DISPLAYLINK, THE COMPANY behind the fairly successful USB display controllers, is working on delivering chips with support for USB 3.0 and will be demoing it all at CES. It’s unlikely that we’ll see any retail products before the end of next year, but the chips will of course be available much sooner for DisplayLink’s partners to allow them to design new products and solutions.
Currently DisplayLink’s most advanced USB 2.0 solution maxes out at 2048×1152 pixels. Although this is unlikely to be a problem for most users, the current solution isn’t great for HD video and this is something that DisplayLink’s executive vice president Dennis Crespo claims that USB 3.0 will solve. Amusingly, Crepso also claims that USB 3.0 will make DisplayLink devices “faster than any video peripheral for PCs today”, which is highly unlikely.
DisplayLink adapters are a great option for notebook users who want a third or even fourth display attached to their notebook, but with most modern notebooks featuring both a D-sub and an HDMI port, the need for a USB display adapter isn’t as high as it once might’ve been. DisplayLink’s technology has also been fitted directly to a few monitors from Samsung, but hasn’t proven to be a huge hit with consumers or corporate users.
DisplayLink might not have any direct competitors, but it’s not a company that the established graphics chip makers have to worry about either, as the products are vastly different. Despite DisplayLink’s intentions of trying to compete with DisplayPort and HDMI as the next-gen de facto display interface, the company decided to pull out of this battle. However, DisplayLink are getting a lot of requests for a USB to HDMI adapter from their customers. This makes sense for some older and cheaper devices, especially netbooks that people want to connect up to HDMI equipped HD TV’s.
In the long run we doubt that USB 3.0 is going to give DisplayLink any huge advantages except for more bandwidth that will allow support for higher resolution displays and improved performance for certain tasks such as HD video playback. However, DisplayLink’s solutions will never be good enough for those working with 3D or playing games, but then again, that was never the intended target market. At least we can chalk up one additional use of USB 3.0 thanks to DisplayLink, which makes the total two, with the other usage being storage devices. That said, we’re still waiting for the first slew of notebooks with USB 3.0 support, which hopefully will also be demoed at CSE.S|A
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