PC Companies, Chip Makers Move to Support Digital Display Technology

Chip makers AMD, Intel will drop support for VGA and LVDS by 2015 in move to accelerate adoption of HDMI and DisplayPort digital interfaces. Dell, Lenovo, LG and Samsung signal plans to promote digital display interfaces over older analog technology.

December 10, 2010

D.H. Kass

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Six IT manufacturers this week signaled their intention by 2015 to move away from analog display output such as the venerable Video Graphics Array (VGA) in favor of the DisplayPort and High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) digital interfaces.

Advanced Micro Devices Inc. (AMD), Dell Inc., Intel Corp., Lenovo, LG Display and Samsung Electronics LCD Business collectively disclosed their intention to accelerate adoption of scalable and lower power digital interfaces and, for AMD and Intel, to drop support in their product lines of the earlier analog technology by 2015.

The companies gave a number of reasons for supporting the newer digital interfaces, offering that PCs equipped with an HDMI interface more readily connect to consumer devices while DisplayPort is expected to become the dominant PC digital display output for embedded flat panel displays, PC monitors and projectors.

In addition, the companies said that DisplayPort and HDMI allow for slimmer laptop designs and support higher resolutions with deeper color than the 20-year old VGA standard. DisplayPort also sports power advantages, bi-directional communications and design efficiencies that make it preferable to the low voltage differential signaling technology (LVDS), the current standard for LCD panel input.

While the companies readily acknowledge that VGA’s substantial installed base of monitors and projectors will keep it in play beyond 2015 they contend they are committed to advancing the newer HDMI and DisplayPort.

“Modern digital display interfaces like DisplayPort and HDMI enhance the consumer visual PC experience by immersing them with higher resolutions and deeper colors -- all at lower power -- to enhance battery life for laptops,” said Eric Mentzer, Intel vice president, strategy, planning and operations, Visual and Parallel Computing Group.

“By moving to these new interfaces, Intel is able to focus investment on new innovations to enhance the PC experience rather than having to solve challenges of supporting legacy analog interfaces on our latest silicon process technology and products,” he said.

Transitioning from analog to digital interfaces

Chip makers Intel and AMD said that they will follow a similar transitioning schedule to phase out support for LVDS and VGA.

Intel said it will stop supporting LVDS in 2013 and VGA in 2015 in its processors and chipsets. AMD said that by 2013 it will remove native LVDS output from most of its products and also begin to remove native VGA output.

“Legacy interfaces such as VGA, DVI and LVDS have not kept pace, and newer standards such as DisplayPort and HDMI clearly provide the best connectivity options moving forward,” said Eric Demers, AMD chief technology officer, Graphics Division.

“In our opinion, DisplayPort 1.2 is the future interface for PC monitors, along with HDMI 1.4a for TV connectivity,” he said.

Display panel makers Samsung and LG said that they already have products on the market with embedded DisplayPort (eDP).

“Samsung Electronics LCD Business is already supporting this transition with embedded DisplayPort notebook panels, which we have been shipping since March of this year,” said Seung-Hwan Moon, Samsung vice president, engineering, LCD Business.

"We already have different sizes of LCD panels with eDP out in the market to fulfill the various needs of customers," said Michael Kim, LG vice president, IT product planning department.

Both Dell and Lenovo pointed to advantages customers gain from the IT manufacturers moving to digital display interfaces.

“Moving to the latest digital standards like DisplayPort enables customers to preserve backwards compatibility with installed equipment while taking full advantage of the latest advances in display capabilities, configuration options, and features,” said Liam Quinn, Dell Business Client, chief technology officer.

“We live in a digital-rich world and display technology must keep up with the explosion of digital content,” said George He, Lenovo chief technology officer.

“By transitioning to digital display technologies like Display Port and HDMI customers not only enjoy a better computing experience, they get more of what’s important to them in a laptop--more mobility, simplified design with fewer connectors and longer battery life,“ He said.

TAGS: monitor,display,HDMI,DisplayPort,VGA

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