USB 4.0 Type C Ports can stream 16K video at 80Gb/s thanks to VESA’s new DisplayPort standard

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The new USB4 or USB 4.0 type C ports can work with 16K/60Hz displays thanks to the new DisplayPort 2.0 which will use USB 4’s 4 lanes to transmit nearly 80 gigabits of data per second.

You must have been hearing about the upcoming USB standard called USB4 or USB 4.0 which will make the USB ports faster transferring at nearly 40 gigs/s. The USB Promoter Group had announced that “USB4” or USB 4.0 will be released in 2020. The plan now seems to be derailed due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the new date of the launch could be as late as 2021.

The new USB4 promises a host of benefits that include faster transfer speeds, better management of video, and optional compatibility with Thunderbolt 3. Now add to that a faster output of 16K videos at 60Hz refresh rate thanks to the VESA new DisplayPort 2.0.

What is Vesa?

Video Electronics Standards Association or VESA is a standardization organization of more than 225 companies as members. VESA technical standards organization for computer display standards for the companies to follow. You must have heard about VGA and SVGA monitors. These are the standards set by VESA.

What is DisplayPort 2.0?

VESA also sets standards for the computer/gadget port outlets streaming video and audio components.  DisplayPort (DP) is a digital display interface developed by a consortium of PC and chip manufacturers and standardized by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA). The interface is primarily used to connect a video source to a display device such as a computer monitor, and it can also carry audio, USB, and other forms of data. The current standard is DP 1.5 and transmits data at 32.4 Gbit/s.

DisplayPort 1.4 has support for Display Stream Compression 1.2 (DSC), Forward Error Correction, HDR10 metadata defined in CTA-861.3, including static and dynamic metadata and the Rec. 2020 color space, for HDMI interoperability, and extends the maximum number of inline audio channels to 32.

Now VESA has announced standardization of DisplayPort 2.0 or the second-generation DisplayPort (DP) Alternate Mode (or Alt Mode) for USB type C ports. It will allow the USB4 Type C ports to use DP 2.0 standard to render images, videos at 80 gigabits per second (Gb/s) of raw video bandwidth through 4 lanes at 20 Gbit/s.

In plain English, if you buy a computer/laptop with USB4 Type C Port complying to DP 2.0, you will be able to watch/copy/transfer files and 16k videos at 80 Gbit/s at 60Hz refresh rates. Which means faster transfers and superior movie experience if you playing the movie directly using USB 4.0.

What is USB4 or USB 4.0 and when will it come?

Currently, if you are using a 2019/2020 model PC/laptop, you will most probably have USB 3.0 and upwards USB  ports. The USB 3.0 port can Type A, Type B, or Type C though Type C is now fairly common nowadays. The different type of USB ports are given below:

types of USB Ports

The confusion of pins in USB Ports is baffling even to seasoned technicians. I bet you have ever seen the Type A or Type B USB port in action. Most of us know the type of USB ports from the charging docs of our smartphones. This confusion will be fixed with the incoming USB4 or USB 4.0, which will use one standard connector and bring multiple connectivity standards together.

The USB 4 specification has been published and the USB4 ports and USB4 devices were supposed to arrive in 2020 but now Coronavirus pandemic has pushed the launch date to 2021. Normally it takes around 18 months for manufacturers to ship devices once VESA sets the standards.

Over 50 companies are currently involved in USB4 including the likes of Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, ST Microelectronics, and Texas Instruments.

Main Benefits of USB4 or USB 4.0

One of the main benefits of USB4 will be the standardization of ports. You will no longer need Type A/B/C type connectors. A single USB4 connector will do the trick. Other than that, the new USB 4 standard will have three main benefits over USB 3.x.

  • 40 Gbit/s Maximum Speed: By using two-lane cables, some devices will be able to operate at up to 40 Gbps, the same speed as Thunderbolt 3. This will double to 80Gbit/s if VESA’s DP.20 is implemented by the manufacturers.
  • Compatible with Thunderbolt 3 devices: All the USB4 devices can now connect to Apple devices except in some cases.
  • Parallel Resource Allocation for Video: If you’re using a USB 4 port to transport both video and data at the same time, the port will allocate bandwidth accordingly. So, if the video only needs 20 percent of the bandwidth to stream to your 1080p monitor, the USB4 will allocate balance 80 percent for other tasks like transferring files. Currently, USB 3.xx does not have this parallel allocation facility.

What type of Connector will USB4 use?

USB4 will use the Type C connectors which will be standard for all devices. The USB-C connector was designed to be future proof and reversible and USB4 will use the same technology going forward. USB4 will be backward compatible with existing USB 3.2, USB 2.0, and Thunderbolt 3 ports. You can use an adapter to connect the old connectors to the new USB4 standard.

So in all probability, the PCs/TVs/Smartphones you buy in 2021 will have USB4 and will be able to stream movies at 16K/60 Hz refresh rate at 80 gigs per second.

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