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Friday, March 10, 2006, 10:00 am PT (01:00 pm ET)

Next-generation UDI display interface spotted at IDF

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

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.