16K HDR and 8K HDR DisplayPort 2 on USB4, say VESA

ports on max rect

That’s right, 16K & 8K HDR-10 is coming to USB4. With the Summer Olympics in Japan delayed, due to the Pandemic, the Japanese experts over at VESA have decided to up their game. They are already streaming 8K content to viewers in Japan, but want to push the quality envelope given the extra time. The aim is to make our viewing experience far more immersive. Apparently, they’re hoping we’ve been using this extra time at home constructively, to finally configure our VCR’s flashing clock.

DisplayPort 2.0 requires 80Gbps, yet USB4 is rated at 40Gbps, which means some engineering magic is required. VESA doubles up this downlink speed with “Alt mode 2.0”. Basically the 40Mbps uplink is repurposed and added to the existing 40Mbps downlink, using a remap of USB-C, while still transporting power downline. This is what the updated “VESA certified” DisplayPort symbology means, as seen in the accompanying image below:

VESA DP Alt Mode Photo 2 768x432 1

For us users this translates to simplified design, using existing USB4 / USB-C cables for Thunderbolt 3. USB-C cables are favored, after all. They are already widely used for power, docking, gaming, AR/VR, handheld mobile devices, and professional HDR displays. Here they find a second life, for the next incoming standard*.

When things are getting this straight forward, we can’t help but wonder: is it time for ThunderBolt 4?

*Flexible options added by Alt-mode 2.0: One 16K (15360×8460) display @60Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR-10 (with Display Stream Compression); alternatively: One 8K (7680×4320) display @30Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR (no compression); and upto 3x 4K (3840×2160) displays @144Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR-10 (with DSC)

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