The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) has announced an update to the Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) standard, bringing it to 1.4a. The major additions in this version include the introduction of the Display Stream Compression (DSC) standard (1.1) and a new segmented panel architecture that facilitates an increase in the amount of bandwidth available.
With eDP 1.4a, the focus is to enable higher bandwidth in systems with integrated graphics solutions such as smartphones, tablets and notebooks. With Quad HD mobile devices already available and 4K touted to be the next big thing in the world of smartphones, bandwidth required to drive a screen is continually growing. As such, eDP 1.4a has four lanes, each with a bandwidth of 8.1Gbps. The lanes can be used individually or combined to provide a theoretical bandwidth of 32.4Gbps. The amount of available bandwidth can easily drive a 4K screen (3840×2160) at 120Hz with 10-bit color and an 8K display at 60Hz.
Display Stream Compression is a compression technology that VESA claims does not result in any noticeable difference in quality, leading to “visually lossless” content. The technology allows data reduction by as much as three times the original size. There’s also enhancements to Panel Self-Refresh, which further adds to the overall data reduction by only changing the updated pixels frame to frame. We can only gauge the veracity of these claims once we see the standard in consumer-level hardware, which will occur next year.
Also available in eDP 1.4a is optional support for Adaptive Sync, or AMD’s FreeSync. The technology works in conjunction with an AMD-enabled video card and serves to minimize frame-tearing and stutter. As the feature is an optional one in the standard, it is likely we won’t see it in all eDP 1.4a monitors.
While eDP 1.4a is a move to enable 4K and beyond resolutions, there are other significant factors in bringing 4K or even 8K to a mobile, including GPU and display technology.