Feature list surfaces for USB Type 3 protocol, cables to carry audio, video, power

Posted by:
Date: Tuesday, September 23rd, 2014, 10:16
Category: Hardware, News

There’s a lot to be said for a reversible cable.

And if it carries different kinds of data, that’s even better.

Per Macworld, industry groups VESA and the USB 3.0 Promoter Group outlined some of the specs of the upcoming, reversible Type-C USB cable. The cable, which is said to offer USB 3.1’s 10Gbps of data transfer speed, will also carry up to 100 watts of power and be able to deliver audio and video signals via DisplayPort technology.

usbtype3cables

These features come courtesy of the “Alternate Mode” technology introduced in the recent USB Power Delivery specification—the one that enables 100W power delivery. Alternate Mode essentially lets Type-C be used for more than mere data transfer by allowing “Structured Vendor Defined Messages” to repurpose the pins in the cable for alternative uses. VESA’s “DisplayPort Alternate Mode” announced today leverages those capabilities.


For the techies out there:

“By leveraging USB Type-C’s flexibility, the DisplayPort Alt Mode can choose to transmit on just one or two of the four available [signal] lanes, so that the other two lanes can be used for SuperSpeed USB data at the same time. In a docking station connection, for example, the use of two lanes for DisplayPort at 8.1 Gbps per lane would allow simultaneous transfer of SuperSpeed USB data (up to 10 Gbps in each direction) while also supporting a 4K UHD (3840 x 2160) DisplayPort monitor.

The dock can also be configured with DisplayPort protocol converters to support HDMI, VGA and/or DVI monitors. When using all four lanes for DisplayPort Alt Mode, which could drive a monitor with up to 5K (5120 x 2880) resolution, USB 2.0 data can still be carried across the USB Type-C connection using separate pins dedicated for that function.”

Type-C-to-DisplayPort adapters will be made available so that the new Type-C cords can still connect to your DisplayPort-equipped gear.

When will we see the first of these reversible wonder cables? Type-C USB cables are ready for production now, though it will likely be several months before compatible electronics become commonplace.

Stay tuned for additional details as they become available.

Recent Posts

Comments are closed.