DisplayPort: Improvement or Inconvenience?
If only hardcore enthusiasts and graphics professionals are getting near HDMI Type A’s limitations; and if Type B is waiting in the wings: what is the point of DisplayPort? After all, it is only slightly faster than HDMI A. That depends on if you are making, or selling, computer equipment.
DisplayPort’s supporters, including chipset designers (AMD,Intel) and equipment manufacturers (Dell, HP, Lenovo, Apple, and so on), have at least one obvious reason to prefer it to HDMI. HDMI costs 10 grand a year, plus 4 cents a unit, in royalties. That may not sound like a lot, but why pay money they don’t have to?
DisplayPort is free. Manufacturers don’t have to fork over royalties. But if costs are passed on to consumers any way: isn’t this cost reduction good for us too? That depends on how big the cost reduction ends up being. Adding a port costs more than the licensing fee: it has to be designed in, parts need to be made or purchased, and manufacturing time is spent installing them. The relative newness of DisplayPort electronics, alone, makes them more expensive then HDMI parts. The consumer won’t see his 4 cents anytime soon.
Why would these companies do something that increases their costs? Even if they pass the costs on to customers, won’t they sell fewer units and be less competitive? That is true, but, there is a big difference between cutting a check for royalties to another firm,and using resources you already have. It might be worth loosing a few sales if the alternative is getting rid of unused people, equipment, and space. Take into account the costs of severance, transactions, and selling into a down market; then having to pay to get everything back.