Analogix's Second-Gen SlimPort Controllers Support The 4K 120Hz Panels Of The Future

Analogix Semiconductor, Inc. today introduced the second generation of its SlimPort display controllers for VR and AR devices. The new controllers are ready for future display technology with support for up to 4K resolution at 120 frames per second. 

Analogix first introduced its SlimPort DisplayPort to Quad MIPI-DSI display controllers with the launch of the ANX753X series in January 2017. The first-generation controller supported 120Hz display panels with up to 1920x2160 pixels or 60Hz panels with 4096x2160 pixels. Analogix’s second generation SlimPort ANX7538 and ANX7539 controllers offer enough bandwidth to support up to 3840x2160 resolution at 120Hz.

Analogix said that its new SlimPort controller is the first VR/AR HMD controller in the industry to feature support for Vertical Blanking Interval (VBI), which is increasingly necessary for high-resolution VR displays. Analogix said new ANX7538/39 controllers support the blanking requirements that most 2K VR displays demand.

In a press release for the new SlimPort controllers, Michael Ching, vice president of marketing for Analogix, said:

“By integrating the VBI function, the ANX7539 is setting an industry standard for enablement of low persistence in LCD panels, which aids in reducing judder and latency and allows manufacturers to further improve the capabilities of next generation VR/AR headsets. With its D-PHY/C-PHY combo MIPI physical layer support, the ANX7538/39 are compatible with the majority of VR display panels available in the market, as well as next generation VR panels currently in development, further expanding our extensive VR/AR display controller portfolio.”

Analogix’s new SlimPort controllers support “a variety of video scan modes,” and feature an integrated video scaler to optimize the video signal. The new controllers are compatible with “USB Type-C and non-USB Type-C applications.”  

Analogix’s new controller should open the doors for high-refresh rate 4K displays in VR devices, but don’t hold your breath for a device with such a display just yet. We don’t currently know of a VR display panel that would push the limits of the ANX7538/39 controllers, and even if one exists, we won’t see it in a device for a while. Analogix said the ANX7538/39 controllers would be available in sample quantities in Q3 2018 for headset manufacturers to start testing product designs, but the company said mass production wouldn’t begin until Q1 2019.

If we had to guess, we’d expect to see product launches in the second half of 2019, which gives you plenty of time to save up for the incredible GPU you would need to power a headset with a 4K 120Hz display. Device makers can get an early start on designing their products, though. Analogix said the new ANX7538 and ANX7539 controllers share the pin layout of the existing and already available ANX7530VH controllers.

 Kevin Carbotte is a contributing writer for Tom's Hardware who primarily covers VR and AR hardware. He has been writing for us for more than four years.