HDMI, DVI, DisplayPort are irrelevant

USB plugThat, at least, is the verdict of this post on The Inquirer.

The technology created by my pals over at DisplayLink is getting ever-increasing publicity, if the size of the Google Alerts landing in my inbox each morning are anything to go by! And this is all good stuff.

One of the things that inspired me, when we started DisplayLink, was a feeling that that this technology was inevitable. The speed of general-purpose data networks was increasing very much faster than the resolution of displays, or the capabiity of the human visual system, which is essentially a constant. At some point, we realised, there would be no need for dedicated video connections like DVI because general-purpose networks would be cheaper, more flexible, and fast enough. We started Ndiyo and DisplayLink because we worked out that with 100Mb/s ethernet and USB 2.0, they were already fast enough for almost everything.

With 1Gb/s ethernet and USB 3.0, they’ll be fast enough for pretty much anything. And the networking world won’t stop there.

This doesn’t mean that graphics cards will go away. Many people, especially games players, will still want them for performance reasons. But you won’t need them for electrical reasons – to drive a particular type of signal over a particular kind of connector. VGA and DVI will go the way of the Centronics printer port. So graphics cards, whether standalone or built in to the motherboard, will become optional.

One of the things that excites me most about this is the fact that almost any device with a processor will soon be able to display a user interface on a decent-sized screen, if you care to plug one in. If you’re frustrated by the limitations of the user interface on your answerphone, your photocopier, your home alarm system, you’ll be able to plug in a 15″ or 17″ LCD and get a more sophisticated version. It makes sense because the manufacturer of the device concerned won’t have to build in a graphics chip, a framebuffer, or a VGA connector.

I started playing with this kind of thing when I worked on the VNC project at ORL/AT&T. It’s great to see the DisplayLink guys making it a reality.

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