DisplayPort 1.2 adds active cable support: brings longer cords, more logos

It's been a while since we've heard anything from the VESA folks, so it was a pleasant surprise when the organization hit our inbox with a bit of PR announcing an update to the DisplayPort 1.2 standard. New active cables being introduced will allow video connections to stretch up 100 feet -- five times that of the old-school, passive variety -- and use thinner gauge wire for more flexible cords. The one kink is that the cables are directional, though, a new logo (above) should help minimize confusion over which end gets jacked into the source and which feeds your TV. Not that we're complaining about longer, thinner cables but, it sure would be nice if we could cover those 33 meters without making our apartment look like a data center - how's that wireless DisplayPort coming along?

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VESA Expands DisplayPort Standard to Support Active Cables

Organization Sets New industry Benchmark for Design Flexibility of Video Installations

Newark, Calif., June 22, 2011 – The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) today announced an extension of its DisplayPort version 1.2 specification to support DisplayPort active cables. DisplayPort active cables can be as much as 5x in length compared to passive cables, providing video systems integrators and home users the ultimate flexibility for designing next-generation home theaters, digital signage and high-definition display configurations. Design specifications are immediately available from VESA for organizations seeking to develop DisplayPort active cables.

Active cables boost and equalize the attenuated DisplayPort signal, allowing cables to reach unprecedented lengths and enabling the use of thinner wire gauges when compared to normal passive cables. The configurations of home theaters and digital signage installations have historically been limited by the display cables connecting the devices. For high-definition display placement, the limits imposed by passive cables meant that short distances were needed to avoid compromised image quality. With the addition of active cables to the DisplayPort specification, cables lengths of more than 100 feet (33 meters) are possible, greatly increasing configuration flexibility in cable routing and equipment placement.

To support organizations considering the development of DisplayPort active cables, VESA has provided guidance on the electrical characteristics needed to ensure interoperability with other DisplayPort products within the DisplayPort 1.2 specification. Additionally, the Association has outlined compliance requirements within VESA's PHY Compliance and Test Specification version 1.2, enabling DisplayPort active cables to be added to the VESA Certification and Logo programs.

Because active cables are directional and require each end to be connected to appropriate devices, VESA has developed a new DisplayPort active cable logo to assist cable users in identifying the source and sink ends of the cable. This new logo will appear on the active cable, as well as product packaging and promotional material, simplifying their use and identification for consumers and developers of all expertise levels.

"Active cables are an important connectivity option for DisplayPort users" said Gourgen Oganessyan, vice-chair of the VESA Marketing Task Group and staff product marketing engineer at Intersil Corporation. "Active cables are increasingly being used in market segments ranging from industrial display and digital signage, to the home office. Through detailed compliance and test specifications, as well as our logo programs, VESA will ensure robust and consistent quality of these interconnects in the marketplace, and interoperability with a wide variety of DisplayPort-enabled products."

For more information about DisplayPort, or the specification, please visit For more information about VESA, please visit or find us on Facebook at

About VESA

The Video Electronics Standards Association (VESA) is an international, non-profit standards organization, representing a global network of hardware, software, PC, display and component manufacturers committed to developing and promoting the electronics industry. VESA's established track record of creating and supporting simple, universal and cross-product solutions for today's video and electronics industry, such as DisplayPort, provides consumers with the confidence necessary to explore new technology standards such as multi-monitor streaming, direct drive capability and full HD 3D support without confusion or difficulty. For more information about VESA visit

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