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. A bibliography of technical papers is also available.

DSC

Since its introduction in 2014, VESA’s Display Stream Compression (DSC) standard has achieved widespread success in enabling video transport compression. Adopted across the major display interface standards—including DisplayPort, HDMI® and MIPI®—DSC enables visually lossless compression for ultra-high-definition (UHD) display applications, while also facilitating High Dynamic Range (HDR) and 8K video across DisplayPort and USB-C.

Learn more about DSC

VDC-M

The VESA VDC-M compression standard provides an increased compression level while maintaining visually lossless quality, targeting additional markets such as low-power mobile computing. Useful in applications where raw transport bandwidth is limited, VDC-M provides more image compression when compared to the DSC Standard, with a trade-off of higher complexity. VDC-M has been adopted by the MIPI Display Serial Interface (DSI-2) specification for use in embedded mobile display applications to save both power and compressed-frame memory size in high-resolution displays.

Technical Bibliography

For more information about the codecs and visually lossless compression, please refer to the publications referenced in our technical bibliography.

View References

Download the Specs

The Display Interface Compression Standards are available for free from VESA.

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Comparison of Features

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 DP 2.0
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.