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Next-generation UDI display interface spotted at IDF

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
A cable designed to provide a high definition video connection from a computer to a display is being shown at Intel's Developer Forum, and both Apple and Intel are members of the consortium developing the technology behind it.

Announced last Dec. as the unified display interface (UDI), the technology used in the cable is targeted to become the new display interface for desktop PCs, workstations, notebook PCs and PC monitors, replacing the aging VGA analog standard and providing guidelines to ensure compatibility with today's DVI standard.

According to a spokesperson at conference, the connector doesn't carry audio in the way that a HD connector to a television set would, because the computer will deal with the audio side.

In a previous statement released by the UDI Special Interest Group, a consortium involved in the ongoing development and refinement of the specification, UDI will be fully compatible with HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface), the standard digital interface for High Definition TVs (HDTVs) and advanced CE displays. It will also be able to use High-bandwidth Digital Content Protection (HDCP) technology widely deployed in HDMI-compatible products today.

As a result, computers with UDI connectors will be able to plug into monitors and HDMI-equipped display devices including HDTVs with full content-use rights management and high-definition video compatibility.

UDI on the left HDMI on the right (Photo Credit: TrustedReviews)

There remains some debate over what new benefits UDI will ultimately bring consumer, as it doesn't seem to offer much over the already established DVI and HDMI standards. However, it should benefit manufacturers, who currently have to pay a hefty licence fee in order to use HDMI. The annual licence fee of $15,000 is reportedly augmented by a royalty fee for every device that incorporates the interface.

The UDI Special Interest Group, which includes Apple, Intel, LG, Samsung, NVIDIA and Foxconn among others, has said it plans to wrap up version 1.0 of the UDI specification in second quarter of 2006. It's assumed that both Macs and PCs will begin to adopt the interface soon thereafter.
post #2 of 18
As we move into these high-bandwidth technologies (UDI is supposed to start at 16Gb/s), I don't see why fiber isn't used over copper. I'd always thought that fiber was the next step, with much higher theoretical bandwidths and much greater physical ranges. Why then, is UDI copper instead of fiber? It's not like fiber is too difficult or expensive for use in consumor technologies... optical is currenty used for digital audio.
post #3 of 18
First of all, I am not an expert on this subject, so please do correct me if I am wrong. However, I believe that copper is actually cheaper for these kinds of devices, offers more than enough bandwidth (we don't need 100 gigabits to power a display, etc), and one of the main advantages of fibre: you can have very long cables, isn't really very relevant, because monitor cables are unlikely to be a mile long.
post #4 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ctachme
As we move into these high-bandwidth technologies (UDI is supposed to start at 16Gb/s), I don't see why fiber isn't used over copper. I'd always thought that fiber was the next step, with much higher theoretical bandwidths and much greater physical ranges. Why then, is UDI copper instead of fiber? It's not like fiber is too difficult or expensive for use in consumor technologies... optical is currenty used for digital audio.

High bandwidth fiber is expensive and is pretty fussy, not to mention fragile. Relatively short 1000bFX cables are something like $80 each and the adapters are more expensive, and only helpful where RFI or long distance is an issue. Good DVI and HDMI cables only run $15-$25, so long as you don't let yourself get robbed by a Monster.

One question I have is what is the UDI licence fee? It does little good to give the HDMI fee and say that UDI is cheaper, I wouldn't think that $15k would be at all an issue to a display manufacturer. That fee is peanuts compared to other necessary investments.

It doesn't seem to solve the cable latching concern that some people have, neither connector seems to have any sort of positive latch or screw, unlike previous designs. Maybe that is a selling point there.
post #5 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin Hood
Copper...offers more than enough bandwidth (we don't need 100 gigabits to power a display, etc), and one of the main advantages of fibre: you can have very long cables, isn't really very relevant, because monitor cables are unlikely to be a mile long.

When dealing with bigger and BIGGER high definition screens, we're going to need all the bandwidth we can get. The one thing I liked about VGA (which was bad because it was analogue and the cables were fat and hated twisting to reach the screwy little port) was that it stood up for years and clearly had legs when it was first drawn up. I run a 1600x1200 monitor at 85hz on it, which is hardly cutting edge I know but was pretty unbelievable back when they came up with it in the first place, when 640x480 was HIGH res and the world worked at 60hz fixed!

What I'd really like in such a standard is:

1. cheap for all manufacturers to use and convert to
2. carries video and sound (when needed) so you don't need a second type for your tv
3. designed for a good 10+ years of future proofing like VGA so we don't have to switch every 5 years

Optical fibre would be cool for when you have a high performance machine (which is also a noisy hog) and want to use it via a huge display in another room. But I understand the costs and cord flexibility problems.
post #6 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by Robin Hood
(we don't need 100 gigabits to power a display, etc)




YET

post #7 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by AppleInsider
The UDI Special Interest Group, which includes Apple, Intel, LG, Samsung, NVIDIA and Foxconn among others, has said it plans to wrap up version 1.0 of the UDI specification in second quarter of 2006. It's assumed that both Macs and PCs will begin to adopt the interface soon thereafter.

And MS will not put support in Windows so computer makers won't add it, and the average joe won't get to use it. Apple on the other hand will release an update to Tiger to allow it to be used and each new Mac will come with it and soon after the DVI port will be removed.
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post #8 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by JeffDM
High bandwidth fiber is expensive and is pretty fussy, not to mention fragile. Relatively short 1000bFX cables are something like $80 each and the adapters are more expensive, and only helpful where RFI or long distance is an issue. Good DVI and HDMI cables only run $15-$25, so long as you don't let yourself get robbed by a Monster.

