Newnham launches high-speed USB graphics technology for multi-monitor computing applicatio...


Fabless semiconductor company Newnham today announced USB NIVO, its high-performance graphics system that connects monitors to PCs over USB 2.0, and its first design win with Kensington Computer Products Group, who will use the USB NIVO in a universal laptop docking station.

USB NIVO enables simple and cost-effective multi-monitor computing and is targeted at manufacturers of digital displays, personal computers or PC accessories who are looking to take advantage of the simplicity and universal understanding of USB.

Newnham's NIVO technology is the first technology to enable high-quality display response over a USB 2.0 connection. This means that the user experience with mouse, monitor and keyboard is comparable to a conventionally connected monitor. Static images in 24-bit true color are displayed without quality loss or color reduction and distortion while full-motion video plays in real-time. Connection is simple and intuitive via USB.

'Knowledge workers and businesses are increasingly finding that productivity improvements come from larger display work space rather than increased processor power. The USB NIVO provides a breakthrough for fast and easy deployment of additional displays using USB,' said Michael Ledzion, Chief Executive Officer of Newnham Research.

'USB NIVO breaks the cable bonds with an alternative that is plug-and-play simple to use and high performance. It will bring multi-monitor applications into the mainstream.'

The first design win for USB NIVO is in partnership with Kensington Computer Products Group, who will use the USB NIVO in a universal laptop docking station available in June. The Kensington product allows a laptop user to attach a VGA monitor, an Ethernet network, microphone and speakers, and up to four USB peripherals, to their laptop via a single USB 2.0 connection.

'We believe that our docking station will be the first to deliver video output through USB with no compromise on video performance and a true plug-n-play experience,' said Boris Elisman, president of Kensington Computer Products Group.

'Partnering with Newnham gave us the opportunity to field a product that is easy to use, delivers high-fidelity image quality, and works with all OEM laptops.'

Other applications

In addition to docking station and multi-monitor computing USB NIVO opens up a range of new applications aimed at knowledge workers and road warriors who need to view multiple information sources at the same time, such as application-specific monitors that attach to the user's main display and support a single application such as instant messaging, or lower cost real-time multi-tasking solutions for data-intensive workers such as stock traders, IT managers and others that need real-time data access on four or more monitors.

The USB NIVO Solution - how it works

The NIVO solution is comprised of Virtual Graphics Card (VGC) software that runs on a Windows XP host PC and a silicon-based Hardware Rendering Engine (HRE) module that is connected to, or embedded into, a monitor. The VGC software processes a stream of display information using the company's patented lossless graphics transport format and transmits it over a USB 2.0 link to the HRE device. The HRE then transforms the data back into pixels to be displayed on the monitor.

The solution is compatible with all CRT and flat panel monitors with screen resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 at 75Hz. It offers VESA-compliant scan and refresh rates and 24-bit true color depth at all resolutions. The VGC software supports all Windows XP desktop extend display modes as well as a desktop clone mode. It is silently installed using Microsoft digitally signed drivers and allows display management using the standard Windows Display Properties control panel - without a proprietary GUI. The HRE module has a VGA port and an application specific interface with USB signals, and power system control.

About Newnham Research

Newnham Research is a fabless semiconductor company founded in 2003 to enable flexible connections to be made between computers and displays. Newnham's technology solutions allow any number of monitors to be connected to a single PC and, if required, function independently to display different content. Newnham's venture backers include Atlas Venture and Benchmark. The company has offices in Palo Alto, CA and Cambridge, UK, and representation in Japan.


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DisplayLink is a fabless network graphics semiconductor and software company, formed in 2003 to develop and exploit methods of delivering content to multiple flat panel displays from a single computer with the view that this technology could lower the costs of computing and thus make information technology much more widely available in developing countries.