With the continuous iteration of computer and related technologies, we are often faced with many challenges of new standards. Whether to choose new standards or continue to use existing standards is absolutely a choice problem for ordinary users and consumers. For example, usb-c is now competing with HDMI and other ports on modern computers and game monitors. Here, we will explain why this happens, and what are the ultimate advantages and disadvantages for users and consumers in the long run.
The first thing to understand about the rise of usb-c monitor is that strictly speaking, usb-c is only the specification of port physical interface, which is separate from the technology of cable transmission to port. The cable connecting to the usb-c port usually uses USB technology, but it’s not always the case, especially in terms of video and display (USB is not very good).
The usb-c port can accept cables that transmit a variety of audio and display protocols, including thunderbolt, DisplayPort, and HDMI (though much less common than the first two). This is one of the key reasons why manufacturers prefer to install usb-c interface on the monitor instead of HDMI interface: usb-c interface is more versatile.
Of course, there are other reasons: the usb-c port is smaller than the HDMI port, so it takes up less space (though it’s more important on laptops than monitors). At the same time, usb-c is not fussy about how to insert the cable, which is impossible for HDMI (imagine when you try to insert the cable from the back of the monitor), which is absolutely a key consideration. Moreover, the usb-c cable works better over long distances.
In addition, there are some additional benefits. In addition to video and audio, these video technologies with usb-c plug can also support some kind of USB transmission. One possible application, for example, is to feed input from the touch screen back to the laptop from the connected display. The usb-c cable on the monitor can also be used to charge devices and transfer data, making them effective usb-c hubs.
In fact, all these advantages of usb-c standard: versatility, compactness, ease of use – all mean that they are now very common on laptops, especially those ultra light and ultra-thin ones. This in turn drives applications in displays, as manufacturers want to cater to and capture the largest share of the market.
The modern macbooks provide the video output of thunderbolt 3 through usb-c, while the recently launched surface hardware outputs DisplayPort 1.4 through usb-c. By contrast, keeping a full-size HDMI port on a laptop will only increase its size.
Although the rise of usb-c video provides us with more choices, it also brings us more confusion. When you’re choosing a usb-c monitor, or trying to choose between usb-c and HDMI, here’s a piece of advice: there are all kinds of confusing combinations, so you need to do some research. Start with your source device (probably your laptop), figure out exactly how it outputs video, and then start there.
The main reason for confusion is that not all usb-c ports are the same: just because the ports are usb-c-shaped does not guarantee all functions. Not every usb-c port can charge your device and provide video output (or video input). It all depends on the choice of the manufacturer.
This also applies to cables, by the way. The usb-c cable, which can charge the mobile phone, does not necessarily get the video from the laptop and then put it on the large screen display. So when you go through the product list, you really need to figure that out.
In other words, just because a laptop has a usb-c port that provides video output doesn’t mean you can connect it directly to a usb-c monitor. Google pixelbook is a good example. You can use usb-c to connect a second monitor, but you need to add an adapter somewhere on the cable.
When you browse laptops, cables, and monitors, look for alt mode. This allows usb-c connections to support more than USB (including thunderbolt and DisplayPort audio and video transmission). If supported, you can connect your computer and monitor directly with usb-c cable. If not, you will need an adapter.
Of course, HDMI has some problems in version, cable and implementation, but usb-c is difficult to surpass it in complexity. Therefore, HDMI interface standard will not disappear from monitor (or TV) soon, because there are too many video console, Blu ray player and cable TV box. However, HDMI will become more scarce on laptops as manufacturers want to save space (and know that usb-c dongles and hubs are widely available to users).
Unfortunately, a standard that initially provided a more direct and convenient way to connect and charge devices has become so complex in capturing video from one place to another. But we hope that as old devices are phased out, usb-c will become more common and clearer. But now, please remember that the “friendly” usb-c port on a laptop or monitor may have different functions, and you need to study it carefully.