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IDT readies for DisplayPort shift in digital displays

Posted: 05 Dec 2007 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:DisplayPort? HDMI? LCD TV? digital displays?

Integrated Device Technology (IDT) has set up a new digital display division focused on chips for the DisplayPort standard, validating the major shift from analog VGA and LVDS in PC monitors, notebooks and inside LCD TVs.

The company has five DisplayPort parts in the works, but has yet to start sampling any of them. The news comes as DisplayPort backers gather in San Francisco this week for the third plugfest for the standard written by the Video Electronics Standards Association.

A handful of the first prototype LCDs using DisplayPort are expected to be showcased at the Consumer Electronics Show in January. The prototypes will be powered mainly by devices from Genesis Microchip, which is focused on the market for DisplayPort chips used internally in LCD TVs to replace LVDS circuitry.

Not an HDMI replacement
"We don't see DisplayPort replacing HDMI in consumer systems as an external interface, but it will be used as a bus inside the systems," said Chad Taggard, VP of strategic planning at IDT.

Displays sporting 1080p high-definition resolution require 30-35LVDS traces, and beyond that level will have trouble keeping pace. DisplayPort gets the job done using just eight traces and has plenty of headroom for future resolutions, said Taggard.

In this way, DisplayPort could deliver greater performance at lower cost and less power. "It's a perfect trifecta for the PC OEMs," Taggard added.

The IDT manager estimates as many as 300 million PCs and 100 million TVs could be using DisplayPort in some form by 2010, creating a billion-dollar market. "That's not chump change," he said.

Intel Corp., Advanced Micro Devices Inc. and others are expected to embed DisplayPort transmitters in many of their PC chipsets starting in 2008. A handful of companies including Analogix Semiconductor, Genesis and startup Parade Technologies Ltd will deliver various flavors receiver chips for LCDs.

For its part, Analogix also has five parts in design, including timing controllers. Some of the devices have already been through tapeout and are sampling. "We've got quite a lot of compliance testing to do yet," said Bryan Greer, VP of marketing at Analogix.

Increasing data rates
DisplayPort initially runs at data rates of 1.6-2.7GHz. A follow on version of the spec in the works will double the rate to 5.4GHz maximum.

The spec got its start when PC OEMs pushed back on plans for a version of HDMI geared for PCs that was initially supported by Intel. Engineers from Dell, Hewlett-Packard and other companies banded together to define their own solution as a digital successor to VGA and a replacement to LVDS.

IDT hopes to leverage its in-house Serdes technology and some spread spectrum techniques to deliver DisplayPort parts with EMI and crosstalk levels lower than competing parts. "We are finding it very competitive to get to 6.25Gbits/s at low power rates by using our own libraries," said Taggard.

Some of the IDT parts may take the form of advanced LCD panel controllers and video switches with HDMI interfaces. However, the company is not yet ready to detail its product plans.

- Rick Merritt
EE Times

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