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Apple among tech leaders developing next PC to HDTV interface

Apple Computer is among a group of Leading PC and consumer electronics companies that announced on Tuesday they are working to develop a specification, referred to as the unified display interface (UDI), that is intended to serve as the next-generation standard for connectivity between PCs and consumer electronics devices like HDTVs.

"UDI 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," the group said in a statement.

The UDI specification 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, host platforms 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.

For end users, UDI will provide a universal video connection from the computer host to the display, including PC and notebook monitors, HDTVs and projectors. For PC and monitor makers, UDI will offer easy integration with both discrete and integrated graphics controllers, letting manufacturers build computer platforms and all-digital LCD monitors that are lower in cost, easier to use and higher in bandwidth.

Other members of the group UDI specification group — dubbed the UDI Special Interest Group (or UDI SIG) — involved in the ongoing development and refinement of the specification include Intel Corp., LG Electronics, National Semiconductor Corp., Samsung Electronics and Silicon Image Inc. Joining the SIG as contributors are graphics chip maker NVIDIA Corp., semiconductor manufacturer THine Electronics Inc., and cable and connector makers FCI, Foxconn Electronics Inc. and JAE Electronics Inc.

The group is currently seeking more industry participants to help validate and refine the display interface specification, which is currently in revision 0.8. The UDI SIG expects to have the version 1.0 specification completed in the second quarter of 2006.