrabookThe Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook is equipped with an illuminated keyboard. But this keyboard does feel hard and has that cheap calculator-keyboard feel.  At least you can still touch-type on the keyboard easily. It als misses distinct keys for page-up / page-down functions which can be confusing when you are browsing a Web page.

The XPS’s trackpad doesn’t have distinctly marked-out buttons for selecting or confirming the options. This is similar to what is accepted on the MacBook computers and  it can be hard to locate the correct buttons by touch when you need to click or right-click that option.

The trackpad doesn’t respond to the double-tap = select gesture which is a common gesture for nearly all laptop trackpads.

Audio and Video

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook right hand side - USB 2.0 port, DisplayPort

Right hand side connections – USB 2.0 port and DisplayPort

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook performed properly, responsively and smoothly with video content. This included action content that I viewed as part of a video-on-demand show. It may not be all that suitable for some activities like intense gaming.

I used this Ultrabook with the previously-reviewed Turtle Beach headset and found that you need to enable the Realtek Waves MAXXAudio all the time to keep “punch”in the sound even for the TV show. Of course, I would not expect much for the integrated speakers especially if you want to play music or desire movies and games with the effects being there.

Connectivity, Storage and Expansion

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook left hand side connections - power, USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio in-out jack

Left-hand side connections – power, USB 2.0, 3.5mm audio input-output jack

The Dell XPS 13 is equipped with two USB 2.0 connectors, a 3.5mm audio input-output jack and a DisplayPort port for monitors and video adaptors. These are its only connectors, in order to achieve a very slim notebook.

This Ultrabook has a 256Gb solid-state drive as its secondary storage and, unlike mist laptop computers that I have used or reviewed, doesn’t come with a memory-card slot. This would be considered an omission for those of us who take the memory card out of our digital cameras as part of transferring our images to a computer.

Battery life

The battery does live up to the expectations for an Ultrabook’s battery with it being half-empty aftar a good afternoon’s worth of hotspot surfing.

Even viewing 1.5 hour’s worth of on-demand video had the battery meter registering 45%. Like the Acer Aspire S3 Ultrabook, the Dell XPS 13 doesn’t support a hibernate mode for whenever you are not using the machine. Instead, the computer will stay in a “sleep mode” for a few hours then enter a “deep sleep”mode until you power it on.

Limitations and Points Of Improvement

The Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook could benefit from a pair of USB 3.0 sockets rather than USB 2.0 sockets so as to take advantage of external USB hard disks. As well, it could be equipped with an HDMI socket or be supplied with an HDMI adaptor so that it can connect to just about every flatscreen TV in circulation.

Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook rear viewAs I have said before, it definitely misses the SD card slot which would be important with digital-camera users who prefer to “remove the film” from the digital camera and this could be installed in the lid if you needed to balance out the space for the various hardware parts..


I would recommend that people purchase the Dell XPS 13 Ultrabook as a secondary notebook computer to use while travelling or using your favourite cafe, bar or hotel lounge as your second office. This assumes that you have a larger laptop or desktop as your main computer where you do most of your work on. It could be sold for a bit cheaper based on the options that it has even though the solid-state drive is sold at a premium.

Also, I would recommend that people who have digital cameras purchase an SD card reader if you you need to remove the card from the camera to download pictures. As well,you would need to know where the computer is at all times because the machine isn’t equipped with a lockdown slot.

Understanding the new DisplayPort video-connection standard

A few years ago, the VESA consortium who manage standards concerning video display equipment have released the DisplayPort video connection standard to connect a computer or similar device to a display. This has yielded increased improvement over the legacy VGA, DVI and HDMI standards that are currently in use for this purpose.

At the moment, it has been mainly deployed by Apple in their recent-issue Macintosh computers and monitors and I have known that the iMac all-in-one computers have the ability to work as a DisplayPort monitor. Now, other manufacturers are releasing laptop and desktop computers as well as aftermarket graphics cards equipped with this connection in to their model lineups. This is also being augmented with a trickle of monitors and “business” projectors that come with this connection and this trickle will turn in to a flood as this connector comes down the model lineups.


Small-size connector

There is a standard connector that is similar to a USB plug for applications where space doesn’t matter like display cards or most regular monitor and projector designs. This connector also has a “latching” design that allows for high-reliability connections in applications where this is desired.

Then there was a “MiniDisplayPort” connector that is half the size of this connector and is intended for applications where space is limited like laptop computers, sleek monitors and ultra-low-profile computer housings. This is actually the standard being implemented by Apple in their current-issue Macintosh platform hardware.

Single pipe

This standard, like the SCART and HDMI video-connection standards, allows for a single pipe for high-resolution video, digital audio and bi-directional communications. Some applications like multi-function monitors with integrated sound, Webcams and USB hubs; touchscreen displays and projectors with integrated cursor-control functionality will benefit from this functionality because there is only one cable needed between the host device and the display.

The latest version (1.2) of this standard also allows for multi-display setups from one connection on the host, whether as a daisy-chain or in a “hub and spoke” manner. This then allows for simplifying multi-monitor display arrangements or monitor / projector setups.

It is also worth knowing that the DisplayPort standard also allows for IP-based network connectivity between the host and the display, which could benefit those displays that have some form of network functionality.

Increased performance

High-resolution, High colour depth (digital photo and video)

Increased distance between host and display

The distance between the host device and the display has been increased to 15 metres without the need for repeaters or amplifiers. This would benefit large video-display setups where the display computer would need to be away from the display screen or projector unit, such as meeting rooms, churches, cinemas and the like.

Adaptors available for legacy displays

If you buy a DisplayPort-equipped computer or retrofit your desktop computer with a DisplayPort-equipped video card, you can still connect your computer or video card to your existing monitor. This is feasible through the availability of DisplayPort – VGA / DVI / HDMI adaptors.

Issues to be careful of

Use of DisplayPort – HDMI adaptors

If you want full proper HDMI operation such as “single-pipe audio” with a DisplayPort-HDMI adaptor, you will need to make sure that the DisplayPort host computer is capable of DP++ behaviour. This is to ensure that the proper logic is going to occur between the host device and the HDMI display setup which may include a separate HDMI “sink” device for sound like a home-theatre receiver.

DisplayPort 1.2 multi-display setups

A DisplayPort setup which is established in a daisy-chain fashion requires a DP 1.2 host at the head of the chain and DP 1.2 monitors down the chain, but a DP 1.1a monitor can be used as the last display in the chain. Alternatively, DP 1.1a monitors can be used as the “spokes” displays in a DP 1.2 setup if they are connected directly to the hub.

It is also worth knowing that the DisplayPort 1.2 multi-monitor setups support “multi-streaming” with displays showing different images from one host. This can suit most multi-display applications such as editing environments, “extra-wide desktops” or “operator screens” for projector setups where each monitor must have different video.

What to look for

If you want to make sure that your system can support the display requirements of now and the future, make sure that the display subsystem can support DisplayPort 1.2 with DP++ functionality. This can cater for multi-screen displays, the current crop of HDMI-equipped display and audio hardware amongst other things.

Whenever you buy or specify a DisplayPort monitor for a multi-screen display or as an “operator screen” for your DisplayPort projector, make sure that it supports at least DisplayPort 1.2. You can get by with a DisplayPort 1.1a monitor or projector at the end of a “daisy-chain” setup on as a “spoke” from a hub-based setup with a DisplayPort 1.2 hub.


Once you are aware of the caveats outlined above when buying or specifying DisplayPort hardware, you can be sure that you can benefit from the DisplayPort standard offers.