Does DisplayPort Carry Audio or Not?

Your DisplayPort Guide: Does DisplayPort Carry Audio or Not

DisplayPort or DP is an audio-visual or AV display standard or digital display interface developed back in 2006 by a consortium of chip and PC manufacturers including Sony, Philips, Lattice, and Maxell. It remains under the control of the Video Electronics Standards Association or VESA. It never overcame the ubiquitous High Definition Multimedia Interface or HDMI from 2002 in terms of popularity, but it remains a high-def competitor nonetheless.

So does DisplayPort carry audio? Simply put, yes. It’s not like VGA or DVI that needs a separate audio cable and port. To be more specific, it supports many advanced audio features that HDMI supports like LPCM, Dolby TrueHD, and DTS-HD Master Audio formats as well as multi-channel audio. HDMI audio, in turn, can also be supported by DisplayPort as long as you have an accompanying DP to HDMI adapter available.

Frequently Asked Questions Regarding DisplayPort

Here are more things about DP that consumers are regularly asking about aside from its audio capabilities.

  • Who Owns and Develops DisplayPort Standards? VESA—the one controlling the DP standard—is a large consortium of manufacturers ranging from the ZIPS Corporation to AMD. They made DP as part of the new AV interface generation developed by the display industry segment or GPU. It continues to gain market momentum for more than a decade too. VESA developed DP to offer versatility, robustness, and display performance for your next-gen HD devices with high degree system integration as well as greater interoperability among a variety of device types available.


  • Can DisplayPort Support 3D Stereo? Yes. DP includes protocol support for transmitting right and left eye display data. Since DP 1.4a, the format supported 4K stereo at 120 Hz frame rate as well as full 24-bit 4:4:4 color to boot. Stereoscopic 3D is the kind of tech used so that if you have the right display with you, you can see a video or a 3D virtual environment in full three-dimensional views by making one eye see different angles, thus the resulting display seems fuller, deeper, or more solid than watching an ordinary flat display or view.


  • What’s the Current Version of DP and What Are Its Important Features? DisplayPort 2.0 was published in June 2019. DP 2.0 redefines how component and system design for AV connections must be done in today’s HD landscape by establishing the new normative requirement required for this paradigm shift to come through. For example, DP 2.0 enables your HD source to get a 3-times increase in video bandwidth performance with a 77.37 Gbps max payload. It also allows for a 20 Gbps/lane maximum link rate as well as a more efficient 128b/132b channel coding, which delivers the high payload.

It’s also the first standard capable of 8K resolution support for 7680 x 4320 at a refresh rate of 60 Hz with full-color 4:4:4 resolution. It even includes for HDR-10 support 30 bits per pixel or bpp. Additionally, it can deal with beyond 8K resolutions as well in the future, including configurations like two 4K (3840×2160) displays at 90 Hz and 30 bpp 4:4::4 HDR with no compression,  two 8K (7680 by 4320) displays at 120 Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR with DSC, and one 16K (15360×8460) display at 60 Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR with DSC. It can even do three 10K (10240 x 4320) displays at 60 Hz and 30 bpp 4:4:4 HDR with DSC for good measure!


  • Which Types of Products Support DisplayPort? Originally developed as the new standard for next-generation PC display interfaces, DP is currently available for a variety of devices such as desktops, laptops or notebooks, and tablets as well as various monitors and television sets. It’s specifically the quality display format of choice for many digital televisions, including 4K TVs, as the display input to have. It certainly helps that it was developed late in 2006 so that it caters only to the latest HD tech compared to HDMI from 2002. However, HDMI focused more on TVs, thus giving it more of an edge in terms of mass appeal.


  • What Are The Benefits of Going The DisplayPort Route? DP is the format to have because of its myriad of direct and indirect user benefits. It has higher availability for display adapters when dealing with legacy display types like VGA. It also has higher display capability as the relatively new kid on the display format block. Home entertainment system enthusiasts love it for its ability to connect to multiple displays on a single video output without needing special splitters and switches to make everything work due to it being developed for desktop PCs that’s all about switching and swapping different hardware together anyway.


