Good news, your DisplayPort 2.0 hardware already supports DisplayPort 2.1 — here's why that matters

iVanky DisplayPort
(Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • VESA just announced the DisplayPort 2.1 specification this week.
  • DisplayPort 2.1 improves connectivity and allows longer cables without reduced performance.
  • The specification also adds new bandwidth management features.
  • All products that support DisplayPort 2.0 will also work with DisplayPort 2.1.

The Video Electronics Standards Association, more commonly known as VESA, announced the DisplayPort 2.1 specification this week. DisplayPort 2.1 aligns better with the USB-C specification and USB4 PHY than its predecessor and has new bandwidth management features. It also enables connectivity through longer cables. Specifically, DP40 cables can extend beyond two meters, and DP80 cables can be over one meter.

The good news is that you don't need to rush out and replace all of your DisplayPort 2.0 devices to take advantage of the new specification. VESA worked with companies to make sure that all products that support DisplayPort 2.0 also support DisplayPort 2.1.

"Whether GPUs, docking station chips, monitor scalar chips, PHY repeater chips such as re-timers, or DP40/DP80 cables (including both passive and active, and using full-size DisplayPort, Mini DisplayPort or USB Type-C connectors) – have already been certified to the stricter DisplayPort 2.1 spec," explained VESA.

Supporting a wide range of cables was a priority with the new standard. "Achieving a robust, end-to-end user visual experience remains the utmost priority for VESA's DisplayPort specification, whether across a native DisplayPort cable, via DisplayPort Alt Mode (DisplayPort over the USB Type-C connector), or tunneled through the USB4 link," said the association's press release.

DisplayPort 2.1 aligns more with the USB Type-C specification as well as USB4 PHY. As a result of this, cables meeting the specification will work better alongside data traffic through USB4 connections.

The improved efficiency of DisplayPort 2.1 works in conjunction with VESA's visually lossless Display Stream Compression codec, which can reduce transport bandwidth by as much as 67%. It also works with VESA's Panel Replay capability, which can "reduce DisplayPort tunneling packet transport bandwidth in excess of 99 percent."

In layman's terms, DisplayPort 2.1 will help video look better. It supports higher bit rates and should deliver good visual quality, including HDR content. The improved video quality will work through DisplayPort 2.1 even when a cable is also used for other tasks, such as transferring data and power.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com (opens in new tab).