DisplayPort Alt Mode Specifications Updated To Meet USB 4.0 and USB Type-C Capabilities

The DisplayPort, which sits alongside HDMI and other legacy audio-video ports, is rapidly improving in terms of specifications. In the near future, the DisplayPort will have much better capabilities, according to the newly updated specifications. Essentially, VESA has evolved the DisplayPort to become as powerful as the USB 4.0 specifications for the USB Type-C ports and ensure seamless compatibility.

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) announced that it has released version 2.0 of the DisplayPort Alternate Mode (“Alt Mode”) standard. The new specifications improve the DisplayPort and ask manufacturers to ensure the port to provide seamless and hassle-free interoperability with the new USB 4.0 or USB4 specifications which were recently published by the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF). Additionally, the DisplayPort Alt Mode specifications fully enable all of the features in the latest version of the DisplayPort standard through the USB Type-C (USB-C) connector.

DisplayPort Alt Mode Specification 2.0 Features, Capabilities, Benefits, And Advantages:

DisplayPort 2.0, which was introduced in June 2019. It essentially makes a provision for up to 3X increase in data bandwidth performance compared to the previous version of DisplayPort. Additionally, there is an inclusion of several new capabilities to address future performance requirements of displays.

Some of the notable features that have been inserted in the DisplayPort Alt Mode Specification v2.0 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 Reality and Virtual Reality (AR/VR) displays, including support for 4K-and-beyond VR resolutions.

The DisplayPort 2.0 can theoretically deliver a maximum payload of 77.37 Gbps across four lanes (up to 19.34 Gbps per lane)—supporting Ultra-High Display Performance configurations such as an 8K (7680 × 4320) display with 60 Hz refresh rate with full-color 30 BPP 4:4:4 HDR resolution uncompressed, and 16K (15360 × 8460) 60 Hz display with 30 BPP 4:4:4 HDR resolution with compression. This is possible because the specifications feature the highly efficient 128b/132b channel coding that is shared with USB4. Interestingly, with the release of DisplayPort Alt Mode v2.0, all of the aforementioned high-performance video capabilities are now available to the USB ecosystem.

Speaking about the DisplayPort Alt Mode Specification v2.0 Craig Wiley, senior director of marketing at Parade Technologies, and VESA board member and DisplayPort Alt Mode sub-group leader said,

“VESA’s updated DisplayPort Alt Mode spec includes a number of under-the-hood developments—including updates to interface discovery and configuration as well as power management—to ensure seamless integration with the USB4 specification. This major undertaking, which was several years in the making, could only be made possible through the combined efforts of VESA and the USB-IF. Through our latest collaboration with the USB-IF, VESA is now taking care of everything related to high-performance displays over USB-C, whether through a native DisplayPort or USB-C connector or through tunneling of DisplayPort over the native USB4 interface. DisplayPort is also tunneled through the Thunderbolt interface, making it the de facto video standard across PC and mobile displays.”

DisplayPort 2.0 And USB Type-C To Offer Identical Features And Bandwidth?

There’s little doubt that the USB Type-C is the fastest growing and rapidly adopted standard for removable or hot-swappable connections and devices. Device manufacturers and OEMs who make laptops, smartphones, desktop, and other computing devices, are readily accepting the faster, simpler, and more reliable USB Type-C port. Hence the USB-IF is already pushing the capabilities of the USB Type-C port with the USB 4.0 specifications.

Incidentally, Intel has been active player in pushing the boundaries of DisplayPort v2.0 and USB 4.0 specifications, noted, Jason Ziller, general manager, Client Connectivity Division at Intel, “Intel’s contribution of the Thunderbolt PHY layer specification to VESA for use in DisplayPort 2.0 was a significant milestone, and it underpins this new DisplayPort 2.0 Alt Mode specification to provide data rates up to 20 Giga transfers per second (GT/s). This contribution ensures great user experiences by enabling today’s most versatile port with the highest performing display capabilities.”

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Alap Naik Desai


A B.Tech Plastics (UDCT) and a Windows enthusiast. Optimizing the OS, exploring software, searching and deploying solutions to strange and weird issues is Alap's main interest.
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