The future of USB-C is looking bright, especially for monitors. The display technologies have already made a huge jump over the last 20 years, moving from CRT to flatscreen devices. And the significant increase in resolution and color depth led to the astonishing image quality and versatility we know today. Let’s take a look at what to expect in the upcoming years and discover why USB-C is now the name of the game.
Read on to learn more about the USB-C Monitor Technology or visit ViewSonic’s website to find a USB-C Monitor tailored to your needs.
The future of USB-C is assured as this one-cable solution meets two most important user needs: impressive data speeds and built-in power capacity. It’s a huge gamechanger for monitors as other USB standards couldn’t power standalone displays before. Plus, it’s only recently that USB has enabled data transfers required by ultra-high-res devices. Finally, the users also appreciate the universal form of the connector which allows various devices to use it out of the box without extra configuration. USB-C has already stormed the market and will only continue to show its incredible value in workplace, home office, and EdTech environments.
The Present and Future of USB-C
USB, or Universal Serial Bus, is a standard defined by the USB Implementers Forum. It provides a single specification for peripheral devices to connect to hosts. This covers hardware factors like cables and connectors as well communication and connection protocols. Over the years, previous iterations of USB were already beating rivals with their versatility and increasing speeds. It is with the advent of USB-C, however, that charging and data connection have become a reality for a much more comprehensive range of devices.
USB-C now allows 100W, 20V connections. That’s enough to power laptops and larger peripherals like monitors, which previously required standalone power supplies. This is a major step forward for monitor connections, allowing external displays to be driven through a single bi-directional cable. Many modern laptops now feature only USB-C ports, even for their AC adapters.
If you’re still not impressed, you might want to hear what European Union did. Seeing the connector’s true future potential, the European Commission has proposed USB-C to be the standard charging port for all electronic devices. Having one cable for your smartphone, tablet or a portable speakers is not only big relief but also a mean to hugely reduce e-waste. EU’s proposal paves the way to standardizing cabling solutions and hopefully more countries will follow this example.
Speed limits are no longer an issue
USB-C also supports the latest USB speed standards. Already well established, USB 3.1 and 3.2 offer considerable improvements in data transfer rates, with 10 and 20 gigabits per second, respectively. These are enough to enable impressive displays. For example, USB 3.2 can drive 4k resolution at 16-bit color depth and 60 frames per second. In addition, USB-C cables are the only USB hardware specification capable of supporting 3.2.
Still, USB-C doesn’t stop here. It already supports USB4 data communication and offers compatibility with Thunderbolt 3 and compliance with Thunderbolt 4, all important technologies for the future. What’s more, USB-C features several Alternate Modes, giving it great future versatility as other technologies develop alongside it.
The Future of USB-C Monitors
Since we started using computers, the quality of displays has been an issue. A major breakthrough happened when we moved from analog CRT screens to flatscreen displays, using LCD, LED, and plasma technologies. This shift brought much larger screens to everyday spaces and was necessary to develop laptop computers.
The resolution of these devices has expanded massively, from 640 × 400-pixel screens of the early 1990s through to the standard for contemporary ultra-high-resolution displays of 4k, offering 3840 x 2160 pixels, which is by no means the limit.
The technology already exists for 5k and 8k screens, the latter offering an extraordinary 7680 × 4320 pixels. Hardware with these capacities is still relatively scarce, but we can be sure that the near future will offer such high-quality screens better.
Of course, these devices will not function without adequate support from host devices and cabling. HDMI, DisplayPort, and Thunderbolt can deliver the necessary data speeds for the next generation of monitors. And USB-C adds to this list with increased versatility and better power capacities.
The Benefits of High-Resolution Monitors
In digital productive activity, there never seems to be enough screen space. Especially when it comes to visually intensive activities like graphic design, architecture, or 3D modeling. Being able to get more material on screen at once is a great boon. For other users of complex software with many controls, it’s just as important. Digital music producers, for example, like to work with a full mixing desk, a rack of different synths, and multiple control windows. That’s a big ask of screen space.
Video playback is a big beneficiary of high-res monitors. Home cinema users are constantly looking for ways to get closer to the real cinema experience. Huge high-res screens offering crisp, clean picture reproduction are probably the most important part of this. Even for less demanding users, the benefits of high-res are significant. Cleaner lines, better colors, and less jagged edges bring digital representation that is closer to reality.
Finally, business and educational presentations are greatly improved by high resolution. The extra screen real estate allows cleaner images to get across concepts and plans without distraction. The more accuracy and precision, the better for the screen interaction.
What are the Technologies to Look Out for in the Future?
USB-C specification has been produced with future compatibility in mind, so there’s no doubt it will be a vital player in display developments for the time to come. Some compatible technologies are already here, just waiting for broader adoption.
For example, the USB4 specification was finalized in August 2019 and is only compatible with USB-C. USB itself is only a standard. It depends on manufacturers to adopt it and produce compliant hardware, and that doesn’t happen overnight. However, we can already see the first USB4-enabled devices. Apple’s latest MacBooks and Mac Minis are among these and so are the latest Intel “Tiger Lake” powered devices. More compatible external storage devices and USB docks are appearing, too.
Future-facing Data Transfers Speeds
USB-C and USB4 together mark a significant data rate improvement over previous USB standards, with up to 40 gigabytes per second. That’s enough to power those 8k monitors that are only just appearing on the horizon. Of course, if USB4 cabling is connected to older USB standards it will work according to existing older speeds.
Another developing technology, Thunderbolt is fully compatible with USB-C and USB4 in its latest iterations. Thunderbolt 4 is the same as USB4, so there has been a significant harmonization of standards here. USB-C also supports Thunderbolt 3, but the data capacity here is sufficient to drive 4k displays (compared to 8k for USB-C/USB4 and Thunderbolt 4).
The future of USB-C monitors looks promising as more impressive improvements are coming our way. You can clearly tell it’s the USB-C driving the change. Stay tuned, we are likely to see these technologies become increasingly prevalent in the coming years, and their versatility will only strengthen the position of USB-C.