Soon the humble USB will take on a much more versatile role. The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA®) has developed a Type-C Standard USB cable which will support data transfer as well as audio and video signal.
“The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA®), working in liaison with the USB 3.0 Promoter Group has announced the publication of the DisplayPort Alternate Mode (“Alt Mode”) on USB Type-C Standard. Using the DisplayPort Alt Mode, a USB Type-C connector and cable can deliver full DisplayPort audio/video (A/V) performance, driving monitor resolutions of 4K and beyond, SuperSpeed USB (USB 3.1) data and up to 100 watts of power–over a single cable. The DisplayPort Alt Mode can also drive adaptors that support the huge installed base of existing DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI, and VGA displays.”
All adaptors and converter cables will comply with all USB Type-C characteristics, including reversible plug orientation and cable direction.
“The USB Type-C specification was developed to provide consumers with a robust connector for everything from mobile devices to PCs, and when combined with SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps and USB Power Delivery, it truly enables a single cable solution for the market,” said Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF President and COO. “The USB-IF is also in the process of developing joint port identification guidelines. We’re working with VESA to ensure consumers can recognize when DisplayPort Alt Mode is supported on USB Type-C devices.”
By leveraging USB Type-C’s flexibility, the DisplayPort Alt Mode can choose to transmit on just one or two of the four available lanes, so that the other two lanes can be used for SuperSpeed USB data at the same time. In a docking station connection, for example, the use of two lanes for DisplayPort at 8.1 Gbps per lane would allow simultaneous transfer of SuperSpeed USB data (up to 10 Gbps in each direction) while also supporting a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) DisplayPort monitor. The dock can also be configured with DisplayPort protocol converters to support HDMI, VGA and/or DVI monitors. When using all four lanes for DisplayPort Alt Mode, which could drive a monitor with up to 5K (5120 x 2880) resolution, USB 2.0 data can still be carried across the USB Type-C connection using separate pins dedicated for that function.
The cable is already in production and once the standard is widely accepted and incorporated in new electronic devices, we will start to see its widespread use.
ONE CABLE TO RULE THEM ALL.