VGA, DVI display interfaces to bow out in five years

HDMI and DisplayPort will take over in laptops, tablets and consumer electronics

Legacy VGA (Video Graphics Array) and DVI (digital-visual interface) display ports will likely no longer be used in PCs over the next five years as newer interfaces gain in popularity, NPD In-Stat said in a study released on Thursday.

New laptops today come with the thinner HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface) and DisplayPort to connect high-definition TVs, monitors or projectors. Those interfaces have made significant inroads in recent years, with growing support for them from PC makers and consumer electronics companies, said Brian O'Rourke, research director at NPD In-Stat.

Intel and Advanced Micro Devices are phasing out chipset support for VGA by 2015, which could discourage PC makers from adding VGA ports. PC makers would need to add a separate chipset on the motherboard for VGA connectors, which could add to the cost of making a PC, O'Rourke said. Advanced Micro Devices has announced it would phase out chipset support for DVI by 2015.

The VGA and DVI interfaces, introduced in 1986 and 1999, respectively, had no clear upgrade paths, O'Rourke said. The DVI interface was developed and went through one minor upgrade cycle, but its road has now ended, O'Rourke said. HDMI and DisplayPort are being continuously upgraded and will replace the older interfaces going forward, especially as PCs, tablets and smartphones get thinner.

Some business laptops like Lenovo's ThinkPad X220 come with DisplayPort, but lack an HDMI port. By comparison, consumer laptops, tablets, TVs and Blu-ray players come with HDMI ports.

Though DisplayPort and HDMI are different in nature and compete at a certain level, both can coexist and make significant strides in different market segments, O'Rourke said. DisplayPort is a digital, packet-based technology, making it a fit for PCs. HDMI is a mixed-signal, streaming technology, making it less optimal for PCs and more for consumer electronics, he said.

Adapters are available to connect VGA monitors to laptops that have HDMI or DisplayPort.

NPD In-Stat is forecasting shipments of devices with DVI, HDMI and DisplayPort to pass 2 billion by 2015.

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