VESA, the body that oversees the DisplayPort standard, has extended that standard to support active cables. Active cables can allow runs of up to 100 feet, five times greater than the maximum length of a passive cable. The cables can also be thinner than passive cables, providing even more flexibility for home theater installs or other complex setups.
An active DisplayPort cable sends signals in both directions. To help avoid confusion, VESA has specified a new logo to identify which end of the cable should be connected to the display or computer.
The DisplayPort initiative was first pushed by Dell back in 2003. The intent was to minimize the number of cables and diverse connectors associated with LCDs, then an emerging technology. Ultimately, DisplayPort will replace VGA, DVI and LVDS interfaces while providing single-cable support for peripherals attached to the same display, including speakers, cameras, and microphones. It offers twice the performance of DVI for higher resolution and color depth.
Apple gave the standard a boost when it threw its weight behind DisplayPort in October 2008, eventually making Mini DisplayPort an official component, and it has been gaining momentum ever since.