Apple, Inc. announced the development of the Mini DisplayPort in 2008. This port delivers the expanded resolution of the Apple LED Cinema Display. The smaller physical size of the display port was required for notebook computers since they continue to get slimmer. However, this new display port has had certain compatibility issues.
Attaching displays to the port – Since the cables used for various types of external displays cannot connect directly to a Mini DisplayPort, an adapter is required. Most adapters perform two functions. One end of the adapter plugs into the Mini DisplayPort and the other end allows a display cable to be inserted. Some adapters also convert the signal from the computer into the type of signal required for the external display.
Some users have discovered that they have to wiggle the display cable that plugs into the adapter for it to get a dependable connection. Other users have had to cut some excess material on the display cable end for it to fit into the adapter properly.
Common compatibility issues – Apple reportedly had to revise its firmware for the Mini DisplayPort to VGA adapter in 2009 to resolve intermittent flickering and compatibility issues.
The older 2009 line of MacBooks and MacBook Pros do not provide an audio signal to the Mini DisplayPort. This audio signal is provided only over USB, FireWire, or the audio line out ports. Users of these computers have to purchase third party dual head or triple head adapters to provide the proper signal to the external display unit.
Mac computers without the Mini DisplayPort can display Digital Rights Management (DRM) encrypted content. However, Mac computers with the Mini DisplayPort have trouble displaying certain DRM encrypted content.
Some users of the Dual-Link DVI or VGA adapters supplied by Apple have trouble connecting an external display to these adapters. In addition, when displays are connected to these adapters they may not operate properly or may not wake up from sleep.
The Apple Support Communities have discussed Mini DisplayPort issues with the HDMI standard. As of October of 2012, Apple had yet to make an official statement concerning this problem.
The Thunderbolt port – This new port was announced by Apple and Intel in February of 2011. Apparently, part of the reason this Thunderbolt port was developed was to resolve some of the continuing compatibility issues with the Mini DisplayPort. This new port has the same physical appearance as the Mini DisplayPort. However, it has a thunderbolt symbol next to the port to differentiate it from the older type of port.
Michael Alvarez,has been working in the electronics and technology field for over 20 years. He enjoys sharing his knowledge and expertise of Mini Displayport with others; while continuing to grow his knowledge.