DisplayLink Crams 4K Video Through USB 3.0

For the uninitiated, DisplayLink develops a hardware/software solution that can send video through a USB port. The tech enables a number of peripherals provided by Diamond Multimedia, Targus, Asus, Lenovo and others to extend support for additional displays beyond the physical limits of a desktop or notebook. DisplayLink can handle up to six at one time along with keyboard and mouse support, audio and extra USB-based drives, depending on the device. For laptop owners, it's an awesome accessory.

Back during the Intel Developer Forum in San Francisco, DisplayLink demonstrated support for UltraHD displays over both USB and WiGig (802.11ad) connections. John Cummins, VP Sales and Marketing at DisplayLink, said that the latest DisplayLink 4K tech makes this possible, and will be completely backwards compatible with the current DisplayLink installed base.

"Many thought 4K over USB wouldn't be achievable, so we pushed the bar further, enabling Ultra HD 4K for both wired and wireless connections," he said. "The resolution increase is staggering when used in a business setting for data graphing, spreadsheets, and finance."

Of course, sending 4K video will likely be more ideal for USB 3.0 ports, especially when additional I/O data starts to clog up the USB pipeline like audio, mouse and keyboard input, and so on. Engadget, on hand at the demonstration, reports that the new 4K video offering also works on USB 2.0, although the dynamically compensating data compression at work may cause some frames to drop. Actually, the frames will likely become pixilated, which can even happen with HD video on a USB 3.0 port (been there, done it).

Our new step-sister site, LAPTOP, reports that DisplayLink is showcasing a number of prototypes during Intel's conference including a next-generation laptop dock, a wireless dock that can control two monitors over a Wireless AC network, and even solutions for Chromebooks and Android phones. The company is reportedly working on Android drivers for DisplayLink monitors now, but these will need to be preloaded on phones by the device makers rather than end-users.

The company introduced its latest fourth-generation DL-4000 family of USB monitor chips and customer products back in June during Computex. The company said this new family would enable a category of 'green' monitors capable of providing both power and data over a single USB cable. Other features include integrated video frame memory, pixel perfect text and graphics, HDCP 2.0 encryption compatibility, sub-frame latency and more.

DisplayLink said that availability of samples and production of its 4K tech will be announced at a later date.