The standout feature of HDMI compared to other video connectors is its ability to carry high-definition video and audio through a single cable.
HDMI is not the only AV connector that can do it. There’s another called DisplayPort.
It stands out from DVI which also carries HD video but not audio.
You may not have heard about DisplayPort because it’s not in the realm of the home video user.
It’s mostly used, among others, in high-end computer monitors, and advanced graphics cards, Mac computers and business laptops.
DisplayPort is the brainchild of VESA (the Video Electronics Standards Association).
It is a consortium comprising manufacturers like Dell, HP, Lenovo, Oculus, Apple, Nvidia and AMD to name a few. Most of them belong to the HDMI Forum as well, with the exception of Hitachi and Philips.
When DisplayPort was introduced in 2006 it was meant as a replacement for the two types of dominant computer video connectors – VGA and DVI.
VGA which means Video Graphics Array made its appearance in 1987. It’s an analog video interface.
DVI stands for Digital Video Interface and was introduced in 1999. As its name suggests it was meant to transmit digital video.
DisplayPort is royalty-free. Manufacturers don’t have to pay to use the technology.
A DisplayPort connector comes with 20 pins. There are two sizes – DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort.
DisplayPort is usually used with computer monitors.
Mini DisplayPort is adopted by Microsoft for its Surface Pro tablet. Apple used it for its Macs before it switched to the USB- type C connection.
DisplayPort Certification Levels
DisplayPort comes with 3 certification levels:
The first is the RBR cable type. RBR stands for Reduced Bit Rate. This is the DisplayPort cable version 1,0 which supports a bit rate of up to 6,48Gbps.
The second type is the what’s called the Standard DisplayPort cable that supports HBR ( High Bit Rate).
There are two versions here:
The HBR which supports a bitrate of up to 10.80Gbps and the HBR 2 which can manage a bitrate of up to 21.60Gbps.
The third is the HBR3 type which supports a bitrate of up to 32.40 Gbps. The DisplayPort 1.3 is the version which supports High Bit Rate 3.
The UBHR 10 (Ultra High Bit Rate 10) supports up to 40 Gbps. The DisplayPort version is 2,0.
To support both these versions would require a DP8K cable.
DisplayPort 1.2 allows a video resolution of up to 4K @ 60Hz . AMD FreeSync is available on some DisplayPort 1.2a ports.
DisplayPort 1.3 allows up to 4K @120Hz or 8K @ 30Hz
DisplayPort 1.4 offers supports of up to 8K at 60Hz, including HDR.
DisplayPort Latest Version
The latest version of HDMI is 2.1, with an eyebrow-raising support for up to 48Gbps.
DisplayPort hit back with its version 2.0 offering support for video data up to 80Gbps. This is almost triple DisplayPort 1.4’s offering.
Both, however, are waiting for equipment manufacturers to incorporate their state-of-the-art features into their products.
Difference Between DisplayPort and HDMI
Difference in Connector Shape and Size
The first major difference between DisplayPort and HDMI is the size and shape of their connectors.
An HDMI connector has 19 pins. This applies to the common Type A HDMI connector and the smaller less popular mini and micro HDMI connectors. Their sizes and shapes vary but they employ 19 pins. The layout of the pins is different though.
A standard DisplayPort has 20 pins. It is rectangular in shape for the most part. You have a notched corner to ensure you plug it in correctly.
There are hooks to hold the DiplayPort connector securely. You need to press a button to remove the connector.
There’s also a miniature version of DisplayPorts. It has 20 pins, too, and is called Mini DisplayPort.
Is DisplayPort Better than HDMI?
Both DisplayPort and HDMI are digital connectors. Each promises high-resolution video.
One is not necessarily better than the other. It depends on the equipment you have.
In most instances, you could make do with HDMI, as it’s compatible with most modern electronic devices.
On the other hand, if you have a high-end gaming computer and the latest state-of-the-art computer monitor, you may want to choose the DisplayPort option. This could provide you with the resolution that HDMI doesn’t offer.
For most users, HDMI would suffice as currently 4K is the video standard that’s in popular use and HDMI supports this well.