The latest generation of USB cables could soon be able to support video signals up to Ultra HD 4K (and higher), as well as USB data, audio and power, potentially offering a true one-cable connection for some devices and displays.

The functionality of the USB Type-C connector, which will also be a reversible cable, is possible thanks to the new 'DisplayPort Alternate Mode' on the new USB specification unveiled by the Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA).

VESA has worked with the USB 3.0 Promoter Group to launch a cable that could provide "full DisplayPort AV performance" while still delivering as much as 100 watts of power through a single cable.

It raises a question over the future of dedicated display ports, with AnandTech suggesting that USB could become the "single cable that could carry everything" now that it's "one step closer to that with the ability to carry native video".

According to a VESA statement, it is expected that USB Type-C devices will use current DisplayPort 1.2a capabilities that support the transfer of up to 5.4Gbps per lane – and this, across all four high-speed lanes, will ensure Ultra HD 4K support at 4096 x 2160.

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And with the flexibility of USB Type-C, DisplayPort Alt Mode can use just one or two of the available four lanes. But if all lanes are used for DisplayPort Alt Mode, it might even be able to support up to 5K video – while still allowing for typical USB data transfer.

Jeff Ravencraft, USB-IF president and COO, said: "The USB-IF is also in the process of developing joint port identification guidelines. We’re working with VESA to ensure consumers can recognise when DisplayPort Alt Mode is supported on USB Type-C devices."

VESA board member and senior director of marketing at Parade Technologies, Craig Wiley, said: "DisplayPort has played a vital role in advancing display performance and connectivity for platforms that are increasingly integrated and compact."

 

[via AnandTech]