USB Type-C to HDMI specification arriving soon

The USB Type-C standard is quickly being adopted by device makers. Be it laptops, smartphones or tablets, it is now the most versatile and one of the fastest interfaces that one can have on a device. To take things further, a new HDMI technology is set to arrive as the HDMI Licensing is releasing a new specification called HDMI Alternate Mode (Alt Mode) for devices that feature the new USB Type-C port.

This will allow HDMI video signals to pass directly through a USB Type-C cable. No more need for dongles, or docks, all that you will need is a cheap convertor or simply a USB Type-C to HDMI cable in order to work with a HDMI display. The new HDMI Alt Mode will join the likes of DisplayPort, Mobile High-Definition Link (MHL), and Thunderbolt 3, all of which are already supported over USB Type-C.

HDMI_LandingPage_TypeC_Connector_Final_V3

Image: HDMI.org

There are a few complications with the new HDMI Alt though. Firstly, it won't be backwards compatible with existing devices or upgradeable via software. Another issue is that the HDMI Alt Mode will only supports the HDMI 1.4b standard, rather than the new HDMI 2.0b. So basically 4K (UHD) video will work, but only at 30FPS. It will however support Audio Return Channel (ARC), 3D, HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC), Consumer Electronic Control (CEC), Deep Color, x.v.Color, and HDCP 2.2.

USB Type-C supports DisplayPort 1.3 via DisplayPort Alt Mode so the HDMI 1.4b restriction sounds odd. This supports 4K displays at 120Hz, 5K displays (5120×2880) at 60Hz, and even 8K displays (7680×4320) at 30Hz.


Published Date: Sep 06, 2016 04:25 pm | Updated Date: Sep 06, 2016 04:25 pm