One question I have is what is the UDI licence fee? It does little good to give the HDMI fee and say that UDI is cheaper, I wouldn't think that $15k would be at all an issue to a display manufacturer. That fee is peanuts compared to other necessary investments.

It doesn't seem to solve the cable latching concern that some people have, neither connector seems to have any sort of positive latch or screw, unlike previous designs. Maybe that is a selling point there.

Yes, fiber boards are between $500 and $1,500. That cost won't drop significantly for some time. But, eventually, they will.

The cable manufacturers also have to pay that fee, as well as the license fees on each cable. It's one major reason why HDMI cables are so expensive.

As far as I know, there will be no license fee for UDI.

EDIT: I should expand upon the license issue, because I realised, after reading the post again that there are aspects to this that I should mention.

As I said (but in more detail), there will be no license fees for core protocol and interface IP. on a reciprocal basis, i.e. no one charging anyone in a cross licensing scheme. Some companies MIGHT find they need to pay some license fees.

BUT, if the UDI interface is used in conjuction with the HDMI standard, the HDMI fees will still be required. Also, the license for HDCP will be required for those devices that need the service.

I hope that helps.
post #9 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by wgauvin
And MS will not put support in Windows so computer makers won't add it, and the average joe won't get to use it. Apple on the other hand will release an update to Tiger to allow it to be used and each new Mac will come with it and soon after the DVI port will be removed.

How do you know that MS won't support this?

The specs are even supported by the HDMI Founders Assoc.

It would be hard for MS to reject it.

http://www.eet.com/news/latest/showA...leID=175007096
post #10 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
Yes, fiber boards are between $500 and $1,500. That cost won't drop significantly for some time. But, eventually, they will.

The cable manufacturers also have to pay that fee, as well as the license fees on each cable. It's one major reason why HDMI cables are so expensive.

As far as I know, there will be no license fee for UDI.

EDIT: I should expand upon the license issue, because I realised, after reading the post again that there are aspects to this that I should mention.

As I said (but in more detail), there will be no license fees for core protocol and interface IP. on a reciprocal basis, i.e. no one charging anyone in a cross licensing scheme. Some companies MIGHT find they need to pay some license fees.

BUT, if the UDI interface is used in conjuction with the HDMI standard, the HDMI fees will still be required. Also, the license for HDCP will be required for those devices that need the service.

I hope that helps.

But... the Mac mini has an optical out (for audio), and the ENTIRE computer is just $600.
post #11 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
How do you know that MS won't support this?

The specs are even supported by the HDMI Founders Assoc.

It would be hard for MS to reject it.

http://www.eet.com/news/latest/showA...leID=175007096

MS has a tendancy to say it will support a technology, and then randomly drop it. Like EFI, for example.
post #12 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ctachme
But... the Mac mini has an optical out (for audio), and the ENTIRE computer is just $600.

There's a bit of a difference.
post #13 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ctachme
MS has a tendancy to say it will support a technology, and then randomly drop it. Like EFI, for example.

MS isn't dropping EFI. They will be supporting it for 64 bits. They most likely believe, correctly, that there isn't going to be any demand for it on 32 bit machines. Therefore, there isn't any reason for them to spend the time and effort to get it into an OS that's already as delayed as this one is.
post #14 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by melgross
There's a bit of a difference.

Both are pushing bits via light. The difference is in bandwidth, that's all. And I know that's important, but it's not a funcional difference, just a numerical one.
post #15 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ctachme
Both are pushing bits via light. The difference is in bandwidth, that's all. And I know that's important, but it's not a funcional difference, just a numerical one.

That's one difference. Bandwidth is a major cost factor. It takes time for those costs to come down. The audio link is also a much simpler circuit.

Don't forget how Ethernet costs have dropped. 100MBit boards originally cost $1,000. So did 1GBit boards later. Now they cost less than $15 for a non brand name board.

My digital audio had the first "Superdrive". At the time, that 2x speed drive cost over $1,000 as an OEM internal drive. Now 16x drives cost $40 as OEM models.

New technology always costs more in the beginning. It takes time for the technology, and popularity to bring those costs down. sometimes it can take just a couple of years, and sometimes it can take a better part of a decade.

Don't forget that optical inputs and outputs were expensive when they first arrived. They were only seen on professional and hi end equipment. Now the circuits cost but a few cents.
post #16 of 18
There's exactly one reason for this new "standard": DRM. Not coming to a computer near me.
post #17 of 18
They already had HDMI for DRM, and DVI for that matter.
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post #18 of 18
Quote:
Originally posted by ctachme
But... the Mac mini has an optical out (for audio), and the ENTIRE computer is just $600.

Saying light is light is like saying electricity is electricity. It oversimplifies things to the point of disservice.

Optical audio out is 1.5Mbps, which is three orders of magnitude slower than gigabit fiber. The higher the bandwidth, the fussier the cable needs to be, optical audio can generally use a $5 piece of plastic, optical ethernet needs glass. The transmitters and recievers are also significantly more expensive when you need higher bandwidth. Like increasing clock frequency isn't necessarily a trivial thing, a transmitter capable of blinking 1.5 million times a second is a lot easier to make than one that transmits billions of times a second. Even gigabit is too slow for high resolution video.
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