VESA introduced the first Display Stream Compression (DSC) standard in 2014 and it quickly became the industry standard for data compression across the display interface. DSC was the first to offer a low latency, low complexity codec expressly designed for this purpose. DSC 1.1 has been incorporated into the VESA Embedded DisplayPort (eDP) and MIPI® DSI embedded mobile interface standards, and DSC 1.2a into the DisplayPort and HDMI® external video interface standards. The latest VESA Display Compression-M (VDC-M) standard has also been adopted into the MIPI DSI standard.

For mobile applications, DSC 1.1 and VDC-M mainly serve to reduce the video interface data rate, which reduces system power, prolongs battery life, and reduces interconnects to enable sleeker designs. For external display interfaces, DSC 1.2a extends resolution across existing connectors and cables, enabling 8K video and legacy support from the same connection.

The VESA Display Compression Codecs are designed to work with a wide variety of displays in a wide variety of use cases. They provide efficient compression and visually lossless quality for consumer and professional products. They work seamlessly with today’s wide variety of visual content including text and graphics, photographs and video, including high resolution and high dynamic range (HDR) content, and the dramatic and/or pastille graphics in games. The codecs are designed to perform well in HDR and Wide Color Gamut consumer and professional displays, in embedded displays for mobile computing, tablet, and high-resolution smart phones, in automotive applications, and in artificial and virtual reality headsets.

To assure visually lossless performance, VESA’s display interface compression standards are rigorously tested for subjective image quality using a diverse group of test subjects. Test images and a summary of test results are available from VESA.

Features DSC 1.1 DSC 1.2a VDC-M 1.1 VDC-M 1.2
Visually lossless compression performance verified by subjective testing        
30 bit color, compression ratio (bits/pixel) 3.75:1 (8 bpp) 3.75:1 (8 bpp) 5:1 (6 bpp) 5:1 (6 bpp)
24 bit color, compression ratio (bits/pixel) 3:1 (8 bpp) 3:1 (8 bpp) 4:1 (6 bpp) 4:1 (6 bpp)
IC complexity1 Low Low Medium Medium
Backwards compatibility DSC 1.x DSC 1.x VDC-M 1.x VDC-M 1.x
Both encoder and decoder are specified
Normative C language code
Frame-by-frame compression
8, 10, 12 bits per color support 8/10/12 8/10/12/14/16 8/10/12 8/10/12
High Dynamic Range-ready
RGB and YCbCr 4:4:4 native encoding
YCbCr 4:2:0 or 4:2:2 native encoding No
Image test data base available from VESA
Compliance test guideline and test scripts In Development
Publicly known adopting standards MIPI DSI 1.2
DSI-2 1.0
VESA eDP 1.4b
HDMI 2.1
VESA eDP 1.4b
MIPI DSI-2 1.1 MIPI (forthcoming)
✓ = Available now

1 These codecs are capable of operating in real-time within the throughput rate guidance, refer to the technical specification for details.