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New digital display interface standard in the works

Posted: 22 Dec 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:PC? consumer electronics? unified display interface? UDI?

Leading PC and consumer electronics companies announced that they are working to develop a specification, referred to as the unified display interface (UDI), that is intended to serve as the next-generation digital display interface standard for PCs and provide compatibility with consumer electronics (CE) devices.

UDI is targeted to become the new display interface for desktop PCs, workstations, notebook PCs and PC monitors, replacing the aging VGA analog standard and providing guidelines to ensure compatibility with today's DVI standard. Furthermore, as planned, the UDI specification will be fully compatible with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), the standard digital interface for High Definition TVs (HDTVs) and advanced CE displays.

UDI will be able to use High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology widely deployed in HDMI-compatible products today. As a result, host platforms with UDI connectors will be able to plug into monitors and HDMI-equipped display devices with full content-use rights management and high-definition video compatibility.

For end users, UDI will provide a universal video connection from the computer host to the display, including PC and notebook monitors, HDTVs and projectors. For PC and monitor makers, UDI is intended to enable easy integration with both discrete and integrated graphics controllers, letting OEMs build computer platforms and all-digital LCD monitors that are lower in cost, easier to use and higher in bandwidth.

A Special Interest Group (SIG) of industry leaders has been formed to develop and continue revising the UDI specification. Principal members of the SIG include Apple, Intel Corp., LG Electronics, National Semiconductor Corp., Samsung Electronics and Silicon Image Inc. Joining the SIG as contributors are graphics chip maker NVIDIA Corp., semiconductor manufacturer THine Electronics Inc., and cable and connector makers FCI, Foxconn Electronics Inc. and JAE Electronics Inc.

Unified display interface
UDI is one of three platforms (including DVI and HDMI) enabled to use HDCP. This will allow UDI-compatible PCs, notebooks and workstations the ability to display the latest digital content in various high-definition modes, including those meeting new high-definition optical disc standards.

UDI offers a number of performance and cost improvements over existing display standards. It also will maintain backward compatibility with DVI displays to pave the way toward completely replacing analog VGA as the PC display interface. These improvements include the added flexibility of accommodating proven high-bandwidth technology based on PCI Express and HDMI's Transition Minimized Differential Signaling (TMDS); use of a small, lower cost connector with optional locking retention; and, ongoing oversight of a working group that will actively administer and revise the UDI specification to meet changing market needs.

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