Widgets Magazine

4K Format Wars Just Became Connector Wars

Just a few short weeks ago DirecTV announced that it would begin to support 4K to their set top boxes. (You can see my write up of that announcement and my concerns over the how here.) Shortly thereafter DirecTV also announced that they had launched one satellite, with a second to follow, whose sole purpose will be to support their ability to get 4K to their customers.
My biggest concern at the time of this announcement was that the only displays that could be used with the DirecTV to show the non-live 4K content coming from your set top box would be a particular series from Samsung. Well, earlier this week at the International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) it was announced that later in 2015 LG will also be supporting the proprietary network connection.
In addition to these developments for DirecTV customers, Dish Network also introduced a 4K set top box product offering. The key difference was how it was going to connect to the 4K display in your home. As opposed to using a network port, the DirecTV Joey will be relying on HDMI 2.0. This means that your display will have to support the HDMI 2.0 input, which seems extremely likely with the direction of consumer displays. But that wasn,Aeot the only interesting fact about the Joey as it was also announced that it would support HDCP 2.2. As has been written about here on AVNation, HDCP 2.2 is not backwards compatible and is the future of media content protection. This means that in just a few short years if your media player and display are both not HDCP 2.2 compliant, then you might be hard pressed to find new content that will work with your gear.
So while the network connection, HDMI 2.0, and DisplayPort connections are battling it out for which will be the future of high bandwidth content transmission from extender to display, a new player stepped up with SuperMHL, the next generation of Mobile High-Definition Link. The consortium supporting the MHL format (Samsung, Sony, Toshiba, Nokia, and Silicon Image) have put together this new protocol with higher bandwidth capacity than either HDMI 2.0 or DisplayPort 1.3 over USB.
This gives us four possible options for how to make that last mile connection from content to display and could begin to alleviate the concerns of many AV professionals as we look at the high demands 4K,Aeos bandwidth will have as it taxes our infrastructure and resources; assuming, of course, that the costs start to decrease to the end users as well.

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