  • How is DisplayPort Different from HDMI? HDMI (2002) came along sooner than DP (2006). They’re also quite different in the way the produce high-definition displays and robust sounds because they began with different goals and product focuses. For a whole decade, HDMI served as the de-facto standard for home entertainment systems, making it widely available as the AV interface of choice for HDTVs. There are PCs and monitors that include HDMI as well to enable HDTV connectivity as well as links to other consumer electronics.

With that said, even though DP is the newer standard made to support the higher performance requirements of PCs, this works to its advantage as more time passes by. It also uses existing features from today’s computer systems in terms of signal and protocol technology. This enables DP to increase its integration and performance capabilities. It utilizes common signaling tech for data communications and packet data structures through a common connector, allowing it to be combined with other standards like Thunderbolt and USB with minimal adapter requirements.

How is DisplayPort Different from HDMI
Image Credit: By Filmar


  • How Can You Use Your Display or TV with a New Computer with a DP Output? DP has the one-of-a-kind ability to support external display adapters reminiscent of custom-built PCs that can be bundled with practically any monitor type. DP sources can be made readily available for VGA, DVI, and HDMI displays with inexpensive ubiquitous adapters. The adapters allow it to compete with the HDMI standard, such that DP displays can be used with HDMI source devices and HDMI displays can be used with DP source devices. This easy adapter compatibility also comes in handy with audio adapters as well.


  • Does DisplayPort Include Content Protection Capability: Part of the reason why manufacturers went full-tilt with the HDMI format is because of it content protection that discourages pirates from easily recording and pirating digital content over HDMI connections and cables. Naturally, like with HDMI and DVI, DP supports content protection under High-Bandwidth Digital Copy Protection or HDCP. DP 1.4a specifically supports the latest HDCP 2.2 version of high-quality anti-piracy content protection currently standardized for all high-def audio-visual content in the 21st Century.


  • How Many Types of DisplayPort Cables and Connectors Are There? There’s only one type of DP cable versus HDMI cables releasing different types for automobiles and standard generic cables. The current version of DP cable delivers enough bandwidth for video resolutions of up to 3840 x 2160 pixels at a 60 Hz refresh or frame rate. Additionally, all common 3D video formats are supported by these cables. On top of it all, DP also carries multi-channel digital audio so you really feel like you’re in the thick of it when watching a superhero movie or playing an FPS. The use of one cable type minimizes confusion and maximizes easy cable purchases.

Alas, DP can’t carry Ethernet data as HDMI cables could. If you want Ethernet, get an adapter for it. What’s more, the standard cable lacks an audio return channel to boot. As for cable connectors, you have the DP standard and mini. Their names are rather self-explanatory, really. Standard cables can connect to standard DP sources and display while mini connectors are for mobile devices. A DP cable can connect a DP source to a VGA display with the addition of a simple adapter. This is particularly handy for connecting an old VGA projector as well as a single-link DVI or HDMI display to your DP laptop.

The Bottom Line

DP wasn’t necessarily created to supplant HDMI in 2006 (which means HDMI has only been out for 4 years since 2002) but instead developed to make obsolete the standard-bearer of the time, Video Graphics Array or VGA, the analog interface standard that’s been around since 1987. It was also competing with Digital Video Interface or DVI, which was introduced back in 1999 and was also intended to be the successor to VGA. DP, for your information, is a royalty-free product.

One of the ways DP was developed to be better than VGA was its ability to carry an audio signal on the same cable and port, just like HDMI. It covers all the high-fidelity, multi-channel digital sound currently included in Triple-A videogame titles and Blu-Ray releases for movies so that your home entertainment system gives you the whole package in quality picture and sound.

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