How Thunderbolt™ 2 enables 4k video resolution

Note - Originally posted by Jacob Ontiveros on Analog Wire here..

1080p video screen resolution is in almost every home, and like technology does these days, it’s quickly evolving to the next step: 4k video. This presents many challenges for our designer friends, especially in content creation. With the high bandwidth of 4k video, it can be a daunting task to capture, edit and view using many current interface technologies. These current interfaces don’t streamline the content creation process, making future native 4k programming availability difficult.  For 4k resolution at 60Hz, about 12Gbps of bandwidth is needed for clear and glitch-free video.

ThunderboltTM technology was the first to combine video and data on a single link, making it the fastest way to transfer data between a PC and peripheral and display devices. Thunderbolt started with two bi-directional channels of 10Gbps for PCIe data and DisplayPort video. Released last year, ThunderboltTM 2 aggregates the two channels to get a bi-directional 20Gbps link, giving you double the bandwidth for your peripherals. All of the functionality in the first generation of Thunderbolt is preserved including the ability to daisy chain and provide 10W of power delivery.

Now, Thunderbolt 2 also allows you to take advantage of the 20Gbps link to simultaneously display and edit 4k video – enabling the bandwidth you need to stream video fast, clear and glitch-free. A typical workflow would be able to transmit 4k video data and still have roughly 8Gbps of write bandwidth left! The full-read bandwidth would still be available to pull data from a high-performance storage device at the same time.

The bulk of the physical of layer remains the same, allowing backward compatibility with existing Thunderbolt devices. All of our TI Thunderbolt devices are compatible with the latest Thunderbolt 2 technology. With improved features such as tighter current limiting and lower switch resistance, TI’s second generation TPS22981 host/peripheral power mux is certified and recommended for ThunderboltTM 2. The TPS22986, second generation ThunderboltTM cable power mux, reduces system complexity with certification for the latest Thunderbolt cable designs.  TI’s HD3SS0001 source selection switch for DisplayPort data and Thunderbolt is optimized for latest Thunderbolt controllers and allows for a more simple design. The DS100TB211 CDR also allows for simpler cable designs by reducing board fabrication complexity while maintaining signal integrity.

 TI is at the forefront for supporting Thunderbolt 2 technology, providing optimized solutions. Thunderbolt 2 is opening doors to many exciting applications such as 4k workflows and many other high bandwidth applications.

 For more information please check out Thunderbolt page, and be sure to visit us at in booth N4536 at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) show, April 5-10 in Las Vegas.

Additional resources:

Thunderbolt guide

Get design support on TI E2E™ community

What you should know about Thunderbolt?

TI introduces industry's first family of ICs designed to support Thunderbolt Technology